Friday, 24 April 2015

Charles Brandon's illegitimate children

Charles Brandon (1483-1545), Duke of Suffolk, closest friend and brother-in-law of King Henry VIII. Charles Brandon had four marriages and eight legitimate children.
Charles also fathered three illegitimate children; Charles (1521-51), Frances (d.1600) and Mary. Coincidentally, these children share the same names as their legitimate half-siblings. The identity of the mothers of these illegitimate children are unknown. Judging by their dates of marriage, it seems likely that Charles and Frances were born during the Duke's marriage to Princess Mary Tudor, Queen of France, and Mary was born during his marriage to Catherine Willoughby.

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Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
Charles Brandon seems to have had a close relationship with his father Charles, the Duke, in particular during his adulthood. In November 1542 Charles commanded a garrison of 200 on the Scottish border where his father was Warden of the Marshes. Charles, then went to war in France with his father the Duke in 1544, where he knighted him in September in Boulogne. The Duke had also used his influence to grant him the stewardship of Sheriff Hutton in January 1544. In 1547 Charles became MP for Westmoreland.
Charles was of the Protestant faith; this can be seen in his support for the Dissolution and his poor treatment of the priests of the monastic lands he desired. Also, in his Will, his phrasing reveals a Protestant view to sin and death, rather than a Catholic one.
Between 1541 and 1545 Charles married Elizabeth Strangeways (1498-1559), nee Pigot, a widow of Sir James Strangeways (1503-41). Elizabeth was an heiress in her own right, of her uncle Sir Ralph Pigot (d.1503). After Charles' death she married for a third time to Francis Neville (1519-82). There were no children from any of Elizabeth's marriages. It was through his wife's inheritance that Charles gained Sigston Castle in Yorkshire which became his principal residence. In March 1546 Elizabeth's father Thomas died and she inherited a third of his estate. Charles and Elizabeth gained former monastic lands in Yorkshire; the manors of Appleton Wiske and Unerby, on the condition that Elizabeth give up her manor of Greenshaw.
Charles died on the 12th of August 1551 in Alnwick, after an illness of at least a month; he made his Will in July. In Charles' Will, he left his 'sister Sandon', Frances, some gold bracelets; indicating that the half-siblings shared a close relationship. It is possible that as Frances Sandon was the only sibling he named, the two were in fact full siblings, sharing the same mother as well as the same father.
After his wife Elizabeth, the main beneficiary of Charles' Will was his 'cousin' Humphrey Seckford and who he left Sigston to; an executor of his Will was Francis Seckford, Humphrey's brother, and another brother Anthong Seckford was left £10. The Brandon and Seckford families were related but very distantly, therefore this close relationship between the Seckfords and Charles could be interpreted as a close familial one; in that Charles' mother was a Seckford.

Frances Brandon married firstly William Sandon (1522-59). Frances and William had Katherine (b.1545), Anne, Frances and Ambrose (1557-1628).
Katherine Sandon married Edward Asfordby (d.1590) and had William (d.1623), John, Edward, George, Peregrine, Jane, Susan and Elizabeth. The use of the name Peregrine is interesting to note as Katherine Willoughby named her son Peregrine; perhaps reflecting the relationship between the family members.
William Sandon was Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1544. In his Will of 9th October 1558, William mentions 'my wife's mother and my wife's brother'; as all of Duke Charles Brandon's sons were deceased by this time, we can assume that this is referring to Frances' mother and her son from another relationship. This also means that Frances shared a close relationship with her mother throughout her life. In his Will, William also leaves a bequest to 'my cousin Elizabeth Gildon, daughter of my uncle-in-law Thomas Gildon'; it seems unusual that he would refer to a husband of an aunt in his way, so it was perhaps that Thomas Gildon was an uncle of William's wife Frances. This would make Frances' mother a member of the Gildon family.
Frances' son Ambrose Sandon married a woman named Barbara (d.1627) and they had a son named Thomas (b.1599). However after this the Sandon line vanishes.
By 1562 Frances had remarried to Andrew Billesby.
Both of Frances' husbands were Lincolnshire gentlemen whose families were closely associated with each other due to geography and marriage. Both Sandon and Billesby knew and were supporters of Mary Willoughby, the mother of Duke Charles Brandon's fourth wife Katherine.

