4.4.4. Book the third, 1589-1604  &  Appendices.




































"If Endor's widow had had power to raise

A perfect body of true temperature,

I would conjure you by your wonted praise,

Awhile my song to hear and truth endure:

Your passed noble proof doth well assure

Your blood's, your mind's, your body's excellence

If their due reverence may this pains procure,

Your patience- with my boldness -will dispense:

I only crave high wisdom's due defence:

Not at my suit, but for work's proper sake,

Which treats of true felicity's essence,

As wisest King most happiest proof did make:

Whereof your own experience much might say,

Would you vouchsafe your knowledge to bewray."

HENRY LOK, To the Earl of Oxford, 1597. 1


"But in these days (although some learned Princes may take delight in Poets) yet universally it is not so. For as well Poets as Poesie are despised, and the name become of honourable infamous, subject to scorn and derision, and rather a reproach than a praise to any that useth it."

[George Puttenham] The Art of English Poesie, 1589.


p. 298





1 Henry Lok published a book of verse called Ecclesiasticus, which was printed by Richard Field in 1597. The sonnet Lok addressed to Lord Oxford seems to have been originally written in manuscript in a gift copy of his book presented by him to the Earl.






"And in Her Majesty's time that now is are sprung up another crew of Courtly makers [i.e. poets], Noblemen and Gentlemen of Her Majesty's own servants, who have written excellently well as it would appear if their doings could be found out and made public with the rest, of which number is first that noble gentleman Edward Earl of Oxford."

The Arte of English Poesie, 1589.


"But that same gentle spirit from whose pen

Large streams of honey and sweet nectar flow,

Scorning the boldness of such base-born men,

Which dare their follies forth so rashly throw,

Doth rather choose to sit in idle cell,

Than so himself to mockery to sell."

Edmund Spenser, in The Tears of the Muses, 1591.





FROM 1589 onwards the life of Lord Oxford becomes one

of mystery. We have seen him up till now as a prominent

courtier, as a patron of the drama and men of letters, and

as the recipient from the Queen of an annuity of £1,000 a

year. Although this annuity continued to be paid regularly

a veil seems to descend over his life from the day he helped

to bear the canopy over Her Majesty on November 24th,

1588. Very little is definitely known as to his move-

ments and activities during the next fifteen years. Let

us therefore examine the two quotations at the head of

this chapter more closely, in order to see what light they can

throw on the Earl's closing years.

The first one, taken from the Arte of English Poesie

tells us quite emphatically that Lord Oxford stands first

among the aristocratic authors of the time. It also tells

p. 299





us that he was in the habit of concealing his work, which

may mean that it was either not published at all, or else

that it was brought out anonymously. Elsewhere in the

Arte we read that Oxford shares with Richard Edwards,

late Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal, the

distinction of being the best writer of Comedy and Enter-

lude, a statement which is further borne out, as we have

seen, by another contemporary, Francis Meres, who,

writing in 1598, places the Earl's name first in a list of

writers of comedies.

Let us compare this evidence with the second quotation

given above. Although Spenser does not specifically

say that he is referring to Lord Oxford, a moment's

examination will reveal that this is almost certainly the

case.1 He is speaking of some aristocratic author who,

unlike "base-born men," disdains to publish-"throw

forth"--his work. This work is described as "large

streams of honey and sweet nectar," implying not only

a considerable output but also a high standard, the

nature of which may be gathered when we realise that the

stanza comes in that section of the Tears of the Muses

which is devoted to Thalia, the Muse of Comedy. So

that in every respect Spenser's "gentle spirit" tallies

exactly with what the author of the Arte and Meres have

to tell us about Lord Oxford.

Moreover, in the preceding year (1590) when the Faery

Queen was published, Spenser prefaced his poem with

seventeen dedicatory sonnets to the principal members

of the aristocracy. In the sonnet addressed to "The

right honourable the Earl of Oxenforde, Lord High

Chamberlain of England," he again lays emphasis on the

mutual love existing between the Earl and the Muses:


Receive, most noble Lord, in gentle gree,

The unripe fruit of an unready wit;

Which by thy countenance doth crave to be

Defended from foul Envy's poisonous bit.

p. 300


1 The context of this stanza, together with a suggestion as to the identity of Spenser's enigmatic "Willy," will be found in Appendix D.

Which so to do may thee right well befit,

Sith th' antique glory of thine ancestry

Under a shady veil is therein writ,

And eke thine own long living memory,

Succeeding them in true nobility:

And also for the love which thou dost bear

To th' Heliconian imps and they to thee,

They unto thee, and thou to them most dear:

Dear as thou art unto thyself, so love

That loves and honours thee, as doth behove. 1


It is unquestionably in literature, poetry, and the

drama that we shall find the key to Lord Oxford's life of

retirement from 1589 to 1604. Nor will it surprise us to

find that during this period he published nothing under

his own name. This is exactly what we should expect;

for while the author of the Arte and Meres are emphatic

as to the high quality of his writings, the former expressly

adds that he deliberately prefers to conceal his work under

the cloak of anonymity.

In 1590 we find Thomas Churchyard, the poet, once more

in Lord Oxford's employ. We last met him, it will be

remembered, in the Earl's household over twenty years

before, when a breach seems to have occurred between

them. There is no record as to when Oxford took back his

old servant, but on December 24th Churchyard entered

into a bond for £25 with a certain Mistress Julia Penn.

She was the mother-in-law of Michael Hicks, Lord Burgh-

ley's private secretary, and seems to have been in the

habit of renting out rooms in her house on St. Peter's

Hill in London. The £25 represented the first quarter's

rent of some rooms Churchyard had taken at Lord Oxford's


A fortnight later Churchyard wrote as follows to Mistress



I have lovingly and truly dealt with you for the Earl of

p. 301


1 The "Heliconian imps" are of course the Muses. From the wording of the second quatrain there is no doubt whatever that Lord Oxford himself has been introduced into the allegory of the Faery Queen. I have not, so far, been able to trace which of the "knights" at "Gloriana's Court" is represented by him. It would be interesting to follow up this point.


Oxford, a nobleman of such worth as I will employ all I

have to honour his worthiness. So touching what bargain

I made, and order taken from his Lordship's own mouth

for taking some rooms in your house. . . . I stand to that

bargain, knowing my good Lord so noble-and of such

great consideration-that he will perform what I promised.

. . . I absolutely here, for the love and honour I owe to

my Lord, bind myself and all I have in the world unto

you, for the satisfying of you for the first quarter's rent of

the rooms my Lord did take. And further for the coals,

billets, faggots, beer, wine, and any other thing spent by

his honourable means, I bind myself to answer; yet

confessing that napery and linen was not in any bargain

I made with you for my Lord, which indeed I know my

Lord's nobleness will consider. . . .1


There was evidently some hitch about the payment,

the possibility of which is distinctly foreshadowed in

Churchyard's last sentence; for in an undated letter

Mistress Penn addressed the Earl as follows:


My Lord of Oxford, The grief and sorrow I have taken

for your unkind dealing with me . . . make me believe you

bereft all honour and virtue to be in your speech and

dealing. You know I never seized an assurance at your

Lordship's hands but Master Churchyard's bond, which

I would be loth to trouble him for your Lordship's sake.

You know, my Lord, you had anything in my house

whatsoever you or your men would demand, if it were in

my house. If it had been a thousand times more I would

' have been glad to pleasure your Lordship withal. There-

fore, good my Lord, deal with me in courtesy, for that

you and I shall come at that dreadful day and give account

for all our doings. . . . I would be 10th to offend your

honour in anything; I trust I have not been burdensome

to your honour, that I do not know, in anything penned.

But, my Lord, if it please your Lordship to show me your

favour in this I shall be much bound to your honour, and

you shall command me and my house, or anything that is

in it, whensoever it shall please you. By one that prays

for your Lordship's long life and in time to come,



p. 302


1 Lansdowne MSS., 68. 113.3 Ibid., 68. 114.


The indignant landlady also vented her wrath on

Churchyard, to which he replied:


I never deserved your displeasure, and have made Her

Majesty understand of my bond, touching the Earl; and

for fear of arresting I lie in the sanctuary. For albeit

you may favour me, yet I know I am in your danger, and

am honest and true in all mine actions. . . .1


This ends the correspondence. It may therefore be

presumed that Mistress Penn received her money.2

The few letters we possess that passed between the Earl

of Oxford and Lord Burghley after the death of the

Countess show both men to have been on quite friendly

terms. In June 1590 Lord Burghley wrote to Attorney-

General Popham asking his assistance in a legal matter

affecting the Earl. This letter, though it lacks its context,

shows us that the Queen was interesting herself in Oxford's



Sir, For that Her Majesty would be assured that the

points contained in the paper enclosed should be duly

performed by the patentees for my Lord of Oxford's lands,

then such purchasers as by due desire purchased any of

his Lordship's lands might not be troubled thereby.

Her Majesty, therefore, before the signing of the book,

would have you see to be provided, either by the ground

itself or by sufficient bond to that effect to be ordered by

the said patentees; wherefore I pray you to consider how

such assurance may be best had for Her Majesty's satis-

faction, to be inserted in the book, if the sum be not

already expressed therein; which if it be there would it

more amply be countered in the docket of the book or by

bond of the patentees, or by any [other ?] means you can

devise; until which assurance I find Her Majesty makes

p. 303


1 Lansdowne MSS., 68. 115.

2 Are we right in identifying the Thomas Churchyard who wrote the Welcome Home of the Earl of Essex in 1599 with the Thomas Churchyard who had been a page to the Earl of Surrey in the reign of King Henry VIII. ? If so, he would have been about eighty when he wrote Essex's Welcome, and about seventy when he was engaging rooms for Lord Oxford in Mistress Penn's house.


difficulties, and will not be induced to sign your bill.

And so I commend me heartily to you. From the Court

this 16th of June 1590.

Your very loving friend,



In August Lord Oxford appealed to his father-in-law

to help him in the matter of a lawsuit that was costing

him £100 a year:


My very good Lord, where I mortgaged my lease of

Aveley to Master Herdson, and not as yet redeemed, and

now as well for the supply of my present wants, as also

to have some £300 of ready money to redeem certain

leases at Hedingham, which were gotten from me very

unreasonably for divers years yet enduring, and are of as

good clear yearly value as my said lease of Aveley is: I

therefore most earnestly desire your Lordship to signify

your liking to me in writing, to dispose of the said lease

at my pleasure; otherwise there is not any will deal with

me for the same nor for any part thereof. Wherein I shall

be greatly beholden unto your Lordship, as I am in all

the rest of my whole estate. The 5th of August.

Your Lordship's to command,



In September he writes, again on legal matters, to his

father-in-law "whom in all my causes I find mine honour-

able good Lord, and to deal more fatherly than friendly

with me, for the which I do acknowledge-and ever will-

myself in most especial wise bound." 3


The next letter, which is dated May 18th, 1591, is most

interesting, because in it Lord Oxford asks Burghley to

obtain the Queen's sanction for him to commute his £1,000

a year for a lump sum of £5,000. Oxford first thanks

p. 304


1 Egerton MSS. (Brit. Mus.), 2618, fol. 11.

2 Lansdowne MSS., 63. 71. There is a postscript which deals entirely with technical legal matters.

3 Lansdowne MSS., 63. 77. Sir Sidney Lee's pontifical statement in the Dict. Nat. Biog. that "when the Countess [of Oxford] died on June 6th 1588, [Burghley] showed little inclination to relieve his son-in-law's necessities" is beneath comment.


Burghley for punishing two of his servants, Hampton and

Amis, who had dealt "unfaithfully" with him. He then

goes on to state his proposal:


Whereas I have heard Her Majesty meant to sell unto

one Midelsone, a merchant, and one Carmarder, the

domain of Denbighe, which (as I am informed) is £230

yearly rent now as it is; I would be an humble suitor

to Her Majesty that I might have this burgh, paying the

£8,000 as they should have done, [Her Majesty] accepting

for £5,000 thereof of the pension which she hath given me

in the Exchequer, and the other £3,000 the next term, or

upon such reasonable days as Her Majesty would grant me

by her favour. And further, if Her Majesty would not

accept the pension for £5,000, that then she would yet take

unto it to make it up [to] that value [of] the total of the

Forest,1 which by all counsel of laws and conscience is as

good right unto me as any other land in England. And I

think Her Majesty makes no evil bargain, and I would

be glad to be sure of something that were mine own and

that I might possess. . . .

The effect hereof is: I would be glad to have an equal

care with your Lordship over my children, and if I may

obtain this reasonable suit of Her Majesty, granting me

nothing but what she hath done to others and mean persons

and nothing but that I shall pay for it, then those lands

which are in Essex-as Hedingham, Brets, and the rest

whatsoever-which will come to some £500 or £600 by

year, upon your Lordship's friendly help towards my

purchases in Denbighe, shall be presently delivered in

possession to you for their use. And so much I am sure

to make of these domains for myself.

So shall my children be provided for, myself at length

settled in quiet, and I hope your Lordship contented,

remaining no cause for you to think me an evil father, nor

any doubt in me but that I may enjoy that friendship

from your Lordship that so near a match, and not fruitless,

may lawfully expect. Good my Lord, think of this, and

let me have both your furtherance, and counsel in this

cause. For to tell truth, I am weary of an unsettled life,

p. 305


1 The hereditary claim of Lord Oxford to the custody of the Forest of Essex was being discussed at this time before Lord Chancellor Hatton. King James granted it to Oxford in 1603.


which is the very pestilence that happens unto Courtiers,

that propound unto themselves no end of their time

therein bestowed. Thus committing your Lordship to

Almighty God, with my most hearty thanks and com-

mendation, I take my leave, this 18th day of May.

Your Lordship's to command,



We cannot say whether Lord Burghley laid this proposal

before the Queen. At any rate, nothing came of it, because

Lord Oxford continued to receive his £1,000 a year. It

provides, however, an illuminating side-light on his un-

businesslike methods. That he should attempt, at the

age of forty, to commute an annuity of £1,000 a year

for so small a sum as £5,000, seems most extraordinary.

Well might he say that the Queen would make "no evil

bargain"! It seems, on the whole, most probable that

Burghley, who knew by bitter experience his son-in-law's

complete ignorance of the value of money, quietly allowed

the matter to drop.

On December 2nd, 1591, the Earl of Oxford alienated the

ancestral home of the de Veres, Castle Hedingham, to his

three daughters and Lord Burghley. The Castle had

probably remained uninhabited since the day the Earl

and his Countess had buried their four-day-old son in

the parish churchyard in 1583. By 1591 it had fallen

into sad disrepair, and just before Lord Burghley took it

over Oxford issued a warrant authorising the dismantling

of part of the building and many of the out-houses. This

perfectly natural precaution has been stigmatised by

historians as a savage act of vandalism! Their vivid

imaginations have pictured the Earl first selling the Castle

to his father-in-law, and then secretly demolishing the

walls and tearing down the park fences ! Had they taken

the trouble to ascertain the true relations between Oxford

and Burghley- "whom in all my causes I find mine

honourable good Lord, and to deal more fatherly than

friendly with me" -they would have avoided making

p. 306


1 Lansdowne MSS., 68. 6.


themselves ridiculous by propounding such an absurd





The quite unusual interest Lord Oxford was displaying

in money matters is accounted for by the fact that toward

the end of 1591 he married again. His new bride was

Elizabeth Trentham, the daughter of Sir Thomas Trentham

a Staffordshire landowner. She was one of the Maids of

Honour, and evidently a court beauty as the following

extract from a gossipy letter tells us:


. . . Mistress Trentham is as fair, Mistress Edgcumbe as

modest, Mistress Radcliff as comely and Mistress Garrat as

jolly as ever. . . .2


The marriage took place between July 4th, 1591, and

March 12th, 1592, but I have not succeeded up to date in

tracing the entry in any Parish Register. 3

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this marriage

is that it was evidently sanctioned, and probably even

encouraged, by the Queen. It had always been a risky

proceeding for a courtier to carry off one of the Maids of

Honour, as Leicester and Lettice Knollys had found to

their cost in 1578; but by the nineties it had become an

almost certain step to disgrace and even imprisonment.

Everyone knows how the Earl of Southampton fell into

dire disgrace and was obliged to withdraw from the Court

because of his intrigue and subsequent marriage with

Elizabeth Vernon; and Sir Walter Ralegh was sent to the

Tower for committing a similar indiscretion with Elizabeth

p. 307


1 This theory, unsupported by any evidence, was first started by L. Majendie, An account of Castle Hedingham (1796). He has been echoed by Thomas Wright in his History of Essex (1836) and others. (See Appendix H.)

2 J. Farnham to Roger Manners, written from the Court on April 5th, 1582. (Cal. Rutland MSS., I. 134.) Roger Manners was an old courtier who had for many years been an Esquire of the Body to Mary and Elizabeth. He was an uncle of Edward, 3rd Earl of Rutland (1549-87), who had been a Royal Ward in London at the same time as Lord Oxford.

3 Inquisitions Post Mortem. Chancery Series II. 286. 165.


Throckmorton. With Lord Oxford, however, it was quite

different. He suffered no disgrace, and the payment of

his £1,000 was continued punctually and regularly. This

is only another example of the great favour the Queen

showed him, and how much she sought his welfare and

happiness. This fondness of the Queen for Lord Oxford

was reciprocated no less by him, as will be seen by his

heart-broken letter to Sir Robert Cecil when she died.


In 1592 Oxford started a new suit to the Queen in which

he asks for the import monopoly on oils, wools, and

fruits.1 The Queen's practice of granting monopolies to

her courtiers has been almost universally condemned by

modern historians. They were naturally resented by the

people, because once a monopoly was established the

consumer inevitably had to pay more for the article. In

justice to the Queen, however, it should be pointed out

that necessity drove her to adopt this expedient. The

difficulty with which she obtained any money at all from

Parliament, especially in the latter half of her reign when

she had the war with Spain and the Irish Rebellion on

her hands, is seldom properly appreciated. The national

accounts are a sufficient testimony to this fact. The total

of money voted by Parliament throughout her reign to

meet "extraordinary" war expenses was about 3% million

pounds. The expenditure on wars alone during the same

period was estimated in 1603 to have amounted to nearly

5 millions. I These figures put quite a different complexion

on Elizabeth's traditional parsimony. The deficit obvi-

ously had to be met somehow, and it was met with charac-

teristic ingenuity by Her Majesty and her Lord Treasurer.

Generally speaking, they adopted two methods:

1. The first method simply involved the selling of

Crown lands, and the auctioning of monopolies to the

highest bidder. The former needs little or no explanation,

and one example will suffice. In 1590 the Queen sold land

to the value of over £126,000. It is impossible to say how

p. 308


1 Lansdowne MSS., 71. 10.


much of this money went to the Privy Purse, and how

much was transferred to the Exchequer, because there was

practically no distinction between the two. But it is

safe to say that a considerable portion was used in one way

or another towards the cost of the Spanish War.

The sale of monopolies was rather more complicated.

The bidder for a monopoly might, for example, offer a

lump sum of money; or he might propose a percentage

to be taken by the Treasury on his profits; or, again, he

might suggest making a fixed annual payment into the

Exchequer. To what extent the national revenue profited

by these means we cannot now say for certain. It is

probable that no two transactions were exactly the same,

and the records that have come down to us are very

incomplete. Two examples, however, may be given:

(a) In 1592 Sir Henry Neville was given the export

monopoly of iron cannon for twenty years. In the

famous debate on monopolies held in the House of

Commons in 1601 it was asserted that the Queen,

which is synonymous for the Treasury, received £3,000

a year from the customs duty on this trade.

(b) In consequence of three Italian merchants

having been given the calf-skin monopoly, the price

of a pair of shoes had been increased by fourpence.

We shall probably never know what proportion of this

increase found its way into the Exchequer. But we

can at least say for certain that Queen Elizabeth was

not fleecing her subjects merely for the personal

enrichment of three Italians.