Mary Brandon married Robert Ball (b.1542). Robert was the son of John Ball (1518-56) and Mary Marsham. John Ball was a servant to the Willoughby family. Robert Ball attended Cambridge University in 1560. Very little is known about Mary Brandon.

Friday, 17 April 2015

The mothers of Katherine Howard

Katherine Howard (1525-42) was born the daughter of Edmund Howard (1478-1539) and his wife Joyce Culpeper (b.1480). Edmund was the youngest son of the Duke of Norfolk, and as such did not have much of an inheritance, and therefore had very little money to support his family. In 1527 Joyce had to plead with Cardinal Wolsey to spare Edmund from being imprisoned for debt. Joyce Culpeper died when Katherine was still young, in around 1528.

Edmund and Joyce had the following children;
+ Charles Howard (b.1511)
+ Margaret Howard (1515-71) m. Thomas Arundell
+ Mary Howard (b.1518) m. Edmund Trafford
+ Henry Howard m. Anne (b.1510)
+ George Howard (1519-80)
+ Katherine Howard (b.1525) m. King Henry VIII

Joyce had previously married in around 1592 to Ralph Legh (1479-1509), a relative of her stepfather, and they had five children together;
+ Isabel Legh (d.1573) m1. Edward Baynton m2. James Stumpe m3. Thomas Stafford
+ Ralph Legh (b.1505) m. Margaret Ireland
+ John Legh (1502-66) m. Elizabeth Darcy
+ Joyce Legh m. John Stanney
+ Margaret Legh m. Mr Rice

When Katherine Howard became queen in 1540 many of her siblings and relatives came to the royal court, and her sisters Margaret Howard and Isabel Legh became her ladies-in-waiting.

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Katherine Howard
When his wife Joyce died, Edmund was then solely responsible for a household of eleven children. Needing to provide his young family with a maternal figure he soon remarried, to Dorothy Troyes (1487-1530), daughter of Thomas Troyes, and the widow of William Uvedale (1483-1528).
Dorothy and William, who married in 1501, had eight children together;
+ Arthur Uvedale (1502-38) m. Anne Haselwood
+ John Uvedale (1504-45)
+ William Uvedale (b.1506)
+ Agnes Uvedale (b.1508) m. Richard Cooke
+ Elizabeth Uvedale (b.1510) m. Thomas Cheeke
+ Richard Uvedale (1512-56)
+ Anne Uvedale (b.1514)
+ Francis Uvedale (1516-45)
Due to the ages of Dorothy's children, it is unlikely that they came to live with her and her new husband Edmund, as it was probable that they were already married themselves or being educated outside of the family home.
This marriage did not last long as Dorothy died in 1530, leaving Edmund Howard a widow for the second time within two years.

Edmund Howard married again for a third time between 1533 and 1537 to Margaret Munday (1510-66), the widow of Nicholas Jennings (d.1533). Margaret was the daughter of Sir John Munday, the Lord Mayor of London.
Margaret and Nicholas, who had married in 1526, had the following children together;
+ Anna Jennings
+ Bernard Jennings
+ Juliana Jennings (d.1595) m. Thomas Holcroft
At the time of Nicholas Jennings' death in 1533, only his daughter Juliana was still living and was his sole heir. Due to her young age it could be presumed that she went with her mother to live in the Howard household.
Edmund Howard died on the 19th March 1539, just one year before his daughter became Queen of England. His widow Margaret married for a third time to Henry Maddocks, MP, with whom she had Margaret Maddocks (1545-1612), who married Francis Cromwell, and a son who was disinherited by his father for "naughty, light and lewd behaviour".

Katherine Howard was living with her step-grandmother the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, Agnes Howard (nee Tilney) by 1536. Her father had sent her brother George and herself to live there around 1533, as they would receive an education there far better than one he would be able to provide. It has been surmised by some historians that prior to this Katherine had been sent to live with one of her maternal aunts, Margaret or Elizabeth, in 1531 when her father was sent to take up his posting as Controller of Calais. He had gained this position through the influence of his niece, Anne Boleyn, with the king, and would remain in the position until his death.

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Agnes Howard, nee Tilney
Katherine Howard spent her entire childhood in the country, receiving little education or supervision, until she went to serve at the royal court in the winter of 1539. Her father had barely been able to support his family financially, possibly due to the large number of children. He had also spent most of his time working away from his family, and Katherine would have only spent a minimal amount of time with her two stepmothers. Later, living in the Dowager Duchess' household, Katherine was still deprived of a real family atmosphere. The household was home to a large number of Howard relatives, and so Katherine probably received very little attention and had very few of her own possessions. Therefore when King Henry began courting Katherine, showering her with expensive gifts, and the attention she then began to receive from everyone, was foreign to her. As any young girl would, Katherine relished all of it; possibly resulting in a reputation for being materialistic and fanciful.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Samuel Pepys and his sister Paulina

Paulina 'Pall' Pepys (1640-89) was the only surviving sister of Samuel Pepys out of the five daughters born to their parents John Pepys and Margaret Kite.
In February 1668 Paulina married John Jackson (1640-80) and had two sons; Samuel (b.1669) and John (1673-1723).

Samuel Pepys
At the time when Samuel Pepys begins his famous diary, his relationship with his sister is not a good one and she seems to already have had a reputation for misbehaving and causing trouble. Throughout his diary, Samuel mentions the sums of money he gives to his sister for her personal use.
The second mention of his sister Paulina in the diary, on the 24th January 1660, contains a complaint about her behaviour. Paulina had been stealing items, including scissors from Samuel's wife and a book from his maid.
In the November of 1660 it was agreed that Paulina would go and live with Samuel and his wife, however she would not be a guest, instead she would work for the couple as a servant. Paulina moved in on the 2nd January 1661, and even on that first evening Samuel would not permit her to dine with them, as he feared she would expect to every evening. Paulina spent most of her time at the Pepys house with Samuel's wife Lizzie as her maid.

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Lizzie Pepys
The arrangement seems to have only lasted for a few months as by July 1661 Samuel was already determined to be rid of her. On the 25th August, Samuel convinced his father to allow Paulina to move back to their parents house in the country. She did not leave however until the 5th September as the Pepys' other maid had quit and Paulina was doing all of the household work.
Throughout 1662 Samuel continues to make complaints about Paulina's behaviour. On the 11th June, Samuel complains that Paulina writes to their father unnecessarily about how ill their mother is, forcing him to leave London early. On the 14th October, Samuel says of his sister that he finds her 'so very ill-natured that I cannot love her, and she so cruel a hypocrite that she can cry when she pleases'.
In January 1663, Paulina returned to living with the Pepys', as they needed a maid and to use Paulina would 'save money flung away upon a stranger', despite the fact that neither Samuel or Elizabeth were particularly interested in having Paulina in their house again. In July 1663 Paulina was causing trouble in the Pepys household as she was causing difficulties between Lizzie Pepys and her companion Mary Ashwell, who had joined the Pepys household in March of that year.

In December 1663 Samuel comes to the conclusion that his sister 'grows now old, and must be disposed of one way or another'. In short, he decided it was time to find her a husband to get her out of his way. Samuel Pepys was responsible for providing the monetary dowry for his sister; the amount of which heavily affected the choice of husband. The first mention of the dowry states that Samuel is willing to give his sister 400l (5th October 1665). On the 14th January 1666, this is increased to 450l, in addition to 50l that she receives from her uncle; providing her with 500l in total.