2. The second, or indirect, method is still more obscure

from the point of view of actual figures. In practice it

simply involved the employment of private wealth in the

public service. It is safe to make the general statement

that none of Elizabeth's officials- Ministers, Ambassadors,

Naval and Military Commanders, etc. -ever received an

adequate salary from the Treasury. In some cases the

Queen tacitly demanded that their private incomes              

should defray the difference. For example, the Earl

p. 309

of Shrewsbury, when appointed custodian of the Queen

of Scots, was given a quite inadequate allowance. The

indirect contribution he was called upon to make on behalf

of the national expenditure was, in effect, precisely the

same as if he had been subjected to a regular income-tax.

All Her Majesty's officials, however, were not wealthy

men like Lord Shrewsbury. It was a matter of grave

concern to a poor man like Francis Walsingham when he

was given an appointment such as Ambassador in Paris.

Gifts of land did, no doubt, provide partial compensation;

but it is on the whole true to say that no Elizabethan

Crown servant was as rich when he relinquished his

appointment as when he took it up.

One final example may be quoted to show another aspect

of the indirect method of supplementing the national

revenue. In 1584 Sir Walter Ralegh was given a com-

mission to discover "remote heathen barbarous lands."

At the same time he was given the lucrative monopoly

on wine imports and the licensing of taverns. From first

to last it is estimated that Sir Walter spent £40,000

in building ships, planting colonies, and fighting the

Spaniards; the money, of course, coming ultimately from

the pockets of the wine drinkers in the country.

It was by means of these and similar subterfuges that

Elizabeth contrived not only to pay for the war against

Spain, but succeeded in staving off the conflict between

Crown and Parliament that overwhelmed England a

generation .after her death. And yet historians per-

sistently denounce her for having given her "favourites"

lavish "presents" at the expense of her downtrodden

people !

Lord Oxford's suit for the oils, wools, and fruits mono-

poly failed, no doubt because the Queen was waiting for

a higher bid; but he was still pursuing it next year. We

learn this from another interesting letter, which also

reveals the fact that for some years past he had been

seeking yet another favour from the Queen -the Steward-

ship, or Custody, of the Forest of Essex. As he was

p. 310

already the recipient of so munificent an annuity as £1,000

a year from the Exchequer, it is hardly surprising that

Her Majesty was beginning to be exasperated by his

continuous demands for more ! The letter is addressed to

Lord Burghley:


My very good Lord, I hope it is not out of your remem-

brance how long sithence I have been a suitor to Her

Majesty if she would give me leave to try my title to the

Forest at the law. But I found that so displeasing unto

her, that in place of receiving that ordinary favour which

is of course granted to the meanest subject, I was brow-

beaten and had many bitter speeches given me. Never-

theless at length, by means of some of the Lords of the

Council, among which your Lordship especially, Her

Majesty was persuaded to give me ear.


He goes on to give the history of the case, and then



But now the ground whereon I lay my suit being so

just and reasonable that either I should expect some

satisfaction either by way of recompense or restoration of

mine own, as I am yet persuaded till law hath convinced

me; these are most earnestly to desire a continuance of

your Lordship's favour and furtherance in my suit which

I made at Greenwich to Her Majesty at her last being

there, about three commodities, to wit, the oils wools,

and fruits, in giving therefore, as then my proffer was.

. . . And thus desiring your Lordship to hold me excused

for that I am so long in a matter that concerneth me so

much, I will make an end. This 25th October 1593, and

always rest your Lordship's to command,



It may be remarked, in parenthesis, that Lord Oxford's

request for this monopoly was not quite on all fours with

p. 311


1 Harleian MSS., 6996. 22.

Ralegh's wine monopoly mentioned above. Ralegh's

was a gift from the Queen, in return for which he built

ships and fought for her at sea. Oxford was not asking

for the oil monopoly as a gift, but was offering to buy it.

It is obvious how both parties might hope to gain by the

transaction: Oxford, by making more out of it than he

gave; the Queen, by parting with something which cost

her no more than her signature, and getting a substantial

cash payment in return. This "sale of monopolies"

was simply a development of the "gift monopolies" of

former years.

On July 7th, 1594, the Earl wrote to his father-in-law and

made an obscure reference to his "office." It appears,

though the details are not specified, that both he and the

Queen were suffering from "sundry abuses" which were

hindering him in the execution of this "office." He is

evidently referring to some work he is doing for Her

Majesty, no doubt in return for his £1,000 a year. It is

most tantalising that he tells us so much and yet so little;

for he gives no hint-any more than the Queen did in

her original warrant-what this work is:


My very good Lord, If it please you to remember that

about half a year or thereabout past I was a suitor to your

Lordship for your favour: that whereas I found sundry

abuses, whereby both Her Majesty and myself were, in

my office greatly hindered, that it might please your

Lordship that I might find such favour from you that I

might have the same redressed. At which time I found

so good forwardness in your Lordship that I found myself

greatly beholden for the same; yet by reason that at that

time mine attorney was departed the town, I could not

then send him to your appointment. But hoping that the

same disposition still remaineth towards the justness of

my cause, and that your Lordship, to whom my estate is

so well known, and how much it standeth me on not to

neglect, as heretofore, such occasions as to amend the

same as may arise from mine office; I most heartily desire

your Lordship that it will please you to give care to the

state of my cause, and at your best leisure admit either

my attorney or other of my counsel at law to inform your

p. 312

Lordship, that the same being perfectly laid open to your

Lordship, I may enjoy the favour from you which I most

earnestly desire. In which doing I shall think myself

singularly beholden in this, as I have been in other respects.

This 7th July 1594.

Your Lordship's ever to command,



The Earl of Oxford and his new Countess settled in the

village of Stoke Newington, just north of Shoreditch. It

was here, on February 24th, 1593, that a son, Henry,

was born. He was christened in the Parish Church on

March 31st, and in due course succeeded his father as

eighteenth Earl of Oxford. It is curious that the name

Henry is unique in the de Vere, Cecil, and Trentham

families. There must have been some reason for his being

given this name, but if so I have been unable to discover it.

It is hardly likely that he would have been named after

Lord Henry Howard ! A possible clue is that at this time

two Henry's were being sought by Lord Burghley for the

hand of Oxford's eldest daughter, Lady Elizabeth Vere.

They were Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, and

Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. It seems likely

that the name Henry may have been derived from one

of these. The Earl of Southampton followed Oxford

as a Royal Ward in Burghley's household. In later life

Henry de Vere and Henry Wriothesley were closely

connected as Colonels of two of the regiments raised for

special service in the Low Countries in 1624. Perhaps,

therefore, Henry Wriothesley was the cause of the name

being introduced into the de Vere family.

It was in the winter of 1589-90 that Lord Burghley

began to busy himself about the question of a husband for

his eldest granddaughter. His choice fell on the Earl of

Southampton, then aged seventeen, who had been a Royal

Ward since his father's death. The Dowager Countess

of Southampton approved the match; but her son, plead-

p. 313


1 Lansdowne MSS., 76. 74. This letter has been published in facsimile by W. W. Greg, English Literary Autographs. (Cf. Appendix H.)


ing his youth, asked to be given a year to make up his

mind. It is not clear how the matter stood at the end of

the year, but nothing ever came of the proposed marriage.

There is, however, a curious story related in a letter

written by Henry Garnet, a Jesuit, in 1594. He states

that "the young Earl of Southampton refusing the Lady

Vere payeth £5,000 of present money." 1 I hardly think

this story can be literally true; but it shows, at all events,

that gossip was linking their names together at as late a

date as 1594.

However this may be, by 1592 Lord Burghley had

turned his attention elsewhere. In a letter from Mary

Harding to the Countess of Rutland, written in June, we

read that -


Lord Burghley has tried to marry Elizabeth Vere to

Lord Northumberland ,. . . she cannot fancy him. 2


This proposal also fell through, the reason probably

being that Lady Elizabeth had already lost her" heart to

the man she married three years later. This was Master

William Stanley, the second son of the Earl of Derby.

So long as his father and elder brother were alive, however,

he would have been quite out of the question as a suitor

for the hand of the Lord Treasurer's granddaughter.

But it so happened that in 1594 he succeeded quite un-

expectedly to the title, and three weeks later their engage-

ment was announced openly. This certainly lends colour

to the theory that some time previously they had secretly

plighted their troth.

We must now digress for a moment and see what manner

of man it was who had won the affections of Lord Oxford's



p. 314


1 C.C. Stopes, The Third Earl of Southampton, p. 86.

2 Cal. Ancaster MSS. Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland (1564-1632) was a most interesting character. He was known as the "Wizard Earl" because of his passion for making scientific experiments. He was accused, probably unjustly, of complicity in the Gunpowder Plot, and was imprisoned in the Tower until 1621, where he became intimate with Sir Walter Ralegh.






"I dedicate these poems to your favour and protection, as the true Maecenas of the Muses and judicial in their exercises."

THOMAS LODGE, in dedicating A fig for Momus to the Earl of Derby, 1595.


"There also is (ah no, he is not now)

But since I said he is, he quite is gone,

AMYNTAS quite is gone and lies full lowe,

Having his AMARYLLIS left to mone.

Helpe, o ye shepheards, helpe ye all in this,

Helpe AMARYLLIS this her loss to mourne:

Her losse is yours, your losse AMYNTAS is,

AMYNTAS flowre of shepheards pride forlorne:

He, whilst he lived, was the noblest swaine,

That ever piped on an oaten quill:

Both did he other, which could pipe, maintaine,

And eke could pipe himself with passing skill.

And there, though last not least is AETION,

A gentler shepheard may no where be found:

Whose Muse, full of high thoughts invention,

Doth like himself heroically sound."

EDMUND SPENSER, in Colin Clouts come home again, 1595. 1


IT is a curious coincidence that the same battle that

restored the thirteenth Earl of Oxford after his long exile

also placed the name of Stanley among the Earldoms of

England. When Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, with

the attainted Earl of Oxford as his first lieutenant, landed

in England in 1485 and met the last of the Plantagenets

at Bosworth, Thomas Lord Stanley and his followers were

ranged on the side of King Richard III. But before

p. 315


1 "Amyntas" and "Amaryllis" are Ferdinando, Earl of Derby, who died in 1594, and his widow Alice, née Spencer, with whom the poet claimed kinship. "Aetion"- from the Greek αετός, an eagle -is almost certainly his younger brother William, who succeeded him in the Earldom. The Derby crest was an eagle. (Cf. Professor Abel Lefranc, Sous le Masque de William Shakespeare, vol. i, p. 199.)

[Ἀετίων — Ἀέτιος (eagle) masc. gen. pl. = eagle-like. See 3.4.5 Colin Clouts, note 6. - Error: One person could have only one shepherd-name. Derby could not be „Amyntas“ and „Aetion“ together. - See 3.4.5 Spenser, Colin Clout Comes Home Againe ]


the battle was over Stanley, who had married Richmond's

mother, deserted the King and went over to his son-in-law.

After the decisive victory his brother, Sir William Stanley,

having recovered the Plantagenet crown from the dead

body of King Richard, placed it on the Earl of Richmond's

head. And when the latter ascended the throne as

King Henry VII. he rewarded Lord Stanley by creating

him Earl of Derby.

He was succeeded by his grandson, Thomas, in 1504,

who in turn was succeeded by his son, Edward, in 1521.

His son, Henry, was born in 1531, and became the fourth

Earl of Derby in 1572. Unlike his father, Henry Earl

of Derby was a strong Protestant and a vigorous enemy

of the recusants. He was made a Knight of the Garter,

and was frequently employed by Queen Elizabeth on

diplomatic missions to the Continent. In 1555 he married

Margaret Clifford, and through her he became a cousin of

Queen Elizabeth. He died in September 1593, leaving

two sons, Ferdinando and William.

Ferdinando, the elder, was born in 1559. He was

styled Lord Strange until his father's death, when he

succeeded him as fifth Earl of Derby. Less than seven

months later, at the early age of thirty-four, he died in

mysterious circumstances, probably of poison.

He was a scholar, a poet, and a patron of the drama.

Spenser praised his poetical skill in 1595 under the name of

"Amyntas." In the same year the anonymous author

of Polimanteia eulogised him as a poet and a patron of

letters. Nashe in Pierce Penilesse, Greene in Ciceronis

Amor, and Chapman in The Shadow of the Night, all ack-

nowledged his literary eminence; so that although none

of his poems or writings survive we have sufficient evidence

to realise what a tragedy his early death was to English


He died on April 16th, 1594, and was succeeded by his

younger brother. In 1582 William Stanley had under-

taken a foreign tour to France, where he visited Paris

(in July), Orleans, Blois, Tours, Saumur, and Angers (in

p. 316

October). 1 One authority asserts that his travels extended

as far afield as Spain, Constantinople, and Russia; 2

but it is probable that he has been confused with a renegade

adventurer, Sir William Stanley, who, when Governor of

Deventer in 1587, betrayed it to the Spaniards. At all

events our William Stanley, who does not appear to have

been knighted, was back in England by 1587, if not earlier.

On May 9th, 1594, just three weeks after Ferdinando's

death, his widow in a letter to Sir Robert Cecil says that

she "hears of a motion of marriage between the Earl my

brother and my Lady Vere your niece." The Dowager

Countess was no friend of the new Earl, as their subsequent

quarrels over the Derby estates showed; and in the letter

quoted she adds spitefully, "I wish her a better husband." 3

In view of Elizabeth Vere's refusal to marry either

Southampton or Northumberland it seems not unlikely

that she had fallen in love with William Stanley while

she was a Maid of Honour at Court as early as 1590 or

1591. If so their patience was rewarded, for we find

Lord Burghley giving his consent. And on September 13th,

1594, Lord Derby wrote thus to the Lord Treasurer:


My very honourable good Lord, I understand by my

servants Ireland and Doughtye, that according to your

Lordship's last speech, they have thoroughly acquainted

your Lordship with my estate, and that now it pleaseth

your Lordship to partly refer the further speeding to my

liking, either now or the next term to be consummated.

How grateful the message was unto me I leave your Lord-

ship to conjure. In which case I pray your Lordship to

consider my affection to that honourable Lady, the

taunting of my unfriends, the gladding of my well wishers,

and the investing of me in this estate whereunto Almighty

God hath called me. In which, by so honourable a patron,

p. 317


1 Cal. S.P. Dom., Add. 27, 104, 118. The Court of Navarre was at Blois this year, which may have attracted William Stanley to this place. His Protestant upbringing would naturally have made him sympathetic with Henry of Navarre's heroic struggle against the Catholics.

2 A brief account of the travels of the celebrated Sir William Stanley, son of the fourth Earl of Derby. (Cf. Lefranc, vol. i, p. 104.)

3 Cal. Hatfield MSS., IV. 527.


with my Lady and mistress to both our contentments,

and your Lordship's comfort, God the worker of all

goodness may send me a son. Wherefore I wish your

Lordship allowance of a present dispatch. Nevertheless,

I must and will be wholly directed by your Lordship in this

and all other respects, and so humbly take my leave.

From my house at Cannon Row this 13th of September

1594. Your Lordship's assured friend to command,



It is evident from this letter that the two lovers were

becoming impatient over their deferred marriage. Nor

can the delay be entirely attributed to negotiations in

connexion with the marriage settlement. It appears

that when Ferdinando died Alice, Countess of Derby, was

expecting a baby:


The marriage of the Lady Vere to the new Earl of Derby

is deferred, by reason that he standeth in hazard to be

unearled again, his brother's wife being with child, until

it is seen whether it be a boy or no. 2


Lord Burghley had not unnaturally withheld for the

time being his full consent; but later in the year the

Dowager Countess gave birth to a girl. William Stanley's

title to the Earldom having been thus secured, the last

obstacle to their union was removed.

The marriage took place at Greenwich on January 26th,

1595, in the presence of the Queen and the Court "with

great solemnity and triumph." 3 As was customary at all

important weddings, the occasion was marked by feasting

and revelry. It is of particular interest that A Midsummer

Night's Dream was probably performed during these celebra-

tions. It is known that this play was written for a wedding

about this time; and the Lord Chamberlain's company

gave. a performance that evening. 4 Shakespeare was then

writing for this company, which had been taken under

p. 318


1 Lansdowne MSS., 76. 76.

2 Stopes, p. 86. From a letter written by Father Garnet in 1594.

3 Stowe MSS., 1047, fol. 264; cf. Stow, Annals (ed. 1631), p. 769.

4 Cf. Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, vol. iv, p. 109.


Lord Hunsdon's patronage on the death of its previous

patron Ferdinando. It is therefore perhaps not unreason-

able to suppose that he may either have written or colla-

borated in the writing of this comedy for the marriage

celebrations of his late employer's brother.

Shortly after the wedding the Earl of Oxford was staying

with the newly married couple at their house in Cannon

Row, for on August 7th he writes to Lord Burghley that -


On my coming to Byfleet from Cannon Row the Earl

of Derby was very earnest that he might assure £1,000 a

year for my daughter, and marvelled that Sir Robert

Cecil her uncle, and I her father were so slack to call

upon it; so I desire something may be done therein. 1


In September 1596 we find Lord Oxford once more

staying with his son-in-law at Cannon Row.2 Some time

in this year Lady Oxford bought a house known as

"King's Place" in Hackney, the parish adjoining Stoke

Newington. 3 Here she lived with her husband until his

death in 1604.

In January 1599 Lady Oxford was being entertained

by the Derbys at Thistleworth. This transpires in a

letter from Lord Derby in which he adds that he intends

to accompany the Countess of Oxford back to her home

when she returns.4 He wrote to Sir Robert Cecil "from

Hackney" on the 28th, when he was no doubt staying

with his father-in~law. He was back at his house in

Cannon Row by July; and in November of the same year

(1599) he and his wife were once more staying at King's

Place with the Oxfords.5

So little is known of the movements of the Oxfords and

Derbys at this time that these chance statements that they

p. 319


1 Cal. S.P. Dom. (1595-7), p. 88. I have remarked elsewhere that the Stanleys were reputed to be the richest family in England, which accounts for the size of this very generous allowance.

2 Cal. Hatfield MSS., VI. 369.

3 An interesting account of "King's Place" is to be found in Dr. W. Robinson's History and Antiquities of Hackney (1842), p. 100.

4 Cal. Hatfield MSS., IX. 51.

5 Hatfield MSS., 74. 107.


were visiting each other in 1595, 1596, and twice in 1599,

argue a close intimacy. It will be worth inquiring into the

nature of this friendship to see if we can discover the bond

that drew the two Earls together.

We know that both of them at this time were living

secluded lives, in spite of the fact that they were still

young men- Oxford being in his forties and Derby in his

thirties. The reason for Derby's seclusion is partly self-

evident. In 1593 a Jesuit plot had been disclosed which

had as its object the dethroning of Elizabeth and the

placing of Ferdinando, who had just succeeded to the

Earldom, on the throne.1 Ferdinando and William were

descended through their mother, Margaret Clifford, from

Lady Mary Tudor, the younger sister of King Henry VIII.

And although both brothers, by their words and actions,

showed themselves absolutely innocent of any complicity

in this mad project, their very proximity to the throne

rendered them perpetually open to suspicion. Ferdinando's

death has been traced to these Jesuit conspirators, who,

when they discovered his uncompromisingly hostile atti-

tude towards their machinations, hoped perhaps to find

a readier instrument in his brother. In this they were

disappointed, for William proved as loyal to the Queen as

his brother had been. But his position for some years

remained precarious; and had he dabbled at all in politics

his downfall would almost certainly have been brought

about by his enemies.

With Lord Oxford it was different. His exile from the

Court was from choice, and not from necessity. He had

always despised the Court and its "reptilia," preferring

the seclusion of his "Country Muses." Poetry, the

drama, and music had ever been his chief interests, and we

may be sure that in them we shall find the key to his life

of retirement from 1589 to 1604. And it is natural to

suppose that here too we shall find the key to his friendship

with Lord Derby.

Unsupported supposition, however, should have no

p. 320


1 Cal. Hatfield MSS., V. 58.


place in a biography; but in this particular instance

confirmatory evidence is forthcoming.' I would ask the

reader to consider the following statements:

1. In 1598 Francis Meres wrote:


"The best for comedy among us be Edward Earl of



2. In 1599, a year in which the Derbys paid at least

two visits to the Oxfords at Hackney, George Fanner



"The Earl of Derby is busied only in penning comedies

for the common players." 1


3. In 1599 John Farmer, in dedicating his first Set of

English Madrigals to Lord Oxford, said:


". . . without flattery be it spoke, those that know

your Lordship know this, that using this science [i.e.

music] as a recreation, your Lordship have overgone

most of them that make it a profession."


4. In 1624 Francis Pilkington, in his Second Set of

Madrigals and Pastorals, printed -


"A Pavin, made for the Orpharion, by the right honour-

able William Earle of Darbie, and by him consented to

be in my Bookes placed." 2


There need be little doubt that the writing of plays and

musical composition led the two Earls to spend their

leisure hours together. Such pronounced tastes as these

were sufficiently rare among Elizabethan courtiers to bring

them together automatically, quite apart from their close

alliance by marriage and the fact that they frequently

stayed in each other's houses. The "comedies" that the

two Earls were writing, probably in collaboration, were

presumably acted; and this brings us to the subject of

actors. We have already considered in some detail Lord

p. 321


1 Cal. S.P. Dom., 271. 34, 35.

2 In the British Museum. The Pavane is No. XXVII. in the collection.


Oxford's close connexion with the stage since 1580. It

is outside the scope of this work to give a full account of

the various companies of actors that were patronised at

different times by the fourth, fifth, and sixth Earls of

Derby, but a brief outline of the dramatic activities of

Earls Ferdinando and William is perhaps desirable.1

Ferdinando Stanley, who was known as Lord Strange

from 1572 to 1593, first took a company of actors under

his patronage in 1576, when he was aged seventeen. No-

thing is known of the personnel of this company until 1588

when the Earl of Leicester died and several of his players,

including Will Kempe, George Bryan, and Thomas Pope,

seem to have joined Strange's men. 2 Shortly afterwards

the company amalgamated temporarily with the Lord

Admiral's players, the chief of whom was the great

tragedian, Edward Alleyn. 3 The united company, under

the name of Lord Strange's men, gave six performances

at Court in the winter of 1591-2, followed by a six weeks'

season at the Rose Theatre under Philip Henslowe. In

September 1593, when Ferdinando succeeded to the

Earldom, they assumed the title of the "Earl of Derby's

players." Ferdinando died in April 1594, and in May we

find his company, now called the "Countess of Derby's

players," acting at Winchester.‘ This was Ferdinando's

widow Alice (née Spencer), the "Amaryllis" of Spenser's

Tears of the Muses. But she was evidently either un-

willing or unable to continue her patronage, for in the

following month the company passed into the service of

Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon, who was then Lord Chamber-

lain. The amalgamation with the Lord Admiral's players

was evidently still in force, for 'we read in Henslowe's

Diary that "the Lord Admiral's men and the Lord

p. 322


1 Detailed analysis of these companies will be found in J. T. Murray, English Dramatic Companies, vol. i; Professor Abel Lefranc, Sous le Masque de William Shakespeare, vol. i; and E. K. Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, vol. ii.

2 Murray, vol. i, p. 73.

3 Chambers, vol. ii, p. 120.

4 Murray, vol. i, p. 108.


Chamberlain's men" acted under his direction at Newing-

ton Butts from June 3rd to 13th. 1

This transfer of patronage from the Dowager Countess

of Derby to Lord Hunsdon can, I suggest, be accounted

for quite simply. Lord Hunsdon's eldest son, Sir George

Carey, had married Elizabeth Spencer, the Countess of

Derby's sister. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose

that Lady Elizabeth Hunsdon persuaded her father-in-

law, who had no players at the time, to take over the

patronage of her widowed sister's company. At all events

they remained in the service of the Hunsdon family 2

until 1603, when they were taken over by King James

and known thenceforward as the "King's players."

It was while they were still in Ferdinando's service

that they first gave indications of their future fame. It

must have been due largely to Alleyn's talent, as Sir

Edmund Chambers says, that they were called upon to

give six performances at Court in the winter of 1591-2.

But more important still is the fact that early in 1592

they began to act Shakespeare's plays at the Rose.

The début of William Shakespeare as an actor and

playwright is closely connected with the fifth Earl of

Derby. It has been conjectured that Shakespeare joined

the Earl of Leicester's players when they visited Stratford-

on-Avon in 1586 or 1587. In July of the latter year the

company spent three days at Lathom House, one of the

Earl of Derby's seats; and the following year Ferdinando,

then Lord Strange, seems to have taken several of them

into his own company. We cannot say for certain whether

Shakespeare was one of these; but we do know that by

1592 he was one of Lord Strange's playwrights. His

activities, however, were not confined to his patron's

company alone. In 1593 he wrote, or at least worked

upon, three plays for Lord Pembroke's men, namely,

p. 323


1 Chambers, Vol. ii, p. 193. There is a reason to suppose that they separated once more after this.

2 Sir George Carey succeeded to the title and the patronage of the company on his father's death in 1596.


The Contention of York and Lancaster, The Taming of a

Shrew, and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York. 1

Early in 1594 another company -the Earl of Sussex's-

acted his Titus Andronicus at the Rose.2 This play

has long been a puzzle to critics. Although it was un-

doubtedly first produced by Sussex's men, its title-page

informs us that it was played by "the Earle of Darbie,

Earle of Pembroke, and Earle of Sussex their servants." 3

Finally, as we have seen, Shakespeare passed, on Fer-

dinando's death, via his widow, to the patronage of her

sister's father-in-law, Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon.

Meanwhile William Stanley, on his accession to the

Earldom, had provided himself with a company of his

own. Their first recorded appearance was at Norwich in

September 1594. None of the personnel of this company

are now known to us; but the fact that they first appear

five months after Ferdinando's death lends colour to Sir

Edmund Chambers's surmise that some of the latter's

men transferred into the service of his brother.4 If so

they must have been the lesser lights, because the prin-

cipals- Burbage, Phillips, Pope, Kempe, Heminges, and

Shakespeare -were all taken on by Lord Hunsdon. This

new company of William Earl of Derby can be traced pro-

vincially until 1599. In 1600-1 they gave four perform-

ances at Court. Thenceforward they are only recorded

on tour at intervals until 1618.

There is no doubt that Lord Derby took a keen personal

interest in his actors. In an undated letter to Sir Robert

Cecil Lady Derby writes:


Being importuned by my Lord to intreat your favour

that his man Browne, with his company, may not be

barred from their accustomed playing, in maintenance

whereof they have consumed the better part of their

substance. If so vain a matter shall not seem trouble-

p. 324


1 Chambers, vol. ii, p. 129.

2 Chambers, vol. ii, p. 95.

3 Stationers' Register, Feb. 6th, 1593-4. This clearly shows how interrelated the companies were at the time.

4 Chambers, vol. ii, p. 126.


some to you, I could desire that your furtherance might be

a mean to uphold them; for that my Lord taking delight

in them, it will keep him from more prodigal courses.1


Sir Edmund Chambers hazards the guess that the

"comedies" Lord Derby was "penning" in 1599 were

performed by his own men. If so they cannot now be

traced; but no doubt Lord Derby, like his father-in-law

Lord Oxford, preferred to conceal his authorship behind

the veil of anonymity.

We must now return to Lord Oxford and see what his

actors were doing at this time. It will be remembered

that he had an adult company which toured the provinces

from 1580 to 1590. The records, however, have so far

failed to reveal their whereabouts after this date. But in

1600 an anonymous play called The Weakest goeth to the

Wall was published, containing the information on its

title-page that it was acted by the "Earl of Oxford's

servants." Next year another anonymous play was

published- The History of George Scanderbeg -which

had also been acted by the Earl's men. 2 No copies of

this quarto survive, but the fact that it was played by

Lord Oxford's actors has been preserved in an entry in

the Stationers' Register.

In 1602 the Earls of Oxford and Worcester 3 amalgamated

their companies. This transpires in a letter from the Privy

Council to the Lord Mayor of London, which may be

quoted in full. The personal interest that Lord Oxford

took in his company is brought out in this letter; for in

it we see that it is at his express request that the Queen

is now "requiring" the Lord Mayor to allot them officially

their favourite playing place, the "Boar's Head":


After our very hearty commendations to your Lordship.

p. 325


1 Chambers, V01. ii, p. 127. (From Hatfield MSS.)

2 Chambers, vol. ii, p. 102.

3 Edward Somerset (1550-1628) succeeded his father as Earl of Worcester in 1589, when he took over his father's company. His leading actor at this time was Robert Browne, who is mentioned in Lady Derby's letter quoted above. Worcester succeeded the Earl of Essex as Earl Marshal and Master of the Horse after the latter's execution in 1601.


We received your letter signifying some amendment of

the abuses or disorders by the immoderate exercise of

stage plays in and about the City, by means of our late

order renewed for the restraint of them, and withal showing

a special inconvenience yet remaining. By reason that the

servants of our very good Lord the Earl of Oxford, and of

me the Earl of Worcester, being joined by agreement

together in one company, (to whom, upon notice of Her

Majesty's pleasure at the suit of the Earl of Oxford,

toleration hath been thought meet to be granted, not-

withstanding the restraint of our said former orders), do

not tie themselves to one certain place and house, but do

change their place at their own disposition, which is as

disorderly and offensive as the former offence of many

houses. And as the other companies that are allowed,

namely of me the Lord Admiral and the Lord Chamberlain,

be appointed their certain houses, and one and no more to

each company, so we do straitly require that this third

company be likewise to one place. And because we are

informed that the house called the Boar's Head is the place

they have especially used and do best like of, we do pray

and require you that that said house, namely the Boar's

Head, may be assigned unto them, and that they be very

straitly charged to use and exercise their plays in no other

but that house, as they will look to have that toleration

continued and avoid further displeasure. And so we bid

your Lordship heartily farewell. From the Court at

Richmond the last of March 1602.

Your Lordship's very loving friends,






In August the united company was acting at the Rose

under Henslowe, and among the actors we find the names

of William Kempe and Thomas Heywood, the playwright. 2

They were evidently held in high esteem, for in the autumn

of 1603 they were transferred to the patronage of Queen

Anne. In March 1604, now known as the "Queen's

p. 326


1 Chambers, vol. iv, p. 335.

2 Murray, vol. i, p. 52.


players," they took part in the procession on the occasion

of King James's formal entry into London. 1

It cannot now be said definitely if their habitat- the

Boar's Head- is to be identified with the famous Boar's

Head tavern in Eastcheap, the traditional house of the

tavern scenes in Henry V. It is perhaps worth reminding

the reader that the Vere crest was a Boar. This may be

just a coincidence; but it seems also possible that the

place they were accustomed to play in became known as

the Boar's Head in honour of their patron.

We have now completed our survey of the doings of the

actors patronised by Lords Oxford and Derby; and I

propose briefly to recapitulate the main facts concerning

the two Earls, and their mutual interest in the stage,

between the years 1595 and 1602.

1. In 1595, 1596, and 1599 we find them visiting each

other. They may have done so at other times as well,

but the foregoing occasions are definitely established by

documentary evidence.

2. In 1598 Lord Oxford is described as "the best for

comedy"; in 1599 we are told that Lord Derby "is

busied only in penning comedies for the common players,"

and about the same time he is described by Lady Derby

as "taking delight in the players."

3. In spite of this, not a single play has come down to us

which can be definitely ascribed to them, unless the two

anonymous quartos- The Weakest goeth to the Wall and

The History of George Scanderbeg -may be taken as the

work of Lord Oxford.

4. finally, they probably worked either anonymously

or pseudonymously,

(a) Because of the total absence of any mention

of any play bearing their names as authors; and

(b) Because Lord Oxford almost certainly worked

in this way in the eighties when he was collaborating

with John Lyly in the eight Court Comedies.

A theory has recently been advanced that the Earls

p. 327


1 Murray, vol. i, p. 186


of Oxford and Derby are in some way connected with

the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. 1 It is, of course,

Well known that Shakespeare collaborated with other

dramatists, the hands of Fletcher, Chapman, and others

having been traced beyond dispute in some of the plays

attributed to him. For two main reasons, however, I

have refrained from comment on what the conservative

element among literary critics is wont to stigmatise as a

"fantastic theory." In the first place, adequate space

could not be afforded to the subject without devoting many

chapters to its consideration, and, in the second place,

the treatment of controversial matters that cannot be

definitely Settled by contemporary documents and evidence

is outside the scope of this biography.


p. 328


1 Lefranc, Sous le Masque (cit.); and J. T. Looney, Shakespeare Identified.







E xcept I should in friendship seem ingrate,

D enying duty, whereto I am bound

W ith letting slip your Honour's worthy state,

A t all assays, which I have noble found.

R ight well I might refrain to handle pen:

D enouncing aye the company of men.

D own, dire despair, let courage come in place,

E xalt his fame whom Honour doth embrace.

V irtue hath aye adorn'd your valiant heart,

E xampl'd by your deeds of lasting fame:

R egarding such as take God Mars his part

E ach where by proof, in honour and in name.

ANTHONY MUNDAY, in The Mirror of Mutability, 1579.


       "Far fly thy fame

Most, most, of me belov'd, whose silent name

One letter bounds. Thy true judicial style

I ever honour, and if my love beguile

Not much my hopes, then thy unvalued worth

Shall mount fair place, when Apes are turned forth."

JOHN MARSTON, in The Scourge of Villanie, (9th Satire), 1599. 1






IN August 1597 the Earl and Countess of Pembroke were

anxious to promote a marriage between their eldest son,

William Herbert, and Lady Bridget Vere, who was then

thirteen and living with her grandfather, Lord Burghley. 2


p. 329


1 Marston is here speaking of a concealed poet whom he calls "Mutius." The "silent name one letter bounds" may well be a reference to the name Edward de Vere, which begins and ends with the letter E. "Mutius" is evidently one of the anonymous aristocratic poets described in the Arte of English Poesy, and would fit no one better than Lord Oxford.

2 Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (1534?-1601) married (3rdly in 1577) Mary Sidney, sister of Sir Philip Sidney. Their son William Herbert (1580-1630) became 3rd Earl of Pembroke in 1601. His brother, Philip Herbert, married Lord Oxford's youngest daughter, Susan Vere, in 1605. The two brothers were great patrons ‘bf the drama, and were "The Incomparable Paire of Brethren" to whom the Shakespeare first Folio was dedicated in 1623.


On September 8th Lord Oxford wrote the following letter

to Burghley:


My very good Lord, I have perused these letters which

according to your Lordship's desire I have returned. I

do perceive how both my Lord and Lady [of Pembroke]

do persevere, which doth greatly content me, for Bridget's

sake, whom always I wished a good husband, such as your

Lordship and myself may take comfort thereby. And as

for the articles which I perceive have been moved between

your Lordship and them (referring all to your Lordship's

wisdom and good liking) I will freely set down mine own

opinion according to your Lordship's desire. My Lord

of Pembroke is a man sickly, and therefore it is to be

gathered he desireth in his lifetime to see his son bestowed

to his liking, to compass methinks his offers very honour-

able, and his desires very reasonable. Again being a

thing agreeable to your Lordship's fatherly care and love

to my daughter; a thing which for the honour, friendship,

and liking I have to the match, very agreeable to me; so

that all parties but the same thing. I know no reason to

delay it, but according to their desires to accomplish it

with the convenient speed; and I do not doubt but yoUr

Lordship and myself shall receive great comfort thereby.

For the young gentleman, as I understand, hath been well

brought up, fair conditioned, and hath many good parts

in him. Thus to satisfy your Lordship I have as shortly

as I can set down mine opinion to my Lord's desires;

notwithstanding I refer theirs and mine own, which is all

one with theirs, to your Lordship's wisdom. I am sorry

that I have not an able body which might have served to

attend on Her Majesty in the place where she is, being

especially there, whither, without any other occasion

than to see your Lordship, I would always willingly go.1

September 8th, 1597.

Your Lordship's most assured,



The proposed marriage, however, fell through; and in

1599 Lady Bridget married Francis Norris, grandson of

p. 330


1 The Queen was staying at Theobalds with Lord Burghley.

2 S.P. Dom. Eliz., 264. 111.


Lord Norris of Rycote. The latter died in the following

year, when Francis Norris succeeded to the Barony.

On August 4th, 1598, Lord Burghley died. His loss to

the Queen was incalculable. His career as a Minister to

the Crown has never been equalled in English history.

For forty years, without a single break, he was her right-

hand man, serving her first as Principal Secretary and after-

wards as Lord Treasurer. It is outside the scope of this

volume to discuss the debt his Sovereign and his country

owed him; but a few words may be said as to his relations

with Lord Oxford.

Up to the present time all historians who have written

about Lord Burghley and his son-in-law have been

unanimous in saying that from the moment the Duke of

Norfolk was executed in 1572 they became bitter and

irreconcilable enemies. The utter falsity of such a view

has been so clearly demonstrated in the preceding pages

that further argument is unnecessary. Again, the entire

blame for the tragedy of 1576 has, without any justification,

been placed Wholly on Lord Oxford's shoulders. It is

not too much to say that little or no blame for that un-

happy episode attaches to either victim. The poisonous

machinations of the arch-intriguer, Lord Henry Howard,

lay at the root of the whole trouble. It is a matter of

some consolation that in 1581 Lord Oxford was able to

show him up in his true colours, when he exposed the

pro-Spanish plot.

Lord Burghley's unfailing kindness to Lord Oxford,

often in very difficult circumstances, and especially to

the three daughters to whom he was a second father, is

one of the most striking features of this biography. The

way Oxford parted with estate after estate, probably for

a mere song, must have been quite incomprehensible to

his prudent father-in-law, whom we cannot blame. As a

family man Lord Oxford was hopeless. The ruling passion

of his life was poetry, literature, and the drama; and poets,

as we know, only too often make dead failures of their

domestic lives.

p. 331

In his will the Lord Treasurer, after leaving the bulk

of his property to his sons, Sir Thomas and Sir Robert,



to my said son Sir Robert Cecil and to Lady Bridget and

the Lady Susan Vere, the daughters of my deceased

daughter the Lady Anne, Countess of Oxford, all my goods,

money, plate, and stuff that are or shall be remaining at

my death within my bedchamber at Westminster, and in

my two closets, and any chamber thereto adjoining . . .

all which plate, stuff, and money I will shall be divided by

my servant Thomas Bellott and the Dean of Westminster

equally into three parts betwixt my said son Robert Cecil

and the said two ladies. And that the same be delivered

for the said two young ladies by the order of my daughter

Countess of Derby, the Lady Dennie, and my sister White,

and my Steward, Thomas Bellott, or any two of them.

Saving I will that the value of £1,000 shall be delivered to

the Countess of Derby, and one other thousand pounds

of the said plate and money shall be severed and delivered

to my sons Sir Thomas and Sir Robert Cecil for the charges

of my burial.


In addition certain specified gifts of plate are to be given

to his three granddaughters, who also receive half the

residue of his money; the other half to be devoted to

"such Godly uses as my executors shall think good." 1

Lord Burghley was succeeded in the Barony by his

eldest son, Sir Thomas Cecil; but the mantle of his states-

manship descended to his second son, Sir Robert. In

1596 the latter had been appointed Principal Secretary,

a post he continued to hold under King James till he

succeeded the Earl of Dorset as Lord Treasurer in 1608.