On the 9th of February 1664 the first proposed husband mentioned in the diary is a Captain Grove. It appears that this match did not last long however, and in May it was decided that Paulina would move back to London to live with Samuel in the hope of finding her a husband.
The Pepys house in Brampton
The next potential husband mentioned is Philip Harman on the 21st July 1665. Philip Harman (1637-97) was an upholsterer in Cornhill and was distantly related to the Pepys' by marriage, Samuel described him as 'a most good-natured, and discreet man, and...very cunning'. He had only recently lost his wife at the time of his mention in the diary. When the topic of Paulina's dowry was discussed between Philip and Samuel, Samuel offered a dowry of 500l. However, Philip stated that he didn't need the money and that the money should be given to Paulina for her own personal use, perhaps to the amount of 200 or 300l. The match with Paulina was not successful, despite it continuing until March of 1666, and he was still unmarried in 1668.

On the 16th of February 1666, Samuel has the idea of a man named Benjamin Gauden as a match for his sister. He is a connection of Samuel's through the Navy as Benjamin was the son of the Navy victualler, Dennis Gauden. Initially Benjamin had expected a dowry of 1000l, however he and Samuel came to an agreement by which Samuel would give only half of that and the remainder would be taken yearly out of the amount he usually pays to Samuel. Therefore on the 2nd April 1666, it seemed set that Benjamin would marry Paulina. However after his meeting with Benjamin, Samuel then went to the London Exchange and was advised by a Mr Warren that such a marriage would not be acceptable and would cause only harm for both Samuel's and Benjamin's businesses. Samuel then saw fit to cancel the arrangement with Benjamin Gauden.

The next suitor for Paulina was proposed by Samuel and Paulina's father in March 1666. The gentleman in question is from Brampton - the Pepys' home in the country - rather that one of Samuel's connections from the city. The man was called Robert Ensum, who had 'seven score and odd pounds land per annum in possession, and expects 1000l in money by the death of an old aunt'. Samuel notes that Ensum has no close family, with both his parents being deceased and being an only child. Ensum asked for a dowry of 600l from Samuel for Paulina, as well as 100l upon the birth of Paulina and Ensum's first child. Despite the high cost of the dowry, Samuel seems to be set upon this match for his sister until Lizzie tells him her opinion of Ensum; that he is a 'drunken, ill-favoured, ill-bred country fellow', which makes Samuel decide to continue the match with Harman instead. It appears that Lizzie's opinion of Ensum was either ignored or untrue as in June 1666, Samuel's father gave his approval to the match with Ensum. Samuel would then give Ensum 500l and 100l upon the birth of the first child born to the couple. This match came to an abrupt end however, when on the 12th of December 1666 Robert Ensum died.

By 1667 it seems that Samuel was getting tired of his sister and was desperate to have her married; Samuel and his father searched for 'a husband for my sister, whereof there is at present no appearance; but we must endeavour to find her one now, for she grows old and ugly' (10 October 1667).

Just a month after this raw desperation, the man who would go on to marry Paulina was found in November. Samuel's father wrote to him to suggest a grazier named John Jackson, who was the executor of the estate of his cousin Robert Ensum - Paulina's former fiance. Samuel intended to give 500l as a dowry if Jackson was interested in the match. Jackson was set to inherit the estate of his uncle Luke Phillips, a lawyer who often acted for Samuel Pepys.

Richard Cumberland
In January 1668 Samuel writes that he would prefer his sister to marry Richard Cumberland (1631-1718). Cumberland was a Bishop and a philosopher who went to school with Samuel, who had 'a mighty mind to have a relation so able a man, and honest, and so old an acquaintance as Mr Cumberland'. However, as Mr Cumberland is not mentioned again, this idea may have stemmed only from Samuel's admiration of the man and not the practicality of finding his sister a husband.