Sir Robert also took over from his father the guardianship

of his three nieces, Lord Oxford's daughters. And from

p. 332


1 The Life of Lord Burghley, published from the original manuscript wrote soon after his Lordship's death, now in the library of the Earl of Exeter. By Arthur Collins, Esq. (1732). The will, begun in 1579 and revised several times (finally in 1597), extends over 18 pages. Collins estimates that at his death Burghley was worth £4,000 a year in land, £11,000 in money, and £15,000 in plate and jewellery.



such correspondence as exists between the brothers-in-law

we may judge that they remained friends to the end.


On March 3rd, 1599, Robert Bertie, who was then seven-

teen and travelling on the Continent, addressed a com-

plimentary letter to his uncle.1 The "plus serieux

affaires" that were then engaging Lord Oxford's attention

is probably an allusion to his literary work and his "office"

under the Queen.


Monseigneur, Je désire infiniement de vous faire paroistre

par quelque effect l'honneur que je vous porte, ayant esté

tousjours bien veu de vous; mais d'autant que je n'ay

trouvé encores aucun subject assez digne de vous divertir

de vos plus serieux affaires, je n'osoy pas prendre la

hardiesse de vous escrire, de peur d'estre trop mal advisé

de vous importuner de lettres qui ne mériteroyent pas

d'estre seulement ouvertes, si non en ce qu'elles vous

asseureroyent de l'éternelle service que je vous ay voué

et à toute vostre maison; vous suppliant très humblement,

Monsieur, de l'avoir pour agréable et de me tenir pour

celuy qui est prest de reçevoir vos commandemens de telle

dévotion que je seray toute ma vie vostre très humble

serviteur et neveu. 2


In July 1600 Lord Oxford addressed a long letter to his

brother-in-law, Sir Robert Cecil. In it he begs the latter's

assistance to obtain for him the appointment of Governor

of the Isle of Jersey:


Although my had success in former suits to Her Majesty

have given me cause to bury my hopes in the deep abyss

and bottom of despair, rather than now to attempt, after

so many trials made in vain and so many opportuni-

ties escaped, the effects of fair words or fruits of golden

promises; yet for that I cannot believe but that there

p. 333


1 Robert Bertie was the eldest son of Lord Willoughby and Lady Mary, Oxford's sister. He was created Earl of Lindsey in 1628; and on the death of the 18th Earl of Oxford without direct heirs, Lindsey laid claim both to the Earldom and to the title of Lord Great Chamberlain. A long dispute ensued with Robert de Vere, the 17th Earl's cousin. Eventually Lindsey was granted the Great Chamberlainship, but the Earldom of Oxford was awarded to Robert de Vere.

2 Cal. Ancaster MSS., 345.


hath been always a true correspondence of word and

intention in Her Majesty, I do conjecture that with a

little help that which of itself hath brought forth so fair

blossoms will also yield fruit. Wherefore having moved

Her Majesty lately about the office of the Isle, which by the

death of Sir Anthony Paulet stands now in Her Majesty's

disposition to bestow where it shall best please her, I do

at this present most heartily desire your friendship and

furtherance. First, for that I know Her Majesty doth

give you good car; then, for that our houses are knit in

alliance; last of all, the matter itself is such as nothing

chargeth Her Majesty, sith it is a thing she must bestow

upon some one or other. I know Her Majesty hath

suitors already for it, yet such as for many respects Her

Majesty may call to remembrance ought in equal balance

to weigh lighter than myself. And I know not by what

better means, or when Her Majesty may have an easier

opportunity, to discharge the debt of so many hopes as her

promises have given me cause to embrace than by this,

which give she must and so give as nothing extraordinary

doth part from her. If she shall not deign me this in an

opportunity of time so fitting, what time shall I attend

which is uncertain to all men unless in the graves of men

there were a time to receive benefits and good turns from

Princes. Well, I will not use more words, for they may

rather argue mistrust than confidence. I will assure

myself and not doubt of your good office both in this but

in any honourable friendship I shall have cause, to use

you. Hackney.

Your loving and assured friend and brother,



But it was Sir Walter Ralegh and not the Earl of Oxford

who received the appointment, and in February 1601 Lord

Oxford wrote again to his brother-in-law, this time asking

for the Presidency of Wales:


At this time I am to try my friends; among which,

considering our old acquaintance, familiarity heretofore,

and alliance of house (than which can be no straiter) as

of my brother, I presume especially. Wherefore I most

earnestly crave that if Her Majesty be willing to confer

p. 334


1 Hatfield MSS. (Cal. X. 257).


the Presidency of Wales to me, I may assure myself of

your voice in Council. Not that I desire you should be a

mover, but a furtherer, for as the time is it were not reason.

But if Her Majesty, in regard of my youth, time, and

fortune spent in her Court, and her favours and promises

which drew me on without any mistrust the more to pre-

sume in mine own expenses, confer so good a turn to me,

that then you may further it as you may. I know Her

Majesty is of that princely disposition that they shall

not be deceived which put their trust in her. This 2nd of

February. 1


Sir Robert Cecil apparently wrote a favourable answer

without, however, committing himself to a definite assur-

ance; and the next month Lord Oxford sent another

appeal to his now all-powerful brother-in-law:


My very good brother, I have received by H. Lok your

most kind message, which I so effectually embrace, that

what for the old love I have borne you- which I assure

you was very great -what for the alliance which is between

us, which is tied so fast by my children of your own sister:

what for my own disposition to yourself, which hath been

rooted by long and many familiarities of a more youthful

time, there could have been nothing so dearly welcome

unto me. Wherefore not as a stranger but in the old

style I do assure you that you shall have no faster friend

or well-wisher unto you than myself, with either in kindness

which I find beyond my expectation in you, or in kindred,

whereby none is nearer allied than myself, since of your

sisters, of my wife only have you received nieces. I will

say no more, for words in faithful minds are tedious;

only this I protest, you shall do me wrong and yourself

greater, if either through fables, which are mischievous,

or conceit, which is dangerous, you think otherwise of

me than humanity or. consanguinity requireth. I desired

Henry Lok to speak unto you for that I cannot so well

urge mine own business to Her Majesty, that you would

do me the favour, when these troublesome times give

opportunity to Her Majesty, to think of the disposition

of the Presidency of Wales; that I may understand it by

you, lest neglecting through the time by some mishap I

p. 335


1 Hatfield MSS. (Cal. XI. 27).


may lose the suit; for, as I have understood and have by

good reason conceived, I am not to use my friends to move

it. So myself having moved it and received good hope I

fear nothing but through ignorance when to prosecute it,

lest I should lose the benefit of her good disposition on

which I only depend. 1


In February 1601 occurred the disastrous Essex rising.

It is impossible to do justice to this dismal tragedy without

an exhaustive enquiry which cannot be entered into here. 2

All that concerns us is that the Earl of Oxford took no

share whatever either in promoting or suppressing the so-

called rebellion. He was summoned from his retirement

to act as the senior of the twenty-five noblemen who

unanimously declared Essex and Southampton guilty,

after the veriest travesty of a trial on February 19th.

Lord Oxford's true feelings on the matter will probably

never be known. He never referred to it in any of his

subsequent letters to Cecil. Although his relations with

his brother-in-law remained as cordial after the event as

before, he expressed his feelings against Sir Walter Ralegh,

whose share in bringing about Essex's downfall was

notorious, in a pun that has gone down to history. The

Queen was in the Privy Chamber playing on the virginals

when news was brought that the sentence against Essex

had been carried into execution. Her Majesty continued

to play; and Lord Oxford, as if in reference to the notes

-or "jacks" as they were called- dancing up and down

beneath her fingers, glanced at Sir Walter and said bitterly:

"When Jacks start up, heads go down." 3

After the execution of Sir Charles Danvers, one of the

Essex faction, the Queen granted his forfeited lands to

p. 336


1 Hatfield MSS. (Cal. XI. 152). The letter is only dated March, but it is evident that it refers to 1601. Henry Lok, who seems to have been in Cecil's service, may be the poet who inscribed a sonnet to Lord Oxford in the gift copy of his volume of poems which he presented to the Earl in 1597. The Presidency of Wales was given to Edward, 11th baron Zouch (1556?-1625) in 1602.

2 The reader is referred to E. P. Cheyney, History of England, vol. ii, and. C. C. Stopes, Third Earl of Southampton.

3 Agnes Strickland, Life of Queen Elizabeth.


the Earl of Oxford. Several letters on this subject exist

between him and Cecil, in all of which the Earl complains

that he cannot get his case, or "book" as it was called,

through the law courts. It is of interest that in one of

these he says:


I am advised that I may pass my book from Her Majesty,

if a warrant may be procured, to my cousin Bacon. 1


This is the only link that has been established between

Lord Oxford and his famous contemporary, Francis Bacon.

In January 1602, nearly a year after he had been

granted the Danvers estates, Lord Oxford was still pleading

for the matter to be settled. He complains that even Sir

Robert Cecil no longer seems to be his friend, adding:


I hope that Her Majesty, after so many gracious words

as she gave me at Greenwich upon her departure, will not

draw in the beams of her princely grace, to her own

detriment. 2


It is certain that Lord Oxford never got Sir Charles

Danvers's lands, for they are not mentioned in the Inquisi-

tion Post Mortem taken after the Earl's death. The last

letter on the subject is from him to Cecil, dated from

Hackney, March 22nd, 1602:


It is now a year since Her Majesty granted me her

interest in Danvers' escheat. . . . The matter hath twice

been heard before the judges, but their report hath never

been made. 3


After this he seems to have given the matter up in


One of the few specimens of the handwriting of Eliza-

beth, Countess of Oxford, is to be found in a letter dated

from Hackney on November 20th, 1602. It is addressed

to Dr. Julius Caesar, a judge of the High Court:


Master Doctor Caesar, I should have delivered a request

from my Lord unto you concerning a suit depending in

p. 337


1 Hatfield MSS. (Cal. XI. 411).

2 Ibid. (Cal. XII. 39).

3 Ibid. (Cal. XII. 82).


the Court of Requests against an insolent tenant, that for

the space of many years hath neither paid any rent nor

will show his lease for my Lord's satisfaction. And now

being by a late mischance in my coach prevented from the

hope of any present opportunity to meet you at the Court,

I do earnestly intreat you that whensoever my Lord's

counsel shall move against one Thomas Coe of Walter

Belchamp for the discovery of his lease and satisfaction

of his rent, either yourself or Master Wylbrome will give

the cause that expedition as in your favourable justice it

shall deserve, and prevent the dilatory pleadings which

the injustice of Coe's cause will offer unto you. And

thus commending myself very heartily unto you, commit

you to the Almighty. From Hackney, this 20th of

November, 1602.

Your assured friend,



The reference to her coach is interesting. Coaches were

first introduced into England by the Earl of Arundel

about 1566, the Queen being one of the first to use one.

It will be remembered that Lettice Knollys, after she had

married the Earl of Leicester, incurred Her Majesty's

further displeasure by driving about London in a richly

appointed coach. The appalling state of the roads at

that time accounts no doubt for the "late mischance in

my coach" complained of by Lady Oxford.

The following March Queen Elizabeth died. A full

description of her magnificent funeral procession on

April 28th was given in a broadside written by Henry

Petowe. But there is one curious omission from an

otherwise complete list of those who followed the Queen

on her last journey through the streets of London. We

are told that there was a canopy over the coffin which was

borne by six Earls, but their names are not given. As

Lord Oxford's name does not appear elsewhere in the pro-

p. 338


1 Lansdowne MSS. Sir Julius Caesar (1558-1636) was the son of an Italian, Cesare Adelmare, who had been physician to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. He was at this time Master of the Court of Requests. He was knighted on King James's accession, appointed Chancellor of the

Exchequer in 1606, and Master of the Rolls in 1614.


cession it seems certain that he was one who bore the

canopy over the mortal remains of the great Queen he had

served so long, as he had borne it on another and happier

occasion after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.




Right up to the very day before her death Queen

Elizabeth had steadfastly refused to nominate her successor.

Her reason for this obstinacy is easy to understand.

King Henry VIII.'s matrimonial troubles had left a legacy

that threatened to precipitate England into another

Succession War. At one time it looked as if both she and

her sister Mary would be excluded from the throne on the

grounds of illegitimacy. Even after her accession had been

successfully accomplished her difficulties were far from

over. From the beginning of her reign opinion in the

country was divided as to who should succeed her. Neither

the House of Stuart nor the House of Suffolk -the two

principal rivals -lacked partisans who were ready to shed

their blood on behalf of their leaders. There is little

doubt that had she inclined openly to one or other party

a civil war would have ensued.

But although officially she maintained this strictly

impartial attitude, her secret wishes, particularly towards

the end of her life, became more and more apparent.

"My throne," she is reported to have said on one occasion

to Lord Admiral Howard, "has been the throne of Kings,

neither ought any but he that is my next heir to succeed

me." For some years before her death Sir Robert Cecil,

her Principal Secretary and confidential adviser, had been

secretly corresponding with the King of Scots. The

gratuities, amounting to many thousands of pounds, and

the annuity of £2,500, subsequently raised to £5,000,

granted to King James, would have been common know-

ledge at Court. But it was not till the day before she

died that Lord Keeper Egerton and Secretary Cecil ven~

tured to put the question to her that had been on their

minds for so long. According to them her reply was:

p. 339

"I will that a King succeed me, and who should that be

but my nearest kinsman, the King of Scots?"

King James was proclaimed without opposition through-

out England on March 24th. He quitted Edinburgh on

his southward journey on April 5th, and the following day

set foot for the first time on English soil. He progressed

in leisurely fashion towards London via York; Belvoir

Castle, where he was entertained by the Earl of Rutland;

Burghley, where he was received by Sir Thomas Cecil,

now Lord Burghley; and Theobalds, where he met his

secret correspondent, Sir Robert Cecil, for the first time

in the flesh. finally, on May 11th--


the King rode in a coach, somewhat closely, from the

Charter House to Whitehall, and from thence he was

conveyed by water to the Tower of London, attending

on him the Lord Admiral, the Earl of Northumberland,

the Lord Worcester, Lord Thomas Howard, and others. 1


Just before His Majesty reached Theobalds the Earl of

Oxford wrote to his brother-in-law to ask what arrange-

ments were being made to receive the King in London.

The letter is of great interest, for it shows how deeply he

felt the loss of the Queen, and how sincere had been the

affection between him and his Royal Mistress. Well

might he exclaim that "in this common shipwreck mine

is above all the rest"; and when he voices his appre-

hension for the future he was thinking no doubt of his

"office" and his £1,000 a year, which must have repre-

sented a great part of his worldly wealth. But, as we shall

see, his fears were ill founded, for James proved to be

even more generous than Elizabeth.


Sir, I have always found myself beholden to you for

many kindnesses and courtesies; wherefore I am bold

at this present, which giveth occasion of many considera-

tions, to desire you as my very good friend and kind

brother-in-law to impart to me what course is devised by

you of the Council and the rest of the Lords concerning

p. 340


1 Stow, Annals, p. 824.


our duties to the King's Majesty; whether you do expect

any messenger before his coming to let us understand his

pleasure, or else his personal arrival to be presently or

very shortly. And if it be so, what order is resolved on

amongst you either for the attending or meeting of His

Majesty; for by reasons of mine infirmity I cannot come

among you as often as I wish, and by reason of my house is

not so near that at every occasion I can be present as were

fit, either I do not hear at all from you or at least write

the latest; as this other day it happened to me, receiving

a letter at nine of the clock not to fail at eight of the

same morning to be at Whitehall; which being impossible,

yet I hasted so much as I came to follow you into

Ludgate, though through press of people and horses I

could not reach your company as I desired, but followed

as I might.

I cannot but find great grief in myself to remember the

Mistress which we have lost, under whom both you and

myself from our greenest years have been in a manner

brought up; and although it hath pleased God after an

earthly kingdom to take her up into a more permanent

and heavenly state, wherein I do not doubt but she is

crowned with glory; and to give us a Prince wise, learned,

and enriched with all virtues, yet the long time which we

spent in her service, we cannot look for so much left of

our days as to bestow upon another, neither the long

acquaintance and kind familiarities wherewith she did use

us, we are not ever to expect from another Prince as denied

by the infirmity of age and common course of reason.

In this common shipwreck mine is above all the rest,

who least regarded though often comforted of all her

followers, she hath left to try my fortune among the

alterations of time and chance, either without sail whereby

to take the advantage of any prosperous gale, or with

anchor to ride till the storm be overpast. There is nothing

therefore left to my comfort but the excellent virtues and

deep wisdom wherewith God hath endued our new Master

and Sovereign Lord, who doth not come amongst us as a

stranger but as a natural Prince, succeeding by right of

blood and inheritance, not as a conqueror but as the true

shepherd of Christ's flock to cherish and comfort them.

Wherefore I most earnestly desire you of this favour, as

I have written before, that I may be informed from you

p. 341

concerning those points. And thus recommending myself

unto you, I take my leave.       

Your assured friend and unfortunate brother-in-law,



We do not know when Lord Oxford first met his new

Sovereign, but his next letters to Cecil are written in a more

hopeful frame of mind. We see that his title to the Steward-

ship of the Forest of Essex, which he had vainly sought

and had given up in despair many years before, has been

laid before the King:


My very good Lord, I understand by Master Attorney

that he hath reported the state of my title to the Keeper-

ship of the Forest of Waltham and of the House and Park

of Havering, whereby it appears to His Majesty what

right and acquit is therein. Till the 12th of Henry VIII.

mine ancestors have possessed the same, almost since the

time of William Conqueror, and at that time- which was

the 12th year of Henry VIII. -the King took it for term

of his life from my grandfather; since which time, what

by the alterations of Princes and Wardships, I have been

kept from my rightful possession; yet from time to time

both my father and myself have, as opportunities fell out,

not neglected our claim. Twice in my time it had passage

by law and judgment was to have been passed on my side;

whereof Her Majesty the late Queen, being advertised with

assured promises and words of a Prince to restore it herself

unto me, caused me to let fall the suit. But so it was she

was not so ready to perform her word, as I was too ready

to believe it; whereupon pressing my title further it was

by Her Majesty's pleasure put to arbitrament; and

although it was an unequal course, yet not to contradict

her will the Lord Chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton,

was sole arbiter; who, after all the delays devised by Sir

Thomas Heneage and the Queen's counsel in law then

being, having heard the cause was ready to make his

report for me, but Her Majesty refused the same and by

no means would hear it. So that by this and the former

means I have been thus long dispossessed. But I hope

truth is subject to no prescription, for truth is truth

p. 342


1 Hatfield MSS., 99. 150. Endorsed: "25/27th April, 1603, Earl of Oxford to my master."


though never so old, and time cannot make that false

which was once true, and though this three-score years

both my father and myself have been dispossessed thereof,

yet hath there been claims made thereto many times . . .

therefore I shall most earnestly desire your friendship

in this, that you will join with my Lord Admiral, my very

good Lord and friend, to help me to His Majesty's resolu-

tion. . . . From Hackney, this 7th of May.

Your Lordship's most assured friend and

brother-in-law to command,



There was evidently a close friendship at this time

between Oxford and Lord Admiral Howard, who had been

created Earl of Nottingham in 1597. In the next three

letters to Cecil he again speaks of the help Nottingham

is according his suit; and in 1601 Oxford had given him

his proxy when prevented, no doubt because of his infirmity,

from attending the House of Lords.

On June 19th he wrote to his brother-in-law, who had

now been created Baron Cecil of Essendon. Although

Lord Oxford lived for another year this is the last letter

of his that has come down to us, and therefore I have

given it in full:


My Lord, I understand how honourably you do persevere

in your promised favour to me, which I taking in most

kind manner can at this time acknowledge it but by simple

yet hearty thanks, hoping in God to offer me at some time

or other the opportunity whereby I may in a more effectual

manner express my grateful mind. I further also under-

stand that this day Master Attorney is like to be at the

Court. Wherefore I most earnestly desire your Lordship

to procure and end this my suit, in seeking whereof I am

grown old and spent the chiefest time of mine age. The

case, as I understand by your Lordship, Sir E. Cooke, His

Majesty's Attorney, hath reported the justice thereof;

I do not doubt but doth appear there remaineth only a

warrant according to the King's last order to be signed by

the six Lords in commission; whereby Master Attorney

General may proceed according to the course usual. The

p. 343


1 Hatfield MSS., 99. 161.


King, I hear, doth remove tomorrow towards Windsor,

whereby if by your Lordship's especial favour you do not

procure me a full end this day or tomorrow, I cannot look

for anything more than a long delay. I do well perceive

how your Lordship doth travail for me in this cause of an

especial grace and favour, notwithstanding the burden

of more importunate and general affairs than this of my

particular. Wherefore how much the expedition of this

matter concerns me I leave to your wisdom, that in your

own apprehension can read more than I have written.

To conclude, I wholly rely upon your Lordship's honourable

friendship for which I do vow a most thankful and grateful

mind. This 19th of June.

Your most loving assured friend and brother-in-law,



The growing optimism displayed in these letters was more

than justified. On July 18th the King granted him the

Bailiwick, or custody, of the Forest of Essex and the

Keepership of Havering House 2; about the same time he

appointed him to the Privy Council; and in the following

month he renewed his £1,000 a year from the Exchequer

in exactly the same words that Elizabeth had used in the

original grant.

Lord Oxford's appointment to the Privy Council has

not hitherto been suspected; nor is this surprising, because

all the records of the Privy Council between 1602 and 1613

were accidentally burnt in the latter year in a fire at

Whitehall. But the authority that he was so appointed

is beyond dispute. In a manuscript notice of his death,

written in James I.'s reign, we read that he was "of the

Privy Council to the King's Majesty that now is." 3 This

is a most important fact biographically. Up till now it

has been assumed that his years of retirement at Hackney

were occasioned by the fact that he was so antiquated and

out of date that he was no longer of any service to the

Sovereign. But King James's recognition of his talents

p. 344


1 Hatfield MSS., 100. 108.

2 Patent Roll, No. 1612, mem. 1 (1603).

3 Harleian MSS., 41. 89.


and abilities makes the "antiquated" theory no longer


Of still greater importance is the renewal of his grant of

£1,000 a year. Even allowing for the support of his two

powerful friends- Secretary Cecil and Lord Admiral

Howard -we cannot but help being struck by the King's

obvious desire to show him the utmost favour. But if,

as I have suggested, Lord Oxford's annuity had been

intended primarily as compensation for the money he had

spent from 1580 onwards in patronising men of letters

and actors, His Majesty's action is quite comprehensible.

James was himself a poet and a keen patron of literary

men. Nor was he a whit less enthusiastic than his pre-

decessor in his love of stage plays and masques. It will

be remembered that by 1602 only three companies of actors

were licensed to perform in London. These were the

Lord Chamberlain's (Hunsdon's), the Lord Admiral's

(Howard's), and a united company that had been formed

by the merging of Oxford's and Worcester's. On his

accession James himself became the patron of the Chamber-

lain's men, Queen Anne assumed a like position over

Oxford's and Worcester's, while Prince Henry took over

the Admiral's. Never, before or since, has the stage stood

so high in royal favour. It is not therefore surprising

that the courtier who for twenty-three years had main-

tained one of the leading companies, and had gained the

reputation of being the foremost writer of comedies, should

have had special favour shown him by the new sovereign.

On July 25th:


being Monday, and the feast of the Blessed Apostle Saint

James, King James of England, first of that name, with

the Noble Lady and Queen Anne, were together crowned

and anointed at Westminster, by the most Reverend

Father in God John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury.1


The Earl of Oxford, as Lord Great Chamberlain, claimed

the right to attend personally on His Majesty on the

p. 345


1 Stow, Annals, p. 828.


morning of the ceremony. This claim, together with its

sanction by the Lord Steward, is worded as follows:


Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, presents to the Court

a certain petition in these words. Edward de Vere, Earl

of Oxford, asks that as he is Great Chamberlain of England

of the fee of our most dread Lord the King, that it should

please the King that he should likewise at the Coronation,

as formerly he was permitted, to do the said office and

services as he and his ancestors have formerly done. That

is to say that the said Earl had freedom and entertainment

of the King's Court at all times; and that the said Earl on

the day of the said Coronation, on the morning before the

King rises, ought to enter into the chamber where the King

lies, and bring him his shirt, and stockings, and under-

clothing. And that the said Earl and the Lord Chamber-

lain for the time being together on that day ought to dress

the King in all his apparel. And that he may take and

have all his fees, profits, and advantages due to this office

as he and his ancestors before him have been used to on

the day of Coronation. That is to say, forty yards of

crimson velvet for the said Earl's robes for that day.

And when the King is apparelled and ready to go out of his

chamber, then the Earl should have the bed where the King

lay on the night before the Coronation, and all the apparel

of the same, with the coverlet, curtains, pillows, and the

hangings of the room, with the King's nightgown, in which

he was vested the night before the Coronation. He also

asks that [he should have the same privileges] as his

ancestors [who] from time immemorial served the noble

progenitors of our Lord the King with water before and

after eating the day of the Coronation, and had as their

right the basins and towels and a tasting cup, with which

the said progenitors were served on the day of their

Coronation, as appears in the records of the Exchequer.

My Lord Steward adjudicates to the aforesaid Earl the

fees, services, and fees of presenting water to the Lord the

King before and after dinner on the day of the Coronation;

and to‘ have the basins, tasting cups, and towels.

And for the other fees the said Earl is referred to

examine the records of the Jewel House and the King's

Wardrobe. 1


p. 346


1 Cal. S.P. Dom., James I. (July 7th, 1603).





Lord Oxford only lived to enjoy the benefits conferred

on him by King James for a year. He died at Hackney

on June 24th, 1604, and on July 6th he was buried in the

Church of St. Augustine.1 His grave was marked by no

stone or name; but in 1612, when his widow died, she

directed in her will that she desired:


to be buried in the Church of Hackney, within the County

of Middlesex, as near unto the body of my late dear and

noble Lord and husband as may be: only I will that there

be in the said Church erected for us a tomb fitting our

degree. 2


The Earl himself left no will; but six days before his

death he granted the custody of the Forest of Essex to

his son-in-law, Francis Lord Norris, and to his cousin

Sir Francis Vere, who had just returned to England after

twenty years' continuous campaigning in the Low Countries.

Sir Francis and his brother, Sir Horatio Vere, had always

been Oxford's favourite cousins, and to them he turned

in the hour of his death. It was under the command of

Horatio, afterwards Lord Vere of Tilbury, that young

Henry learned the art of soldiering in the Netherlands

and the Palatinate when he came of age. In the campaign

of 1625 he contracted a fever brought on by a wound

received while leading an assault on a fort. The fever

proved fatal, and he died at the early age of thirty-four.

He had no children, and the Earldom passed to his cousin

Robert; while the title of Lord Great Chamberlain

descended to Robert Bertie, the eldest son of Oxford's

sister Lady Mary, who had married Lord Willoughby

de Eresby. Robert Bertie succeeded to his father's

Barony in 1601, and was created Earl of Lindsey in 1626.

p. 347


1 Newcombe MSS. in the Hackney Public Library. In the margin of the page in the Parish Register in which the, entry of his burial occurs has been written "ye plague." It may be that his death at the age of fifty-four was due to this disease."

2 P.C.C. 10. Capell. The present location of the tomb is discussed in Appendix E.


The anti-climax presented by the last years of Lord

Oxford's life is inevitable. It is almost impossible to

penetrate the obscurity surrounding his life at Hackney.

There can be little doubt that literature, his main interest

in life, occupied the greater part of his time. It is probable

that he and his son-in-law Lord Derby amused themselves

by writing comedies which were performed by their actors.

Music too must have played an important part in the years

of retirement. But his secret has been well kept. Indeed,

so completely have the last fifteen years of his life been

obscured that one is tempted to wonder whether this is due

to chance, or whether it may not have been deliberately


In ringing down the curtain on the Earl of Oxford's

life, perhaps it may be fitting to close with an epitaph,

written by an anonymous contemporary, which is now

preserved among the Harleian Manuscripts:


Edward de Vere, only son of John, born the 12th day

of April 1550, Earl of Oxenford, High Chamberlain, Lord

Bolbec, Sandford, and Badlesmere, Steward of the Forest

in Essex, and of the Privy Council to the King's Majesty

that now is. Of whom I will only speak what all men's

voices confirm: he was a man in mind and body absolutely

accomplished with honourable endowments.


p. 348







LORD OXFORD only attended intermittently at the House of Lords. He took his seat on April 2nd, 1571, when Parliament was opened by the Queen, although he did not actually come of age till April 12th. A full list of his attendances is given below.


First Session 1571

April 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12.

May 7, 28.

Second Session 1572

May 8, 12, 15, 17, 21.

June 3, 6, 10, 24, 26, 30.

Third Session 1581

Jan. 19, 26.

Feb. 23, 27.

Mar. 2, 18.

Fourth Session 1584/5

Nov. 24, 26.

Feb. 4.

Mar. 29.

Fifth Session 1586

Oct. 29, 30.

Nov. 10, 19.

Sixth Session 1589

Feb. 4, 6, 10, 14, 22.

Seventh Session 1593

Feb. 19, 22, 24.

Eighth Session 1597

Dec. 14.

Ninth Session 1601

No attendance.


In addition to his regular appointment as a trier of petitions from Gascony, Lord Oxford also sat on other committees, viz. :


1571 April 10

A committee "touching matters of religion."

1572 May 12

A committee "touching the Queen of Scots."


During this and all subsequent sessions, Lord Oxford was appointed one of the "receivers and triers of petitions from Gascony and other lands beyond the seas and from the islands."

1586 Nov. 10

A committee appointed to address the Queen on the subject of the sentence of the Queen of Scots.


In 1582 his name was omitted from the list of commissioners for the dissolution of Parliament. This was the only occasion that it was omitted, and is perhaps attributable to his having fallen under the Queen's disfavour at this period.

With reference to the Eighth Session of Parliament, in which only one attendance is recorded, although the name of the Earl of Oxford is not included among the names of peers who attended on Wednesday January 11th, 1598, to which date an adjournment was made from December 20th, 1597 , the following quotation from The Journals of all the Parliaments during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Collected by Sir Simonds D'Ewes, 1682 (p. 535), seems to show that he may have been in his place on that day :

This Wednesday as soon as the Lords were set, it should seem that the Earl of Essex having been created Earl Marshal the 28th day of December last before this instant, took his place according to his said office, viz. next after the Earl of Oxon, Chamberlain of England, and before the Earl of Nottingham, Lord Steward and Lord Admiral.

In 1601, Lord Oxford's health having begun to decline about this time, he was unable to attend the House. He therefore appointed his friend, Lord Admiral Howard, to act as his "proxy" during this Session.





FOR generations historians have been echoing one another in saying that when Lord Burghley refused to save the Duke of Norfolk's life at the request of his son-in-law, the Earl of Oxford took the foolish revenge of dissipating his estates in order to ruin his wife, Lord Burghley's daughter. It is, of course, needless to add that not one of the many writers who have so confidently retold the story took any steps whatsoever to verify it. It is therefore of interest to see that a close study of the sales of land effected by the Earl of Oxford proves the "revenge" story to be a pure fabrication.



Nr. of Sales

Nr. of Purchases or Grants

Events in Lord Oxford's life.




Marriage with Anne Cecil.




Execution of the Duke of Norfolk.












Foreign travel.








Investment of £25 in Frobisher's voyage.








Total investments in Frobisher's voyages amount to £2,500.




Company of actors started.




Investment of £500 in Fenton's voyage.
















Employed in the Low Countries.




Annuity of £1,000 a. year.












Marriage with Elizabeth Trentham.








"King's Place," Hackney.




Stewardship of the Forest of Essex.


It will thus be seen that of the 56 separate sales during the twenty years 1572 to 1592 no fewer than 24, or nearly half, were effected during the five years 1577 to 1581, when Lord Oxford was engaged in speculating with Martin Frobisher and the other adventurers, and in restarting his father's company of actors. A further 6 sales were made during the period of foreign travel- no doubt to pay the heavy expenses travelling in those days involved. Moreover, during the three years following execution of the Duke of Norfolk only 2 sales were carried out. It will therefore be seen that the foolish myth that Lord Oxford dissipated his estates in order to "revenge" himself on Lord Burghley has no foundation whatsoever in fact.

NOTE. - This table has been compiled from the Patent Rolls in the Public Record Office. I have not given either the details or the references because the manuscript indexes to the Patent Rolls are arranged chronologically and alphabetically, which makes reference to them an easy matter.







AN annuity of £1,000 a year was granted to the Earl of Oxford

on June 26th, 1586, by authority of a Dormant Privy Seal. l

A Dormant Privy Seal may be defined thus:


Writs of Privy Seal were of two kinds: one which was final

directing the payment of a certain sum at a fixed time: the

other which directed the several payments to be made from time

to time being called a Privy Seal Dormant. 2


The wording of this writ of Privy Seal is given on page 257. 3




This annuity was paid to him quarterly until the death of

Queen Elizabeth on March 24th, 1603 ; and the first quarterly

payment of £250 that fell due in the reign of King James I.

was made on April 16th, 1603, without further question. 4 On

August 2nd, 1603, King James issued a fresh writ for the con-

tinuance of the annuity in exactly the same words as had been

employed in the original grant.5

As the Earl of Oxford died on June 24th, 1604, it is clear that

he received the annuity continuously from June 26th, 1586,

until his death almost exactly eighteen years later.




The original writs of Privy Seal granted by Queen Elizabeth

p. 356


1 Teller's Roll Mich. 28 to Easter 29 Eliz. E. 405/145 fol. 50.

2 Guide to the Records in the Public Record Office, 180.

3 Roll of Issue (Privy Seal Book E."403/2597).

4 Pells Issue Book E. 403/1698.

5 Enrolment of Privy Seals, Pells E. 403/2598.

in 1586 and by King James in 1603 are both missing from the file

of Privy Seals, but contemporary copies of the grant occur as

quoted above.

Until the year 1527 a Roll of Issue of all Privy Seal writs

was kept, but in that year the old Exchequer was abolished

and the only check on these payments was contained in the

Teller's Rolls, which are the equivalent of receipts for the

various payments as they were made. 1 The Roll of Issue

was revived in 1597 by Lord Burghley, who had been trying to

restore it for some years. The first of the Privy Seal Books

containing the Roll of Issue as restored by Lord Burghley is

numbered E. 403/2655.

This book contains 78 entries, the 57th entry being a copy

of the Dormant Privy Seal of June 26th, 1586, granting £1,000

yearly to the Earl of Oxford.

A second Privy Seal Book containing the revived Roll of

Issue is numbered E. 403/2597. This book seems to have been

opened simultaneously with E. 403/2655, or at all events very

shortly afterwards. The first book appears then to have been

discontinued, as it contains no entries subsequent to 1598,

whereas the second book continues to the end of the Queen's

reign. There are 197 entries in the second book, the Earl of

Oxford's grant being item No. 170.

Both books were kept by "Chidiock Wardour, clerk of the

pells for the restoring of the Pell of Exitus," 2 and are in his

handwriting. It seems probable, therefore, that the two books

between them give all the payments made from the Exchequer

during the last six years of Elizabeth's reign.

If this supposition is correct we shall be able to compare the

salary of the Earl of Oxford with other salaries or pensions paid

during the same period. The following is a table of the principal

gratuities, salaries, and annuities paid from the Exchequer

during the period in question. If we omit the large grants made

for political reasons to the King of Scots (Items 15, 22, 26, 27)

it will be seen that the grant to the Earl of Oxford is larger than

any of the other grants or annuities, with the exception of the

sum of £1,200 a year paid to Sir John Stanhope, the Master of

the Posts, "for ordinary charges."


p. 357


1 4th Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, Appendix II., 179.

2 E. 403/2597,f01. 25. (Entry No. 51).




NOTE. - The following abbreviations are made use of:

I.   Privy eal Book E. 403/2655.

II.   ditto E. 403/2597.

O   Ordinary Privy Seal.

D   Dormant Privy Seal.

G   Gratuity.






Ton whom paid.






Sir Henry Lee, Master of the Armoury

£400 a year

I. 34 & II. 168




The Earl of Oxford

£1000 a year

I. 57 & II. 170




Sir John Stanhope, Master of the Posts

£1200 a year"for ordinary charges"

I. 10 & II. 171




Robert Bowes, Ambassador in Scotland

40/- a day

I. 14




The four daughters of Francis Dacres each

£50 a. year

I. 60 & II. 147




Lady William Howard

£400 a year

I. 58




Lady Margaret Nevile

£50 a year

I. 59




The Lieutenant of the Tower

£100 a year

I. 36




Sir Robert Cecil (secret service money)

£800 a year

II. 139




George Guilpin, Ambassador to the Low Countries

20/- a day

I. 75 & II. 176




Thomas Edmunds, Secretary in Paris

40/- a day

I. 12 & II. 20




John Wroth and Stephen Lesieure, Queen's Messengers in Germany

20/-a day each

I. 72




Edmund Tylney, Master of the Revels

£200 a year

I. 62 & II. 29




Sir Robert Cecil, during embassy to France

£4 a day

I. 71




The King of Scots


II. 52




The two daughters of the Countess of Desmond

Annuity of £33. 6.8 each

II. 64




Lord Henry Howard, as long as the lands of the late Earl of Arundel are in the Queen's hands

£200 a year

II. 146





Stephen Lesieure, sent to Denmark

30/- a day

II. 87 & 120




Sir Nicholas Parker, Captain of the new fort at Falmouth, for 50 men

£46.13.4 a month

II. 179




Lady Arabella Stuart, for maintenance

£200 a year

II. 142




Captain Nicholas Dawtrey, for acceptable service


II. 95




The King of Scots


II. 114




James Croft, Gentleman Pensioner

£100 a year

II. 106




Sir Thomas Parry, Ambassador in Paris

£3.6.8 a day

II. 102




William Pearse, on account of wounds

2/- a day for life

II. 155




The King of Scots

£2500 a year

II. 152




The King of Scots

£5000 a year

II. 190







THE following well-known stanzas occur in Spenser's Tears of

the Muses in the section devoted to Thalia, the Muse of Comedy :


And he the man, whom Nature selfe had made

To mock her selfe, and Truth to imitate,

With kindly counter under Mimick shade,

Our pleasant Willy, ah is dead of late :

With whom all joy and jolly meriment

Is also deaded and in dolour drent.

In stead thereof scoffing Scurrilitie,

And scornfull Follie with Contempt is crept,

Rolling in rymes of shameles ribaudrie

Without regard, or due Decorum kept,

Each idle wit at will presumes to make,

And doth the Learneds taske upon him take.


But that same gentle Spirit, from whose pen

Large streames of honnie and sweete Nectar flowe,

Scoming the boldnes of such base-borne men,

Which dare their follies forth so rashly throwe ;

Doth rather choose to sit in idle Cell,

Than so himselfe to mockerie to sell.




Malone tells us that Dryden and other famous poets thought

that Spenser was referring to William Shakespeare. His own

opinion, however, is definitely against this identification. He

says : "Spenser's description, I have no doubt, was intended

for John Lyly." 1




Before we go on to consider this identification that Malone

advances so confidently, let us examine the three stanzas. In

p. 359


1 James Boswell, Life of William Shakespeare, by the late Edmund Malone, pp . 176-181.

the first Spenser laments the recent death of a certain "Willy,"

who may be either a poet, a playwright, or a comedian. In the

second he deplores the rise since "Willy's" death of certain idle

Wits Whose "rhymes of shameless ribaldry" are very unfavour-

ably contrasted with the work of "Willy" and other "learneds."