It seems that Samuel asked his cousin Roger Pepys to review the estate of John Jackson in January 1668, which satisfied Samuel enough to allow him to approve of him as a husband for Paulina. In February, Paulina was given her portion of 600l, as well as to be given 60l annually.

On the 2nd March 1668, Samuel received the news that Paulina was married to John Jackson the previous Thursday. The couple went to live in Ellington, close to the Pepys home in Brampton.

It seems that after her marriage, the relationship between Samuel and Paulina slowly improves; in May 1668 Samuel notes that she 'growing fat, and, since being married, I think looks comelier than before: but a mighty pert woman she is, and I think proud, he keeping her mighty handsome, and they say mighty fond'. Which, although is not entirely complimentary, it is an improvement on the things he had previously said about his sister. The final mention of Paulina in the diary is that she is pregnant in May 1669, with her eldest son whom she will go on to name Samuel.
The relationship between Samuel and Paulina did improve as they got older, and Paulina's second son John became Samuel's protege and heir and was present at his uncle's death in 1703.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Samuel Pepys' illegitimate niece

Samuel Pepys' younger brother Thomas Pepys (1634-64) was a tailor like their father, he also had a speech impediment which made him awkward socially. This may have contributed to the fact that Thomas remained unmarried at the time of his early death. However, Thomas did have an illegitimate daughter.

Samuel Pepys

Thomas Pepys had gotten his maid Margaret, "an ugly jade" as Samuel Pepys describes in his diary, pregnant. Margaret in fact gave birth in the parish of St Sepulchre to twin girls named Elizabeth and Anne, however Anne died shortly after being born. The twins were given the surname of Taylor and their father was recorded as a John Taylor - probably using Thomas' trade as an alias for himself.
Elizabeth Taylor was placed in the household of a Mr Cave to be cared for.

Thomas Pepys died on the 15th March 1664 and his brother Samuel Pepys was informed of the existence of his niece on the 6th April 1664 by an old servant of his fathers called John Noble.

The child, Elizabeth Taylor, must have been born around August 1663 as it was told that Thomas had gotten Margaret pregnant on 'November 5th', and therefore the business of her care seems to have been an ongoing issue for some time. Thomas Pepys had firstly trusted a man called Mr Crawly with helping him with the matter, and who would take money from Thomas for the child. However, Thomas discovered that Mr Crawly had been taking the money for himself rather than for the child, and was requesting more and more money from him. Thomas found himself backed into a corner, as he was not well off financially, and therefore turned to John Noble for help.
With John Noble's help, Thomas' first idea was to go to "the other side of the water" and pay a poor woman who would be willing to take the child in. They did go but did not go through with this plan as John Noble pointed out that if the child's mother Margaret did in the future want to see her child, if they could not produce the child to show her, Thomas could be accused of murder.
A poor pensioner from the parish of St Bride's named Mr Cave was found to be willing to take the child into his care, for the price of 5l and he was to keep the child without future demand for money. However, as the parish was already a poor one and Mr Cave had brought another child into it, that wasn't his own, he was sent "to the Counter", meaning prison, for adding more financial burden upon the parish. Mr Cave then wrote to Thomas Pepys from prison, begging him to help him get released. It seems that Thomas did indeed help Cave as he was released from prison soon after. Once released, he asked Thomas for 5l more for the keeping of his daughter Elizabeth, which he gave to him. Thomas entered into a bond with Cave of 100l to secure 'John Taylor' from 'all trouble, or charge of meat, drink, clothes, and breeding of Elizabeth Taylor'. It was Noble who gave Thomas the money to pay the bond, and will also pay him a futher 20s.