From this it seems likely that "Willy" is a poet. Lastly, in the

third stanza, he refers to a "gentle Spirit"-evidently some

aristocratic poet then living-Whose verses he describes as

"large streams of honey and sweet nectar." This "gentle

Spirit," unlike "base-born men," refuses to "throw forth"

(i.e. publish) his writings ; and is living the life of a recluse in

"idle cell."

This, as I read it, is the straightforward meaning of these

stanzas. But some critics, led astray apparently by the ad-

jective "same"- "that same gentle Spirit" -have assumed

that "Willy" and the "gentle Spirit" are identical. 1 The

stumbling-block, however, to this line of argument is that

whereas "Willy" is dead, the "gentle Spirit" is alive, and

engaged at the present moment in producing "large streams of

honey and sweet nectar." It is a curious thing that this

obvious flaw in the argument does not seem to have been

detected by any previous critic, because whether we consider

"Willy" as physically dead, or only dead in a literary sense, he

cannot surely in the same breath be described as someone

                                             from whose pen

Large streams of honey and sweet nectar flow !


I think most people who read the three stanzas will agree with

me that we' have every reason for supposing "our pleasant

Willy" and the "gentle Spirit" to be two entirely different

people. I propose therefore to examine each in turn.


3. "WILLY"


During Elizabeth's reign the name "Willy," denoting a

"shepherd," or poet, occurs in three separate poems only. 2

p. 360


1 The following use of the word "same" as an adjective is quoted from N.E.D. : "Pleonastically emphasising a demonstrative, used absol. or with ellipsis of substantive: 1588 L.L.L. ‘What Lady is that same ?'"

A similar example is to be found in the March eclogue of the Shepherd's Calendar (quoted on p. 362, post) : ‘Seest not thilke same Hawthorne studde ?  This is the first mention of ‘Hawthorne' in the poem, so that ‘same' is obviously pleonastic, and is not meant to refer back.

2 There may, of course, be other instances of which I am not aware.

It appears first in Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar (1579), in the

eclogues entitled March and August. We next come across it in

an Eclogue made long since upon the death of Sir Philip Sidney,

in which Sidney, who died in 1586, is mourned as "Willy."

This eclogue was not printed until 1602, when it appeared

over the initials "A. W." in Davison's Poetical Rhapsody.

finally it is used once more by Spenser in the stanzas already

quoted from the Tears of the Muses in 1591.

Now I have little doubt in my own mind that these three

"Willys" are one and the same person, and that person Sir

Philip Sidney. The eclogue in the Rhapsody affords incon-

trovertible proof that Sidney was known as Willy; but the

idea seems to have got about that "Willy" was a name applied

promiscuously to many poets at this time. Mr. R. W. Bond,

for example, says : "‘Willy,' as Malone points out, is a frequent

pastoral name for a shepherd, and a shepherd is poetic for a

poet" - giving as his authority Boswell's Malone's Shakespeare.

An examination of this authority cited by Bond reveals the

following paragraphs :


As shepherd was a common appellation for any of the poetical

tribe, so Willy was a common name for a shepherd; hence

probably this denomination was sometimes applied by the

writers of Shakespeare's age to poets who had no claim to the

Christian name of William. Thus in an ancient song, probably

of the time of James I.

As Willy once essay'd

To look for a lamb that was stray'd . . .

And in an eclogue on the death of Sir Philip Sidney (as Dr.

Farmer formerly suggested to me) which was written not long

after that event, perhaps by Arthur Warren, a poet very little

known, we find the celebrated author of the Arcadia lamented

in several stanzas by the name of Willy. On this ground

therefore alone "our pleasant Willy, ah ! is dead of late" might

mean- our spritely poet is of late as silent as the grave, and

wholly unemployed. 1


As Malone gives no context and no reference to "the ancient

song," beyond saying it was probably of the time of James I.,

we cannot now say for certain whether any particular individual

is meant. But it is worth remarking that the poet William

p. 361


1 Boswell, op. cit., p. 198.

Browne (born 1591) definitely calls himself "Willy" throughout

his Britannia's Pastorals (1613-16). Is it not highly likely

that the "Willy" of Malone's ancient Jacobean song is quite

simply and naturally the Jacobean pastoral poet William

Browne ?

I think the reader will agree that Mr. Bond's extraordinary

statement that "Willy" is a frequent pastoral name for a

poetic shepherd will not bear looking into for a moment. The

plain truth is that from such evidence as we possess the pastoral

name of "Willy" was applied to two poets only:

(a) Sir Philip Sidney, who died in 1586.

(b) William Browne, who was born in 1591.




I propose now to give my reasons for supposing that the

"Willy" in the Shepherd's Calendar and the Tears of the Muses

is Sir Philip Sidney.

In the first place it is noteworthy that the "shepherds"

(i.e. poets) who are introduced into "A. W.'s" eclogue-Thenot,

Cuddy, and Perin-are identical with three of the "shepherds"

in the Calendar 1; and since "A. W.'s" "Willy" is unquestion-

ably Sidney we are confronted by a strong prima facie case for

supposing that "Willy" of the Calendar is also Sidney.


But there is yet further proof ; and I propose to take the three

unidentified "Willies," viz.,

(a) In the March eclogue of the Calendar,

(b) In the August eclogue of the Calendar,

(c) In the Tears of the Muses,

and examine each in turn.


(a) In the March eclogue of the Calendar the following lines




Seest not thilke same Hawthorne studde,

How bragly it beginnes to budde,

  And utter his tender head ?

flora now calleth forth eche flower,

And bids make ready Maias bowre,

  That newe is upryst from bedde.

Tho we shall sporten in delight,

And learne with Lettice to wexe light,

  That scornefully lookes askaunce,


p. 362


1 In the Calendar they are Thenot, Cuddy, and Perigot; but the latter I take to have been corrupted into Perin by "A. W."


Tho will we little Love awake,

That nowe sleepeth in Lethe lake,

  And pray him leaden our daunce.



Willye, I wene thou bee assott :

For lustie Love still sleepeth not,

  But is abroad at his game.



How kenst thou that he is awoke ?

Or hast thy selfe his slomber broke ?

  Or made previe to the same ?



No, but happely I hym spyde,

Where in a bush he did him hide,

  With wings of purple and blewe.

And were not, that my sheepe would stray,

The previe marks I would bewray,

Whereby by chaunce I him knewe.



Thomalin, have no care for thy,

My selfe will have a double eye,

   Ylike to my flocke and thine :

For als at home I have a syre,

A stepdame eke as whott as fyre,

  That dewly adayes counts mine.


In the "Gloss" we find the following note :

Lettice, the name of some country lass.

Now, I suppose nobody imagines that "Lettice" was really

some obscure farm girl living in a country hamlet. Spenser,

when he wrote the Calendar, was living in Leicester House,

and moving in court circles with his friends Sidney, Dyer, and

Greville. For example, two "shepherds" who appear in

the July eclogue- "Morrell" and "Algrin" -are unquestion-

ably John Aylmer, Bishop of London, and Edmund Grindal,

Archbishop of Canterbury. I suggest that "Lettice" is an

obvious allusion to Lettice Knollys, the widow of the Earl of

Essex, who had married the Earl of Leicester on September 2lst,

1578. Leicester, moreover, had adopted Sidney and had made

him his heir; so that if "Willy" is Sidney his remark "at

home I have a sire" might very well refer to the Earl and

Leicester House.1 As for his "stepdame" who is "as hot as

fire," this description would seem to be peculiarly applicable to

p. 363


1 Of course Sidney's father, Sir Henry, was alive at this time. But he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, and at the time the Calendar was written his son Philip was living at Leicester House, which was in every sense of the word his "home."

Lettice, Countess of Leicester. The Earl and his Countess,

although their marriage was by way of having been a love match,

never seem to have been on happy terms. The following

quotation, taken from Miss Violet Wilson's Queen Elizabeth's

Maids of Honour, is significant:


The differences between the Earl of Leicester and his wife

were common property, so that the country generally favoured

the story that Leicester had prepared a poisoned draught for

Lettice "which he willed her to use in any faintness." She,

not suspecting its properties, gave him a drink of the supposed

cordial when he came to Cornbury and of the results whereof

he died. 1


(b) I have dealt with the "Willy" in the August eclogue of the

Calendar elsewhere.2 It only remains therefore to say here that,

in my opinion, Sidney fits this particular "Willy" better than

anyone else.

(c) With regard to the "Willy" of the Tears of the Muses

little need be said. He is described as "dead of late," and

Sidney had died in 1586. We know that Spenser had spent

many happy days at Leicester House, and it is therefore not

surprising to find him mourning the death of his generous friend

and patron. It is natural, moreover, to find his death lamented

by Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, because his great work, the

Arcadia, published the year before the Tears of the Muses,

was a romantic love story.




Although it seems to me that there is no real reason to doubt

that "our pleasant Willy" of the Tears of the Muses is Sir

Philip Sidney, a theory has arisen in the past identifying him

with Richard Tarleton (died 1588), whowas theleading comedian

of the Queen's company of players. At the outset we are con-

fronted with the difficulty of reconciling his Christian name with

"Willy." There is at least some phonetic resemblance between

"Phil" and "Will," but none between "Richard" and


The case for Tarleton rests mainly on the evidence of a con-

temporary note in a copy of Spenser's works dated 1611, which

p. 364


1 Page 166. Miss Wilson gives instances of Lettice's quick temper and arrogance.

2 See p. 182, ante.

was once in the possession of Halliwell-Phillipps.1 Dr. C. M.

Ingleby, who examined this book, tells us that the name Tarle-

ton is written in a contemporary hand in the margin opposite

the stanza in which "our pleasant Willy" occurs.2 Now, this

evidence might have some validity if we were aware of the

identity of the author of the note ; but as we are not it must be

admitted that it carries very little weight. The word "con-

temporary," when applied to handwriting, leaves a wide margin

of dates; and since the writer must have made the entry at

least twenty-four years after Tarleton's death, the supposition

seems more probable that his note was purely conjectural and

made on the grounds that Tarleton was a famous comedian who

died in 1588, and that "Willy's" death, which occurred some

time before 1591, happens to be mourned by the Muse of


But Sir Edmund Chambers, who appears to incline to the Tar-

leton identification, finds support for the theory in the evidence

provided in a ballad 3 preserved in the Bodleian Library. In

my opinion, for reasons I shall give, this evidence entirely

negatives the case in favour of Tarleton. The ballad islentitled

"A pretie new ballad intituled willie and peggie, to the tune

of tarleton's carroll." It is a lament for the death of an actor

called Willie, evidently a famous comedian, who was made a

Groom of the Chamber by the Queen, and who leaves behind

him a wife or lover called Peggie.4 So far this would fit

Tarleton quite well, for the Queen's Company were all made

Grooms of the Chamber. But the poem concludes with the

subscription : "finis qd Richard Tarleton." Surely this is the

clearest possible proof that from whatever source Rawlinson ob-

tained the ballad it was unmistakeably signed by Tarleton as the

author, and written by him to go to the tune of his "carroll" ! 5

p. 365


1 Chambers, Elizabethan Stage, vol. ii, p. 343.

2 Notes and Queries, 6th Series, vol. xi, p. 417.

3 Rawlinson Poetical MSS., 185, f. 10.

4 Compare the following lines: "his like behind him for merth is not left" . . . "none would be wary to see him on stage" . .  "A groom of the chamber my Willie was made" . . . "ay me what comfort may Peggie now have."

5 Chambers (op. cit., vol. ii, p. 342) cites another ballad written on October 5th, 1570, which is signed: "Qd Richard Tarleton." The word "quod," or "quoth," followed by the name, was a common method for an Elizabethan poet to Sign his verses. It seems absolutely certain that Tarleton himself wrote both these ballads.

Who, then, is the "Willie" of this ballad ? It appears that

there was an actor William Knell, who was a member of the

Queen's Company, and who died before 1588. He left a widow,

Rebecca, who married John Heminges 10th March, 1588.1

Both he and Tarleton were evidently very popular with Eliza-

bethan audiences as the following anecdote shows :


An excellent Jest of Tarlton suddenly spoken. At the

Bull of Bishops-gate was a Play of Henry the fift, wherein the

Judge was to take a box on the care, and because he was absent

that should take the blow, Tarlton himselfe (ever forward

to please) tooke upon him to play the same Judge, besides his

owne part of the Clowne : and Knel then playing Henry the

fift, hit Tarlton a sound boxe indeed, which made the people

laugh the more because it was he : but anon the Judge goes

in, and immediately Tarlton (in his Clownes cloathes) comes

out, and askes the Actors what newes; O (saith one) hadst

thou been here, thou shouldest have seene Prince Henry hit

the Judge a terrible box on the eare. What man, said Tarlton,

strike a Judge? It is true y faith, said the other. No other

like, said Tarlton, and it could not be but terrible to the Judge,

when the report so terrifies me, that me thinkes the blow

remaines still on my cheeke, that it burnes againe. The

people laught at this mightily: and to this day I have heard it

commended for rare.2


There can be little doubt that William Knell was the

"Willie" whose death was mourned by Tarlton in the ballad

we are considering. His name was William; he belonged to

the Queen's Company and was therefore a Groom of the

Chamber; he left a widow called Rebecca, whose pet name may

well have been Becky or Peggy ; and we have seen that the

audience of the Bull Inn "laughed mightily" at a piece of

p. 366


1 Chambers, vol. ii, p. 327.

2 Shakespeare's England, vol. ii,p. 259, quoting from Tarleton's Jests (1611). It is interesting to find Tarleton and Knell, both members of the Queen's Company, acting in a. play about King Henry V. at the Bull in Bishopsgate Street, where, it will be remembered, the Queen's Company was licensed to act by the City authorities on November 28th, 1583. The play undoubtedly was the anonymous Famous Victories of King Henry V., which Shakespeare drew upon for his trilogy 1 & 2 Henry IV. and Henry V. The author of the Famous Victories, whoever he may have been, was evidently one of the playwrights of the Queen's Company; while the play itself would almost certainly have been produced at Court during one of the winter seasons between 1583-4 and 1587-8.

horse-play between himself and his fellow comedian. Is it not

perfectly natural, then, to find Tarleton composing his elegy?

The superficial attempt to impose the nick-name of "Willy"

on to Richard Tarleton completely breaks down on closer

scrutiny.1 This, coupled with the overwhelming evidence in

favour of Sidney, seems to me to make it a moral certainty

that he (and not Tarleton) is the "Willy" of Spenser's Tears

of the Muses.




But‘it is immaterial to my next argument Whether or not

Sir Philip Sidney should be identified with "our pleasant

Willy." In any case "Willy" cannot be the "gentle Spirit"

of the third stanza quoted at the beginning of this Appendix,

because Spenser here is obviously referring to someone who is


As I have already said, Malone, and following him Mr. Bond,

have put forward the View that Spenser was referring to John

Lyly. 2 It is true that they included "Willy" in their argument,

which we have seen to be inadmissible. I propose, therefore, to

consider their arguments as if they applied only to the "gentle





In some respects Lyly fits the case very well. He was the

author, or at any rate the reputed author, of eight Court

Comedies. 3 The fact that these plays were notably free from

"shameless ribaldry" is a distinct point in his favour. And

we know that at least seven, if not all, of Lyly's plays had been

acted by 1590; so that there is nothing apparently incongruous

in his being described in 1591 as "sitting in idle cell."

But in another respect Spenser's "gentle Spirit" is entirely

at variance with what we know of Lyly. In 1589 Lyly published

p. 367


1 Unless, of course, one is disposed to accept the evidence of the "contemporary" marginal note made at least twenty-four years after Tarleton's death !

2 Feuillerat, John Lyly, p. 226, notes both Malone's and Bond's identification, but disagrees: "La chose est loin d'étre évidente; en réalité, rien ne permet d'avancer semblable hypothése.“

3 I must refer the reader to page 274, where I have argued at some length that Lord Oxford, Lyly's employer, collaborated with him in the writing and production of these well-known plays.

a pamphlet called Pap with a hatchet. 1 It was his contribution,

written on the side of the anti-Martinists, in the famous Mar-

prelate controversy. This controversy was a scurrilous paper

campaign of abuse and vituperation which began in 1588 and

lasted several years.


Such of the Queen's Protestant subjects [writes Strype]

that laboured for a new reformation of this Church, both of

the government of it by Bishops, and of the Divine Service by

the Book of Common Prayer, did at this time mightily bestir

themselves, by publishing divers books and libels full of

scurrilous language and slanders, chiefly against the hierarchy:

but those of Martin Marprelate made the greatest noise. 2


Nearly all the leading literary hack-writers were drawn in,

either directly or indirectly, including Harvey, Nashe, and

Greene. It is hardly necessary to say that Spenser had no

share whatever in these proceedings ; and when he speaks in

1591 of the recent appearance in print of "scoffing scurrility,"

"scornful folly," and "shameless ribaldry," there is little

doubt that he is referring to the Marprelate and anti-Marprelate

tracts. It seems to me quite out of the question that in the next

stanza of the Tears of the Muses he can possibly mean the author

of Pap with a hatchet when he speaks of that--


                     gentle Spirit from whose pen

Large streams of honey and sweet nectar flow:


adding the descriptive information that he -


Scorning the boldness of such base-born men,

Which dare their follies forth so rashly throw;

Doth rather choose to sit in idle cell,

Than so himself to mockery to sell.


Whoever the "gentle Spirit" may have been there seems no

doubt whatever that he cannot, by any stretch of the imagina-

tion, be John Lyly, the author of Pap with a hatchet.


p. 368


1 There is no name on the title-page, but Gabriel Harvey, in Pierces Supererogation, says: "Would God Lilly had alwaies bene Euphues and never Pap-hatchet"; which shows that Harvey at any rate considered him the author of this pamphlet. (Grosart, Works of Gabriel Harvey, vol. ii, p. 124.)

2 John Strype, Annals of the Reformation, vol. ii, part ii, chap. xix, p. 93.



To my mind the description of the "gentle Spirit" fits

Lord Oxford far better than anybody else. He was admittedly

the author of comedies, and probably collaborated with, his

private secretary, John Lyly, in the composition of Lyly's

eight Court Comedies. He took no part whatever in the

Marprelate controversy, and, indeed, had published none of his

writings- plays or poems -under his own name since 1576.

He could most aptly be described in 1591 as "sitting in idle

cell," as those who have followed his life in the preceding pages

will readily agree. He was "gentle" as opposed to "base-

born" in the true sense of the word. Further, Spenser, in one of

his dedicatory sonnets in the Faery Queen (1590), which was

addressed to Lord Oxford, refers explicitly to the mutual love

existing between the Earl and the Muses. finally, what more

likely than that Spenser, in The Tears of the Muses, should connect

in his mind Oxford and Sidney, those two brilliant court poets

whose rivalry provided the theme of the August eclogue in his

own Shepherd's Calendar ? All these facts are surely convincing

that nobody fits the "gentle Spirit" so accurately and truly

as the Earl of Oxford.


p. 369





"The earth can yield me but a common grave."

Sonnet No. LXXXI.


THE Earl of Oxford was buried on July 6th, 1604, on the north

side of the chancel in the Church of St. Augustine, Hackney;

and his widow was buried beside him in 1612.

A monument was at some subsequent date erected to mark the

spot. We know that this monument was not erected until after

the death of the Countess, for in her will dated November 25th,

1612, she writes :


I joyfully commit my body to the earth from whence it was

taken, desiring to be buried in the Church of Hackney, within

the County of Middlesex, as near unto the body of my said

late dear and noble Lord and husband as may be, and that to be

done as privately and with as little pomp and ceremony as

possible may be. Only I will that there be in the said Church

erected for us a tomb fitting our degree, and of such charge

as shall seem good to mine executors.


John Strype, who was lecturer in the Church of St. Augustine

from 1689 to 1723, thus describes what must have been the

Oxford tomb in his Continuation of Stow's Survey (1721) :


On the north side of the chancel, first an ancient Table Monu-

ment with a fair grey marble. There were coats-of-arms on the

sides, but torn off. This monument is concealed by the school-

master's pew.


In 1721 the Church was falling into disrepair and was partially

restored, but the growth of Hackney as a suburb of London in

the course of the eighteenth century necessitated a larger

Parish Church. In 1790 an Act of Parliament (30 Geo. III. cap.

71) was passed authorising the demolition of the old Church and

the construction of a new one-the present Church of St.

John-at-Hackney. The old tower standing at the west end of

the Church of St. Augustine was the only portion of the old

p. 370


Church that was not dismantled. It still stands, a prominent

landmark, some 24 feet square and 90 feet high at the north end

of Mare Street, and a representation of it has been adopted as

the Arms of the Borough of Hackney.

From Strype's evidence quoted above, and from The Diary

and Correspondence of Ralph Thoresby . . . now published from

the original MSS. by the Rev. Joseph Hunter (1830), in an entry

dated June 8th, 1712, it is possible accurately to locate the

position occupied by the Oxford monument. The monument

itself has disappeared, but a drawing of it made at some time

during the eighteenth century exists in the Hackney Public

Library. This drawing shows the place occupied by the two

coats-of-arms, probably those of Vere and Trentham.

The evidence of Ralph Thoresby in 1712 confirms the evidence

of Strype as to the position of the monument and also shows that

it contained no inscription at the time of his visit. Whether

the inscription was defaced when the brasses were removed, or,

which is more likely, that it never contained any identification

beyond the two coats-of-arms, cannot now be positively stated.

Its location on the ground can be fixed from two upright stones,

set up to mark the north-east and south-east corners of the

Church. Starting from the north-east stone, mark off six yards

towards the south-east corner, and from this point mark off

seven and a half yards westward.


NOTE. - See articles by the late Mr. Waldron Clarke in the

Hackney Spectator, dated January 18th and October 24th, 1924.


p. 371






NOTE. - The following lists of Queen Elizabeth's Ministers, Officials, Ambassadors, etc., have been collected from various printed and manuscript sources. They do not claim to be exhaustive, but are intended primarily to give a bird's-eye view of the milieu in which the Earl of Oxford lived. I have endeavoured to make them as accurate as possible, but it is necessary to warn the reader that even contemporary authorities at times disagree as to the exact date on which an appointment was made. Indeed, while we find numerous references in the State Papers to the "Lieutenant of the Tower," the "Warden of the East Marches," etc., it is the exception rather than the rule to find the name of the holder mentioned as well. This frequently leads to confusion, and it is often impossible to tell when a change actually took place. Finally, it will be noticed that there is sometimes a lapse of many years even in such important billets as those of Lord Steward, Vice-Chamberlain, and Principal Secretary. It seems probable that Queen Elizabeth deliberately left them vacant for reasons of economy ; and that the duties, which obviously had to be carried out, were performed temporarily by junior officials in addition to their own. (Cf. in this respect "Chancellors of the Exchequer.") The lists should therefore be regarded as a general guide only, and should not be accepted as definite without verification from documentary evidence.

The following abbreviations are employed : 

d. = died.

ex. = executed.

imp. = imprisoned.






John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford



1539-1562 d.

1562-1604 d.

1604-1625 d.

p. 372



Sir Henry Jernegan

Lord Robert Dudley (cr. Earl of Leicester, 1564)

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex .

Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester





1587-1601 ex.





LORDS STEWARD (downstairs)

Henry FitzAlan, 12th Earl of Arundel

William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke

  (Vacant: run by the Lord Chamberlain)

Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby 1

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Charles Howard, Earl of Nottingham




1567-1570 d.


1585-1593 d.

1587-1588 d.


p. 373


1 But in October 1591 Lord Buckhurst is shown as "Lord High Butler" (cf. Acts of the Privy Council).


William, Lord Howard of Effingham

Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex

Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham

Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon

William Brooke, Lord Cobham

George Carey, Lord Hunsdon

Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk



1558-1573 d.

1573-1583 d.


1585-1596 d.

1596-1597 d.

1597-1603 d.




Sir Henry Jernegan

Sir Edward Rogers

Sir Francis Knollys

  (Qy. Vacant: 1570-1577)

Sir Christopher Hatton

Sir Thomas Heneage

  (Qy. Vacant : 1595-1601)

Sir John Stanhope (cr. Lord Stanhope 1605)








1588-1595 d.





Sir Thomas Cawarden

Sir Thomas Benger

John Fortescue

Henry Seckford

Thomas Blagrave

Edmund Tilney

Sir George Buck



1544-1559 d.





1579-1610 d.





Sir Thomas Cawarden.

Henry Seckford 1

John Tamworth

Henry Seckford




        -1559 d.



1569-1610 d.

p. 374


1 Henry Seckford (appointed Groom of the Chamber before 1587; knighted after 1593; died 1610) was a brother of Thomas Seckford (appointed Master of the Court of Requests 1558; died 1588).


CLERK OF THE REVELS (£12 33. 4d.)

Thomas Philips

Thomas Blagrave




1560-1603 d.



Richard Lee

Edward Buggin

William Honing

Edmund Packenham










  St. Paul's Cathedral

Sebastian Westcott

Thomas Gyles

(The Paul's Boys were suppressed about

1590 on account of their share in the

Marprelate Controversy)

Edward Piers

(About 1605 they were renamed the

"King's Revels Children")

Edward Kirkham




1559?-1582 d.










  The chapel Royal (£40)

Richard Bower

Richard Edwards

William Hunnis

Nathaniel Giles

Edward Kirkham

(About 1605 they were renamed

"Queen's Revels Children")




1561-1566 d.

1567-1597 d.





  St. George's Chapel, Windsor

Richard Farrant




1564-1580 d.

p. 375



Sir Thomas Parry

Sir Edward Rogers

John Skynner

Sir James Crofts

Sir Francis Knollys

Sir William Knollys

Sir Edward Wotton (cr. Lord Wotton, 1603)




1559-1567 d.


1570-1590 d.

1590-1596 d.





Sir Thomas Cheyney

Sir Thomas Parry

Sir Francis Knollys

Roger, Lord North

Sir William Knollys (cr. Lord Knollys, 1603)



1558-1559 d.

1559-1560 d.

1572-1596 d.

1596-1600 d.





Sir John Mason

Lady Mason

Sir Francis Knollys

Sir Thomas Heneage

Lady Heneage (Widow of the 2nd Earl of Southampton)

William Killigrew

Sir John Stanhope (cr. Lord Stanhope, 1605)



1558-1565 d.










Sir Edward Walgrave

Sir John Fortescue

Sir George Home (cr. Earl of Dunbar, 1605)








Thomas Weldon

Richard Warde

Anthony Crane

Gregory Lovell

Sir Henry Cooke



1558-1567 d.


1579-1582 d.

1582-1596 d.





Sir Edward Rogers

Sir Francis Knollys

Sir Christopher Hatton

Sir Walter Ralegh







1588-1603 imp.

p. 376






Sir Nicholas Bacon*

Sir Thomas Bromley

Sir Christopher Hatton

Sir John Puckering *

Sir Thomas Egerton (cr. Lord Ellesmere, 1603)*



1558-1579 d.

1579-1587 d.

1587-1591 d.

1592-1596 1596-1614

1 Those marked with an asterisk (*) took the title of "Lord Keeper of the Great Seal."


William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester

William Cecil, Lord Burghley

Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst (cr. Earl of Dorset, 1604)



1550-1572 d.

1572-1598 d.

1599-1608 d.



Sir William Cecil (cr. Lord Burghley, 1571)

Sir Thomas Smith

Sir Francis Walsingham

Dr. Thomas Wilson

William Davison

  (Qy. Vacant: 1590-1596)

Sir Robert Cecil (cr. Baron Essendon and Viscount Cranborne, 1603, and Earl of Salisbury, 1605)





1572-1577 d.

1573-1590 d.

1578-1581 d.







Sir Richard Sackville

Sir Walter Mildmay 1

Sir John Fortescue

Sir Julius Casar




1558-1566 d.

1566-1589 d.



p. 377


1 Sir Walter Mildmay was appointed "Under Treasurer" vice Sir Richard Sackville in 1566; and it is probable that Sir John Fortescue, another of the Under-Treasurers, was acting Chancellor during the vacancy 1589-92.



Sir Henry Bedingfield

Sir Edward Warner 2

Sir Richard Blount

Sir Francis Jobson

Sir Owen Hopton

Sir Michael Blount (son of Sir Richard Blount)

Sir Drue Drury

Sir Richard Berkeley

Sir John Peyton

Sir George Harvey

Sir William Waad














2 Sir Robert Oxenbridge was "Constable of the Tower" from 1556 to 1558. This appointment was dropped on Queen Elizabeth's accession.


Sir Thomas Cheyney

William Brooke, Lord Cobham

Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham



1558-1559 d.

1559-1597 d.

1597-1603 imp.


MASTERS OF THE POSTS (£66 13s. 4d.)

Sir John Mason

Thomas Randolphe

Sir John Stanhope



1544-1566 d.

1567-1590 d.




Sir Nicholas Bacon . . . .

Sir Thomas Parry . . . .

Sir William Cecil (cr. Lord Burghley, 1571)

Sir Robert Cecil (cr. Earl of Salisbury, 1605)




1558-1560 d.

1561-1598 d.

1599-1612 d.




Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland

Edmund, 3rd Lord Sheffield

Edward, Lord Zouch

Philip Howard, Earl of Surrey

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton











p. 378






Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk

George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury

Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham

William Cecil, Lord Burghley

Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon

Robert Radcliffe, 5th Earl of Sussex

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

Robert Radcliffe, 5th Earl of Sussex



1558-1572 ex.

1573-1590 d.





1597-1601 ex.




(£133 6s. 8d.)

Sir Richard Southwell

Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy (cr. Earl of Devonshire, 1604)





1560-1590 d.

1597-1601 ex.

1603-1606 d.



Sir Richard Southwell

Sir George Howard

Sir Henry Lee





1580-1610 d.


LORDS ADMIRAL (£133 65. 8d.)

Edward Fiennes de Clinton, Lord Clinton

(cr. Earl of Lincoln, 1572)

Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham (cr.

Earl of Nottingham, 1596) 1



1557-1585 d.



1 In 1599 Nottingham was appointed "Lieutenant-General of all England as well by sea as by land."



Benjamin Gonson

John Hawkins

Sir Francis Drake

Sir John Hawkins

Roger Langford

Sir Fulke Greville

Sir R. Mansell




1549-1577 d.



1585-1595 d.




p. 379



Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex

Sir Henry Sidney

Sir William FitzWilliam

Sir Henry Sidney

Sir William Drury

Arthur, Lord Grey de Wilton

Sir John Perrott

Sir William FitzWilliam

Sir William Russell

Thomas, Lord Burgh

Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex

Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy







1578-1579 d.


1583-1588 imp.



1597-1598 d.





Henry Neville, 5th Earl of Westmorland

Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk .

Thomas Young, Archbishop of York

Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex

Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon

Matthew Hutton, Archbishop of York .

Thomas Cecil, Lord Burghley

Edmund, Lord Sheffield






1561-1568 d.


1572-1595 d.






Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland

William, Lord Grey de Wilton

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford

Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon

Sir Robert Carey

Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby de Eresby





1560-1562 d.


1568-1596 d.


1598-1601 d.




Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland

Sir John Forster 1

Ralph, Lord Eure

Sir Robert Carey









p. 380



1 Temporarily suspended 1586-8 owing to charges of maladministration.



William, Lord Dacre

William, Lord Grey de Wilton

Henry, Lord Scrope

Thomas, Lord Scrope

Sir Robert Carey




1558-1560 d.

1560-1562 d.

1563-1592 d.





Sir James Crofts

William, Lord Grey de Wilton

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford

Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon

Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby de Eresby




1560-1562 d.


1568-1596 d.

1598-1601 d.






Sir Nicholas Throckmorton 2

Sir Thomas Smith

Sir Thomas Hoby

Sir Henry Norris (cr. Lord Norris of Rycote, 1572)

Francis Walsingham

Dr. Valentine Dale

Sir Amias Paulet

Sir Henry Cobham 3

Sir Edward Stafford

Sir Henry Unton

Thomas Edmondes 4

Sir Henry Unton

Sir Anthony Mildmay

Sir Henry Neville

Sir Thomas Parry






1566 d.










1596 d.




2 Placed under restraint in France by King Henri II, 1562-4.

3 Alias Brooke. He was the seventh son of George Brooke, Lord Cobham (died 1558).

4 "Secretary of the French Tongue" to Queen Elizabeth. He seems to have been Resident Ambassador at this time, but it is possible that he was only sent over to France periodically on special embassies.



Antoine de Noailles

Francois de Noailles

Gilles de Noailles

Michel de Seure

Paul de Foix

Pasquier Bochetel de la Forest

Bertrand de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon

Michel de Castelnau, Seigneur de Mauvissiére

Claude de l'Aubespine Chasteauneuf

Henri de la Tour, Vicomte de Turenne

M. de Morlaas

Antoine de Loménie, Sgnr de la Ville-aux-Clercs

de Sancy

André Paul Hurault, Seigneur de Maisse

Thumier de Boissize

Christophe de Harlay, Seigneur de Beaumont

Antoine Lefévre, Seigneur de la Boderie





















p. 381


NOTE. - Owing to the Civil War and the disputed succession after the assassination of King Henri III. in 1589 it is difficult to follow exactly the French Resident Ambassadors in England from this date onwards.



Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague

Sir Thomas Chamberlain

Sir Thomas Challoner

Dr. John Man (expelled by King Philip II)

  (Vacant: 1568-1575)

Sir Henry Cobham

Sir John Smith

Thomas Wilkes

William Waad

  (Vacant until 1604 owing to the War)





1562-1565 d.











Count de Feria

Alvaro de Quadra, Bishop of Aquila .

Gusman de Silva, Canon of Toledo .

Guerau Despes (expelled by Queen Elizabeth)

  (Vacant : 1572-1578)

Bernardino de Mendoza (expelled by Queen Elizabeth)

  (Vacant until 1604 owing to the War)





1559-1563 d.





p. 382



[NOTE. -Where information is available I have inserted the annual salary of the appointment in brackets. These figures, however, are apt to be misleading unless one exercises judgment in their interpretation. For example, the Lord Admiral's salary as shown in the Exchequer accounts was £133 6s. 8d., but the appointment was worth over £3,000 a year (see p. 258). Again the Lord President of the North and the English Ambassador in Paris were paid on a contract basis, which included the upkeep of their Headquarters and Staffs. The same, no doubt, is true of the Lord Warden of the East Marches. On the other hand the Mastership of the Revels must have been worth considerably more than £10 a year. The holder seems to have been given £1 a day during Court Performances, and he was also entitled to a commission for censoring plays.]






p. 383


Bacon, Sir Nicholas

York House, Strand 1

Bertie, Peregrine, Lord

Willoughby House

Willoughby de Eresby


Carey, Henry, Lord Hunsdon

King's Place, Hackney, Hunsdon House, Blackfriars

Cecil, William, Lord Burghley

Cecil House, Strand

Clinton, Henry, Earl of Lincoln

Lincoln House, Cannon Row

Devereux, Robert, 2nd Earl of Essex

Essex House, Strand (renamed from Leicester House)

Drury, Sir William

Drury House, Drury Lane

Dudley, Robert, Earl of Leicester

Leicester House, Strand (renamed from Paget House)

FitzAlan, Henry, 12th Earl of Arundel

Arundel House, Strand

Hatton, Sir Christopher

Ely Place, Holborn

Herbert, Henry, 2nd Earl of Pembroke

Baynard's Castle, Blackfriars

Herbert, William, 3rd Earl of Pembroke

Baynard's Castle, Blackfriars

Howard, Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham and Earl of Nottingham

King Street, Westminster

Arundel House, Strand

Howard, Philip, Earl of Surrey and Earl of Arundel

Arundel House, Strand

Howard, Thomas, 4th Duke of Norfolk

Charterhouse, Aldersgate

Howard, Thomas, Howard de Walden and Duke of Suffolk

Lord Charterhouse, Aldersgate

Howard, Thomas, 2nd Earl of Arundel

Arundel House, Strand

Lumley, John, Lord

Lumley House, Tower Hill

Paget, William, Lord

Paget House, Strand

Radcliffe, Thomas, 3rd Earl of Sussex

Sussex House, Cannon Row; Bermondsey House, Bermondsey

Ralegh, Sir Walter

Durham House, Strand

Seymour, Edward, Earl of Hertford

Hertford House, Cannon Row

Stanley, William, 6th Earl of Derby

Derby House, Cannon Row

Suffolk, Catharine, Duchess of

Willoughby House, Barbican

Vere, Edward de, 17th Earl of Oxford

Cecil House, Strand; Oxford Court; London Stone; Fisher's Folly, Bishopsgate; King's Place, Hackney 2

Wriothesley, Henry, 3rd Earl of Southampton

Southampton House, Holborn


1 York House appears to have been let by the Archbishops of York to the Lords Chancellor. Sir John Puckering died here in 1596, and Lord Ellesmere in 1617. Francis Bacon was born here in 1561, and occupied it during the tenure of his Chancellorship from 1617 to 1621.

2 Elizabeth, Countess of Oxford, continued to live at King's Place until 1609, when she sold it to Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, who renamed it Brooke House.


NOTE. - The information contained in this Appendix is chiefly derived from London Past and Present, by H. B. Wheatley. I have only included the more important people mentioned in this Life.





APART from casual references in the histories of Camden and Stow, what is probably the first allusion to Lord Oxford after his death occurs in

Fragmenta Regalia, by Sir Robert Naunton. c. 1630.

Sir Robert, who was only thirteen years younger than the Earl, gives us forty seven thumb-nail sketches of the "servants of Queen Elizabeth's state and favour," but Lord Oxford is not included, the only allusion to him being an incidental one. This omission, however, is accounted for in the last paragraph of the book :

Modesty in me forbids defacements of men departed, whose posterity yet remaining enjoys the merit of their virtues, and do still live in their honour. And I had rather incur the censure of abruption, than to be conscious and taken in the manner of eruption, and of trampling upon the graves of persons at rest, which living we durst not look in the face, nor make our addresses to them otherwise than with due regard to their honours and renown of their virtues.

It looks as if Naunton must have been thinking of Lord Oxford when he wrote this. So prominent a courtier and favourite as the Earl had been could hardly have been omitted from a list of 47 of the Queen's "servants" without good reason. Probably Naunton, whose daughter married the Earl's grandson, felt that Oxford's life could not be written without some allusion to the Arundel accusations of 1581. Under the circumstances it seemed better to say nothing at all, as the mere allusion would have had the effect of reviving scandalous gossip.


Royal and Noble Authors, by Horace Walpole. 1758.

Contains a short but favourable life of Lord Oxford. In that section of the volume devoted to another great Elizabethan scholar, the Earl of Dorset, the following sentence occurs :

[The Earls of] Tiptoft and Rivers set the example of borrowing light from other countries, and patronised the importer of printing, Caxton. The Earls of Oxford and Dorset [Thomas Sackville, Baron Buckhurst und 1. Earl of Dorset, 1536-1608] struck out new lights for the drama, without making the multitude laugh or weep at ridiculous representations of Scripture. To the two former we owe PRINTING, to the two latter TASTE- what do we not owe perhaps to the last of the four ? Our historic plays are allowed to have been founded on the heroic narratives in the Mirror for Magistrates: to that plan, and to the boldness of Lord Buckhurst's new scenes, perhaps we owe SHAKESPEARE.


Curiosities of Literature, by Isaac D'Israeli. 1791.