After the death of Thomas, Mr Cave then tried to get money for the child from Thomas' parents, with Samuel himself then becoming involved. Samuel did not want his parents to have to pay for the child, and used the ambiguity of their parentage to his advantage. There was only a very small number of people who could prove that Thomas had been the father.
It appears that John Noble later chose to support Mr Cave's claim rather than that of Samuel Pepys concerning payments towards the child, and that if the matter was brought to court, he would bear witness for Mr Cave. As there were witnesses who could attest to the fact that Thomas Pepys had admitted to them that the twins were his; a Mr Randall, who was a carpenter, and his wife, as well as the midwife who attended Margaret had all heard from Thomas himself that the children were his and he had told them the circumstances of the conception.

Samuel Pepys was angry about the whole situation and refused to pay any of his own money for the child. Samuel used the fact that the child had been christened with the surname 'Taylor' to argue that there was no real proof that the child was his brother's and therefore the Pepys family were under no financial obligation to the child. Samuel and his father were both 'vexed to think what a rogue my brother was in all respects'. Samuel had no concern for the child that was his niece and saw the situation as just another problem caused by his brother. Thomas Pepys had also left at his death a number of debts, which Samuel had to deal with.

There is no further mention of Elizabeth Taylor or what happened to her after the 25th August 1664. It can be surmised that neither Samuel nor his parents paid any money towards the child's upbringing.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Bounteous Buckingham

The festive period of 1507 was a time of great extravagance - and food - for the household of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham (1478-1521). Edward Stafford was the nephew of Queen Elizabeth of York through her younger sister Katherine, and was therefore a first cousin of King Henry VIII.

The Christmas period of 1507 was celebrated by the Stafford family at their manor of Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire. Christmas Day saw the Duke host 299 people for dinner, and even more astoundingly hosted 459 people on Epiphany Day on the 6th January 1508. For this extravagant feasting and hospitality shown by the Duke, he was named 'Bounteous Buckingham'.

Edward Stafford 3rd Duke of Buckingham 1520.jpg
Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Christmas Day 1507 saw the Duke entertain 182 strangers, with 176 in attendance for supper in the evening - this number is in addition to the Duke's family and household members.
In attendance;
95 Gentry, 107 Yeoman, 97 Grooms attended Dinner
84 Gentry, 114 Yeoman, 92 Grooms attended Supper 

Food eaten: 4 swans, 4 geese, 5 suckling pigs, 1 carcass and seven rounds of beef, 9 carcasses of mutton, 4 pigs, 1 1/2 calves, 14 capons, 18 chickens, 21 rabbits, 1 peacock, 3 mallards, 5 widgeons, 12 teals, 3 woodcocks, 22 syntes, 12 large birds, 400 hens eggs, 2 dishes of butter, 10 flagons of milk, 1 flagon of rum, 2 flagons of frumety, and herbs. 

Drink consumed: 11 bottles and 3 quarts of Gascony wine, 1½ pitchers of Rhenish wine, ½ pitcher Malvoisey and 171 flagons and 1 quart of ale.

Thornbury Castle
On the 6th of January the Feast of the Epiphany was celebrated with the grand total of 459 people present. The majority of those in attendance being strangers whom the Duke had opened his home to; 319 at dinner and 279 at supper. Due to the huge number of people attending the feasts, the Duke of Buckingham brought in two extra cooks from Bristol to cope with the demand.
In attendance; 
134 Gentry, 188 Yeomen, 197 Grooms attended Dinner
126 Gentry, 176 Yeomen, 98 Grooms attended Supper

The guest list: The Duke's sister Lady Anne with fifteen attendants, Robert Poyntz with nine, Edmund Gorges with seven, John Rodney and six, Maurice Berkeley and nine, Richard Berkeley and five, James Berkeley and three, Thomas Welsh and three, Richard Frye (duke's cousin) and three, William Kingston and three, Doctor Thower and four, two Auditors and five, Robert Peverell and two, Humphrey Blount and two, John Burrell and two, Edward Garth and two. Bailiff of Hatfield Broadoak, and two. Bailiff of Oakham, and two. The Bailiff of Navisby, the Bailiff of Rowell, two of the Duke's tenants of Penshurst, one of Blechingley, Hugh Boughey and two, William Kemys, Thomas Morgan and three, William Morgan, the Receiver of Newport and two, two men in service to the Lord of Newport, twelve in service to the Lord of Brecon with ten attendants, chaplain John Barton, eighteen singers and nine chapel boys, the Receiver of Surrey and Kent and three, three tenants of the Lord of Brecon, the vicar of Christchurch and two, Henry Dunstan, the Abbot of Kingswood and four, a hermit, a bondman, a joiner, a brickmaker, and embroiderer with two assistants, a goldsmith from Bristol and two hardwaremen, as well as 42 people from the town and 95 from the country.

Food eaten on Epiphany; 678 loaves of bread, 2 manchets*, 36 rounds of beef, 12 sheep, 2 calves, 4 pigs, 1 dried ling, 2 salt cod, 2 hard fish, 1 salt sturgeon, 3 swans, 6 geese, 6 suckling pigs, 10 capons, 1 lamb, 2 peacocks, 2 herons, 22 rabbits, 18 chickens, 9 mallards, 23 widgeons, 18 teals, 16 woodcocks, 20 snipes, 9 dozen large birds, 6 dozen small birds, 3 dozen larks, 9 quail, 1/2 fresh salmon, 1 fresh cod, 4 dogfish, 2 tench, 7 small beams, 1/2 fresh conger, 21 small roaches, 6 large fresh eels, 10 small whitings, 18 flounders, 100 lampreys, 3 plaice, 400 eggs, 24 dishes of butter, 15 flagons of milk, 3 flagons of cream, 2 gallons of frumenty and 200 oysters.

Drink consumed; 8 gallons and 6 pitchers of wine, 259 flagons and 3 quarts of ale, 33 pottles** and 1 pitcher and 1 quart of Gascony wine, four pitchers and a half of Malvoisey wine, 7 pitchers of Rhenish wine, 1 pitcher of Ossey wine.

Also used was; 8 prickets***, 20 quarriers, 9 sises, 46/5 of candle, 10 loads of fuel, 12 quarters of charcoal, hay and litter for 49 of the Duke's horses as well as 62 horses of the Duke's attendants.

The entertainment which was enjoyed during these great feasts included the Duke's own household members such as minstrels, an idiot and a bear. Also, he made payments for two minstrels, six trumpeters, four waits from Bristol and four players sent by the Duke's brother-in-law the Earl of Northumberland from Writhill. It is also likely there were harpists and wrestlers present.

*A manchet is a loaf of the finest white bread, weighing 6oz

**Pottles were a quantity of two quarts

***Prickets were spikes used to hold candles




Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Murderous duel of Cavendish servants

About the year 1570, Henry Cavendish (1550-1616), the eldest son of Bess of Hardwick (1527-1608), wrote to his mother and stepfather George Talbot (1528-90) concerning an incident which had occurred between two members of his household. 
Henry Cavendish had married in 1568 to Grace Talbot (b.1560), the daughter of his stepfather George Talbot, and as the heir to his father William Cavendish who died when Henry was only seven years old, at this time Henry had his own household and was residing at Tutbury Castle.

The incident that took place, was a duel between two of Henry Cavendish's servants which resulted in the death of one at the hand of the other. It appears that the two servants involved had been with the family for a long time, as Henry had a strong affection for them as well as Bess herself knowing their characters well. The two servants were named Swenerton and Langeford; it was Swenerton who won the duel and killed Langeford. There was a family called Swynnerton from the town of the same name in Staffordshire, and a Langford family in Derbyshire. Therefore it would seem that they were locals to the area surrounding Tutbury Castle who went to work there.

Henry Cavendish wrote a letter to his mother Bess of Hardwick the day after the duel had happened between his servants. Bess then forwarded the letter to her husband George Talbot, with the instruction that it be returned to her. The fact that Henry waited an entire day before writing to his mother about the matter, which could have caused a scandal against the family, is surprising. As Swenerton, despite being pursued, was not yet caught and had indeed been permitted to flee in the first place, along with the blatant affection that Henry Cavendish felt for him, it is entirely possible that Henry Cavendish was perhaps trying to help Swenerton to escape the law, or at least delay it.