One of the items in this volume, entitled The Secret History of Edward Vere, Earl of Oxford, is a fantastic piece of fiction of no historical value whatever. It is clear that Isaac D'Israeli was actuated more by the desire to give the public something sensational than by motives of veracity. We are told that the Earl lived in Italy for seven years in a state of prodigality which threw the Court of Tuscany into the shade. We are also told that during this period he spent more than £40,000. And there is a preposterous story of how the Earl came to go abroad, which, though absolutely devoid of truth, no doubt helped the sale of the book.


An Account of Hedingham Castle in the County of Essex, by Lewis Majendie, Esq., 1796.

A folio volume of 15 pages containing plans, sections, and elevations of Hedingham Castle, together with a short account of the de Vere family. There are several references to a "terrier" in the possession of the author, describing the property as it existed in 1592 when alienated to Lord Burghley by his son-in-law.

The historic value of the work, however, is greatly reduced by the author's persistent attempt, unsupported by any documentary evidence, to advance the theory that Lord Oxford deliberately destroyed Castle Hedingham in order to spite Burghley. We now know that this theory is utter nonsense, the evidence all going to prove that Oxford and Burghley were on excellent terms at the time.


An Account of the most ancient and noble family of the De Veres, Earls of Oxford.

This is an anonymous manuscript volume of about 160 pages, written in 1825 or 1826, and preserved in the Borough Library at Colchester. It contains much valuable historical material, and shows that the de Vere family had settled in England before the Norman Conquest.


The History and Topography of the County of Essex, by Thomas Wright. 1836.

The de Vere family and Hedingham Castle are dealt with in volume i, pages 507 to 524 of this work. A short biography of the 17th Earl is given on page 516, and as it is a good example of the persistent calumny that has pursued his memory ever since the time of Charles Arundel's unfounded charges, it is quoted below in full:

Edward the seventeenth Earl succeeded his father: he wasted and nearly ruined his noble inheritance. For, having a very intimate acquaintance with Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, with cruel injustice condemned for his attachment to the Queen of Scots, he most earnestly interceded with Sir William Cecil, Lord Chancellor [sic] Burghley, to save the life of his friend; and failing in his attempt he swore he would ruin his estate at Hedingham, because it was the jointure of his first wife, Anne, Lord Burghley's daughter. According to this insane resolution, he not only forsook his lady's bed, but sold and wasted the best part of his inheritance ; he began to deface the Castle, pulled down the out-houses, destroyed all the pales of the three parks, wasted the standing timber, and pulled down the walls that inclosed the Castle. The father of the Lady Anne, by stratagem, contrived that her husband should, unknowingly, sleep with her, believing her to be another woman, and she bore a son to him in consequence of this meeting. The lady died in 1588. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Trentham, Esq., who when her husband was about to sell the Castle and estate at Hedingham, contrived to purchase and preserve it for the family. He died in 1604, and was buried in a private manner at Hackney.

Neither the "insane resolution" attributed to Lord Oxford, nor the "stratagem" alleged to have been contrived by Lord Burghley have, it need hardly be pointed out to readers of the present Life, any historical foundation whatever. These two so-called "facts" have been accepted hitherto, however, without question, and the latter forms the foundation of the belief that

Oxford was the original of Bertram in All's Well that Ends Well. Oxford and Bertram were certainly both Royal Wards, both married into families of lower social prestige than their own, and both decided for a time to live apart from their wives. But it by no means necessarily follows that every detail connected with Bertram has its counterpart in actual events in Lord Oxford's life. It is much more likely in the case of the "stratagem" that this particular episode in the play was transferred to Lord Oxford, in View of the general similarity of his character to that of Bertram, than that the episode was transferred from Oxford to the play.


Miscellanies of the Fuller Worthies' Library, Vol. IV., edited by Rev. A. B. Grosart. 1872.

A collection of 23 poems by the Earl of Oxford, 15 of which had been published during his lifetime. The remainder are taken from manuscript sources in the Bodleian Library. In a brief "Memorial-Introduction" Dr. Grosart says significantly of Lord Oxford: "An unlifted shadow somehow lies across his memory."


The Dictionary of National Biography. 1898.

When the late Sir Sidney Lee wrote the life of the Earl of Oxford for the D.N.B. it was by far the most comprehensive biography so far attempted. Unfortunately Sir Sidney was unable to make use of the numerous manuscript sources, but was of necessity confined to the scandal, gossip, and hearsay of printed records. Lord Oxford is convicted unheard on the evidence of the traitor Charles Arundel; we are told that he "is said" to have planned the murder of Sir Philip Sidney; his character, according to Sir Sidney, was "wayward, violent, extravagant, and boorish."

Sir Sidney, however, fully appreciated his worth as a poet, stating that "he evinced a genuine interest in music, and wrote verses of much lyric beauty."


Shakespeare Identified, by J. Thomas Looney. Cecil Palmer, 1920.

A long and carefully worked out argument, in which the author claims most of the Shakespeare plays and poems for the Earl of Oxford.


The Elizabethan Stage. By Sir E. K. Chambers. 4 vols. 1923.

This is the most complete and detailed history of the Elizabethan Stage that has been attempted hitherto. One section (vol. ii, pp. 99-102) is devoted to the Earl of Oxford's actors, and another (pp. 118-27) to those of his son-in-law the Earl of Derby.

In the opening chapter of Volume I. Sir E. Chambers emphasises the paramount importance of the Queen and her Court in connexion with the Drama:

It will be manifest in the course of the present treatise, that the Palace was the point of vantage from which the stage won its way, against the linked opposition of an alienated pulpit and an alienated municipality. . . . It is worth while, therefore, to attempt to recover something of the atmosphere of the Tudor Court, and to define the conditions under which the presentation of plays formed a recurring interest in its bustling many-coloured life.


English Literary Autographs, edited by Dr. W. W. Greg. Part 1.

Dramatists, 1550-1650.  1925.

This is a collexction of specimens of the handwriting of all English dramatists who lived between 1550 and 1650 whose holographs exist. The famous signatures of William Shakespeare have been omitted in order to avoid controversy. Place has been found, however, for examples of the handwriting of the Earls of Oxford and Derby on account of their “close connection with the stage.” The second letter reproduced by Dr. Greg is dated July 7th, 1594 and is of interest on account of an allusion to an “office” held by the writer, an allusion which not unnaturally puzzled Dr. Greg. “It does not appear,” he writes, “what was the ‘office’ to which he alludes, but the affair may possibly have had to do with the import monopoly for which he was petitioning in 1592.”

It in most unlikely that Oxford here is alluding to an import monopoly—which, moreover, he did not succeed in obtaining. Dr. Greg was, however, unaware when he advanced this theory

that Oxford was at this time in receipt of an allowance of £1,000 a year from the Exchequer. The precice duties which he had to perform in return for this salary must be a matter for research supplemented by inference and conjecture. The following is the opening sentence of the letter in question, and one fact at least stands out clearly, namely, that the “office” was one in which Queen Elizabeth was very closely concerned. “My very good Lord [he writes to Burghley], if it please you to remember that about half a year or thereabout past I was a suitor to your Lordship for your favour that, whereas I found sundry abuses whereby both her Majesty & myself were in mine office greatly hindered, that it would please your Lordship that I might find such favour from you that I might have the same redressed.”






British Library, London, Lansdowne MSS.

British Library, London, Harleian MSS.

British Library, London, Cotton MSS., Titus – Galba – Appendix.

British Library, London, Egerton MSS.

Bodleian Library, Oxford, Rawlinson MSS.

Public Record Office (P.R.O.), Kew, E. 403-2264 (Exchequer Roll of Issue)

Public Record Office (P.R.O.), Kew, Privy Seal Warrants, E. 403-2559

Public Record Office (P.R.O.), Kew, P.C.C. (Prerogative Court of Canterbury)

Public Record Office (P.R.O.), Kew, Chancery: Inquisitions Post Mortem, Series II

Public Record Office (P.R.O.), Kew, Patent Roll 1165. m. 34. 20 Eliz. (1578).

Public Record Office (P.R.O.), Kew, Patent Roll, No. 1612, mem. 1 (1603)

Public Record Office, Baschet Transcripts de Paris, bundle 27 (PRO 31/3/27, Dispatches of Castelnau de Mauvissière)

L[incolnshire] A[rchives] O[ffice], Ancaster MS

Hackney Public Library, Newcombe MSS.


An Hystorical and Genealogical Account of the Ancient Noble Family of the Veres, earles of Oxford, their armes, wives, issues and actions [Bodl. MS Rawl. Essex 6].

This is in the hand of the antiquary William Holman (d. 1730) but may not have been originally written by him. It was Philip Morant (1700-1770) who judiciously selected material from Holman’s manuscripts to create The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex (1763-68), published in two volumes. - Morant, by his own account, had in his possession the larger mass of Holman’s papers, from which he derived by far the most valuable part of his volumes. They afterwards became the property of the Hills of Earl’s Colne, near Halstead, who were related to Morant. About twenty to twenty-five volumes were presented to the corporation of Colchester by the father of the present representative of the family, and are now in the museum there. – While Homan’s labouriously collected, but ultimately unpublished, monumental inscriptions, heraldic notes and Family genealogies, were expediently omitted by Morant, they were to find publication in a six-volume reworking of Morant’s History, published by Henry Bate Dudley and Peter Muilman. Muilman's history appeared in 1770, and Sir H. B. Dudley's in 1772. (See Dolly MacKinnon, Earls Colne's Early Modern Landscapes. London, New York 2014.)

[I found this work never cited in the Oxfordian literature. - KK]



Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series of the Reigns of Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth, Preserved in the State Paper Department of Her Majesty’s Public Record Office (5 vols), ed. by Robert Lemon and Mary Anne Everett Green. London 1856–1872



Calendar of State Papers (Cal. S.P.), Scottish

Calendar of State Papers (Cal. S.P.), Foreign  

Calendar of State Papers (Cal. S.P.), Spanish

Calendar of State Papers (Cal. S.P.), Venetian

Calendar of State Papers (Cal. S.P.), Colonial, East Indies

See 7.1. Research for Shake-speare


Hatfield MSS: Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, Volume 2, 1572-1582. Published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1888. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-cecil-papers/vol2

Cal. Rutland MSS: The manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Rutland : preserved at Belvoir castle, Vol. I.  London 1888. https://archive.org/details/hists52199677

Acts of the Privy Council, New Series http://www.british-history.ac.uk/search/series/acts-privy-council

John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, I (1823) https://archive.org/details/progressespublic01nich

John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, II (1823) https://archive.org/details/progressespublic02nich

John Nichols, The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth, III (1823) https://archive.org/details/progressespublic03nichuoft

Catholic Record Society, vol. 21, The Ven. Philip Howard. Earl of Arundel (1919) https://archive.org/details/thevenphiliphowa21arunuoft

Murdin, State Papers: A Collection of State Papers relating to Affairs in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth from the year 1571 to 1596 … left by William Cecil Baron Burghley, Samuel Haynes. By William Murdin. London 1759   [See: https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_YitDAAAAcAAJ ]

The Zurich letters, comprising the correspondence of several English bishops and others, with some of the Helvetian reformers, during the early part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Second series. Cambridge 1845 https://archive.org/details/zurichletterssec00pearrich

Sidney Papers: Letters and Memorials of State in the Reigns of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, King James, King Charles I, part of the Reign of King Charles II, and Oliver's Usurpation, faithfully transcribed from the originals at Penshurst Place in Kent, and from his Majesty's Office of Papers and Records of State, by Arthur Collins, 2 vols., London 1746.

Bibliotheca Lindesiana, VI. 243. Lindsay, James Ludovic: Bibliotheca Lindesiana. Catalogue of the printed books preserved at Haigh Hall … Vol. 1–4. Aberdeen, 1910.

Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (Hist. MSS. Comm.), 14th Report, London 1896

Ten Raa, F. J. G., F. de Bas and J. W. Wijn (eds), Het Staatsche Leger, 1568–1795 (8 vols, Breda, The Hague, 1911–64).

Wright, Thomas (ed.): Queen Elizabeth and her times – original letters [Burghley, Leicester, Walsingham, Smith, Hatton] (2 vols).  London 1838

Arber, Edward: A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London 1554-1640 (5 vols). London 1875

The Black Book of Warwick, ed. by Thomas Kemp. Warwick 1898 https://archive.org/details/blackbookofwarwi00warw

Leicester Correspondence: Correspondence of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leycester, during his Government of the Low Countries, ed. by John Bruce. London (Camden Society) 1844

Recueil des Dépêches, Rapports, Instructions et Mémoires des Ambassadeurs de France en Angleterre et en Ecosse. Publiés par Charles Purton Cooper. Paris et Londres 1840. -Correspondance Diplomatique de Bertrand de Salignac de la Mothe Fénélon, Tome Quatriéme, années 1571 - 1572. https://archive.org/details/correspondance6704feneuoft

Arthur Collins, Peerage of England, or an Historical and Genealogical Account of the Present Nobility. . . . collected as well from our best historians, publick records, and other sufficient authorities, as from the personal information of most of the Nobility, vol. ii, London 1709. (2 vols. 1750)

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900 (D.N.B.) by Smith, Elder & Co. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Dictionary_of_National_Biography,_1885-1900

Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Ed., London 1910



Leland, John: The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543. London 1906-10

Churchyard, Thomas: A General Rehearsal of all Wars, 1579

Stow, John: The Annales of England. London 1580 (cit. ed. 1631)

An answer to the untruthes published and printed in Spaine in glorie of their supposed victorie achieved against our English Navie … by I. L. … London 1589.

Segar, William: The booke of Honor and Armes. London 1590

Segar, William: Honor Military and Civil. London 1602

Churchyard, Thomas: A True Discourse Historical, 1602

Markham, Gervase [Jervis]: Honour in his Perfection, or a Treatise in Commendation of the Vertues of Henry, Earl of Oxenford, Henry, Earle of Southhampton, Robert, Earl of Essex. 1624

Naunton, Robert [1563-1635]: Fragmenta regalia or Observations on Queen Elizabeth, her times and favorites. 1641 

Camden, William: Annals, or, The History of the most renowned und victorious Princess Elizabeth, late Queen of England. Third Edition. London 1675

Dugdale, Sir William: The baronage of England or an historical account of the lives and most memorable actions of our English nobility (2 vols). 1675  [careless]

Simonds D’Ewes, Simonds: Parliaments during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, 1682

Strype, John: Annals of the Reformation in England, vol. I 1709–1725; vol. II 1725; vol. III 1728; vol. IV 1731, 2nd ed. 1735, 3rd ed. 1736–1738. http://www.righteousnessislove.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/John-Strype-Annals-of-the-Reformation-Vol.-4.pdf

The life of that great statesman William Cecil, Lord Burghley, secretary of state in the reign of King Edward the Sixth, and Lord high treasurer of England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, published from the original manuscript wrote soon after his Lordship's death, now in the library of the Earl of Exeter. By Arthur Collins, Esq. (1732)

Peck, Francis: Desiderata curiosa (2 vols). London 1732-35 [repeats Dugdale]

Birch, Thomas: Memoirs of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, vol. I. London 1754

Morant, Philip: The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex, vol. ii. London 1768

Lodge, Edmund: Illustrations of British History (3 vols). London 1791 [repeats Dugdale]

Lysons, Daniel: The environs of London: being an historical account of the towns, villages, and hamlets, within twelve miles of that capital. London 1792  

Majendie, Lewis: An account of Castle Hedingham. London 1796

Seacome, John: A Brief Account of the Travels of the Celebrated Sir William Stanley. Liverpool, 1801

Hunter, Joseph: Hallamshire. The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York. London 1819

Robinson, William: The History and Antiquities of Edmonton. London 1819

Sharp, Cuthbert: Memorials of the Rebellion of 1569. London 1840

Hayward, John: Annals of the first four years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. London (Camden Soc.) 1840

Robinson, William: History and Antiquities of Hackney. London 1842

Motley, John Lothrop: The Rise of the Dutch Republic, a History, Vol. I. New York 1856 (1868)  https://archive.org/details/1868riseofdutchrep01motl

Nicolas, Nicholas H.: Life and Times of Sir Christopher Hatton, London 1847

Strickland, Agnes: Lives of the Queens of England, vol. vi. London 1852

Devereux, W. B. : The Devereux: Lives and Letters of the Devereux, the Earls of Essex (2 vols). London 1853

Loftie, W. J.: Memorials of the Savoy (1878)

Wheatley, Henry B.: London Past and Present. London 1891

Corbett, Julian Stafford: Drake and the Tudor Navy, vol. i. London 1898

Lingard, John: The History of England, vol. iii. London 1902

Chamberlin, Frederick C.: The Private Character of Queen Elizabeth. London 1921

Younghusband, George: The Tower of London. London 1924

Read, Conyers: Sir Francis Walsingham, vol. i. London 1925

Stephenson, Mill: A List of Monumental Brasses in the British Isles. London 1926

Cheyney, Edward P.: History of England, vol. i. London 1926

Benson, E. F.: Sir Francis Drake. London 1927

Walker, Gilbert George: A Great Elizabethan [Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby D'Eresby]. London 1927



Surrey’s Poetical Works: The poems of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, ed. with a memoir by J. Yeowell. London 1908

The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, 1550-1563, ed. by J G Nichols. Camden Society, London, 1848.

Heliodorusʼ Aethiopian History, transl. by Thomas Underdowne, 1569

Elviden, Edmund: Metaphoricall Historie of Peisistratus and Catanea, 1570

Golding, Arthur: The Psalms of David, 1571

Clerke's Courtier: Balthasaris Castilionis comitis, De curiali sive aulico libri quatuor, ex Italico sermone in Latinum conversi: Bartholomæo Clerke Anglo, 1571-72

The Breviary of Britain. Written in Latin by Humphrey Lhuyd . . . and lately Englished by Thomas Twyne, gentleman, 1573.

A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres, Bounde up in one small Poesie. Gathered partely (by translation) in the fyne outlandish Gardins of Euripides, Ovid, Petrarke, Ariosto, and others: and partly by invention, out of our owne fruitefull Orchardes in Englande:Yelding sundrie sweete savours of Tragical, Comical, and Morall Discourses, bothe pleasant and profitable to the well smellyng noses of learned Readers. Meritum petere, grave. At London, Imprinted for Richarde Smith. [1573]

The Posies of George Gascoigne Esquire.Corrected, perfected and augmented by the Author. 1575. Tam Marti, quam Mercurio. Imprinted At London by H. Binneman for Richard Smith.

Brooke, John: The Staffe of Christian Faith, 1577

The Paradyse of daynty devises, Conteyning sundry pithy preceptes, London 1576

Harvey, Gabriel: Gabrielis Harueij Gratulationum Valdinensium libri quatuor ... Londini : Ex officina typographica Henrici Binnemani, Anno. M.D.LXXVIII [1578] Mense Septembri.

Eight Novels Employed by English Dramatic Poets of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth originally published by Barnaby Riche in the year 1581… Printed for the Shakespeare Society, London, 1846.

Huberti Langueti Epistolae ad Philippum Sydneium Equitem Anglum, Ed. Hailes. Edinburgh 1776

The correspondence of Philip Sidney and Hubert Languet. Translated from the Latin by Steuart A. Pears. London 1845

The Poems of Thomas, Lord Vaux, Edward, Earl of Oxford, and Robert, Earl of Essex, and Walter, Earl of Essex, in: Grosart, Alexander B. , Miscellanies of the Fuller Worthies’, Huth Library 1872

Poems of Edward de Vere, ed. by J. Thomas Looney, London 1921

Lyly, John: Complete Works, ed. by Richard Warwick Bond (3 vols). Oxford 1902

Greene, Robert: The Life and Complete Works of Robert Greene, ed. by Alexander B. Grosart (15 vols). Huth Library 1881–86

Harvey, Gabriel: The Works of Gabriel Harvey, ed. by Alexander B. Grosart (3 vols). Huth Library 1884–85

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