To my Lady.
To my lorde of some affecte
to my Lady
Maye yt please your Honor, I thought yt good to let your Ladyship vnderstande of a mysfortune that happened in my howse. On thursday at nyght last at supper ij of my men fell owt abowte some tryflynge woordes and to all theyr felloes iudgementes that harde theyr iangelynge, wear made good ffrendes agayne, and went and Laye togeether that nyghte, for they had byn bedfelloes of longe before, and loved one thother very well as every boddye tooke yt in the howse. On ffryday mornynge very early, by breake of daye they wente forthe, by name Swenerton, and Langeford with ij swordes a peece, as the sequele after showed, and in the fyeldes foughte together, and in fyghte, Swenerton shlewe Langeford, to my great greyfe booth for the sodeyne deathe of the one, and for the vtter dystructyon of the tother whom I loved very well. Good Madam let yt not trowble you in any thynge, we are mortall, and borne to many and strange adventures, and thearfore must temper owr myndes to bear shuche burthens as shall be by God layd on owr shoulders. My greattest greyffe, and so I iudge yt wyll be some trowble to your Ladyship that yt shoulde happen in my howse alas madam what coulde I dooe with yt, altogether not once suspectynge any thynge betwyxte them. I haue byn ryghte sorofull full for yt, and yt hath trowbled and vexed me, more then in reason yt should haue donne a wyese man. I would to God I could forget that theyr never had byn any shuch matter. Vpon the facte donne I sent for Master Adderley, and vsed hys counsell in all thynges. Swenerton ffledde presently, and ys pursued but not yet harde of. Thus humbly cravynge your Ladyship's dayly blessynge I end, more then sadde to trowble your Ladyship thus longe with thys sorrofull matter. Tutbury thys present Saturday.
Your Ladyship's most bounden humble and obedyent sonne:
Henry Cavendyshe.

retarne thys

my Iuwell thys saterday at nyght I resauyed thys later meche to my greffe for the myshape yett was euer lyke that swenertone shulde comete some great fayte he was a vane lewe felow. fare well my deare harth your faythefoull wyffe

EShrouesbury

Saturday, 27 December 2014

So bring us ye olde figgy pudding

We Wish You A Merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And a happy New Year
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin.
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
Now bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring some out here.
Good tidings ...

For we all like figgy pudding,
For we all like figgy pudding,
For we all like figgy pudding,
So bring some out here.
Good tidings ...

And we won't go until we got some,
And we won't go until we got some,
And we won't go until we got some,
So bring some out here.





A 'figgy pudding' is now known simply as 'Christmas pudding'. The description of the pudding as 'figgy' refers to its appearance as being like the inside of a fig, meaning filled with dried fruit.
Recipe for 'Figgy Pudding' from Liber Cure Cocorum which was written c.1420.

For stondand fygnade.

Fyrst play þy water with hony and salt,
Grynde blanchyd almondes I wot þou schalle;
Þurghe a streynour þou shalt hom streyne,
With þe same water þat is so clene.
In sum of þe water stepe þou schalle
Whyte brede crustes to alye hit with alle;
Þenne take figgus and grynde hom wele,
Put hom in pot so have þou cele;
Þen take brede, with mylke hit streyne
Of almondes þat be white and clene;
Cast in þo fyggus þat ar igrynde
With powder of peper þat is þo kynde,
And powder of canel; in grete lordys house
With sugur or hony þou may hit dowce;
Þen take almondes cloven in twen,
Þat fryid ar with oyle, and set with wyn
Þy disshe, and florysshe hit þou myt
With powder of gynger þat is so bryt,
And serve hit forthe as I spake thenne
And set hit in sale before gode menne.