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Prior of Holy Island’s Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Holy Island
Relevant material from 1342 to 1537
Holy Island (or Lindisfarne) was historically the most significant of all the Durham cells, and one of the oldest Christian sites in Northumbria. Given by St. Oswald to St. Aidan as the seat of his new bishopric in 634, it had also been the seat of St. Cuthbert, and hence of the Community of St. Cuthbert, from which the Priory, City and Bishopric of Durham were all derived.

Sacrist of Coldingham’s Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Coldingham
Relevant material from 1363 to 1367
Coldingham had been the site of a famous Anglo-Saxon monastery, which was re-founded by 1139 following grants to Durham Priory from the Kings of Scots. Wars between the English and the Scots led to disputes over control of the monastery, which ended with Durham’s loss of control (to Dumferline) in 1462.

Master of Farne’s Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Farne
Relevant material from 1432 to 1537
Great Farne Island was famous as the hermit retreat for St Cuthbert, and from the mid-12th century provided a semi-ermitic life for one or two monks from Durham.

Prior of Finchale’s Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Finchale
Relevant material from 1365 to 1529
Originally founded as a hermitage by St. Godric in the early 12th century and bequeathed to Durham priory when he died, Finchale became one of the richest of the cells and a place where Durham monks frequently took retirement or holidays.

Master of Jarrow’s Accounts (1313-1314)

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Jarrow
Relevant material from 1313 to 1314
Founded in 685 as part of the famous twin monastery of Wearmouth, it was famous as the home of the Venerable Bede (c.637-735).

Master of Jarrow’s Accounts (1402 - 1537)

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Jarrow
Relevant material from 1402 to 1537
Founded in 685 as part of the famous twin monastery of Wearmouth, it was famous as the home of the Venerable Bede (c.637-735).

Prior of Lytham’s Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Lytham
Relevant material from 1346 to 1534
Lytham Priory was founded on the north bank of the River Ribble between 1189 and 1194, as a result of a gift from Richard Fitz Roger, a local magnate. It was a relatively prosperous cell that, at times, had a rather mixed relationship with its mother house and with local landowners.

Prior of Stamford's Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Stamford
Relevant material from 1383 to 1533
The Priory of St. Leonard outside Stamford was in existence by 1146; it may have been founded by Durham Priory out of a desire for a cell south of the Trent.

Master of Wearmouth’s Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Wearmouth
Relevant material from 1362 to 1534
Founded by Benedict Biscop in 674, Wearmouth had been Bede’s first monastery. Along with Jarrow, it was re-founded ca. 1075, having previously succombed to Viking attacks. In the later Middle Ages it was a small and rather impoverished cell.

Durham Priory Hostillar's Accounts (1302-1529)

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Obedientaries' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Durham Priory
Relevant material from 1302 to 1529
The chief responsibility of the Hostillar was for the welfare of guests. Because he derived part of his income from his lordship of the manor of Elvethall, which was in the parish of St. Oswald’s Elvet, he makes a number of contributions to the parish Boy Bishop known as the ‘Bishop of Elvet’.

Durham Priory Hostillar''s accounts survive from 1302-1529, but only 1348-1481 contain relevant REED material (one or two membranes, total length of complete rolls 254-1503 mm., width 182-315 mm). Further information may be found in the introduction and textual notes.

Durham Priory Hostillar's Account (1300-1500)

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Obedientaries' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Durham Priory
Relevant material from 1300 to 1500
Hostillar's Account

Durham Priory Cellarer's Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Obedientaries' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Durham Priory
Relevant material from 1443 to 1444
The Cellarer’s main responsibility was to procure food.

Durham College Oxford Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Priors' or abbots' accounts
Jurisdiction: SchoolDocument category: Accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Durham Priory
Relevant material from 1399 to 1402
Durham Priory began to send monks to study at Oxford in the late thirteenth century, but did not found its own college there until 1381, when the initiators of the foundation were Prior Robert Walworth and the dying Bishop Thomas Hatfield. Durham College prospered both academically and financially and became the forerunner of the present Trinity College; Dobson estimates that nearly half of all Durham monks studied there in the last 150 years of the priory’s history, and while this is an exaggeration, its educational importance to the Priory was clearly very great (Dobson, Durham Priory: 1400-1450 [London: Cambridge University Press, 1973], 343-359). We are grateful to Alan Piper for access to his unpublished detailed figures for each decade, which show that between 22 and 34 percent of all Durham monks who were alive at any one time had studied or were studying at Durham College).

Because Durham College had no land, derived its income only from appropriated churches and was expected to maintain eight monks and eight secular scholars, together with all the buildings, books etc. that they needed, it was usual to keep the mother-house’s financial demands on it to a minimum. It is therefore surprising that its only two contributions to the Almonry Bishop of Durham date from the brief period when it was in financial difficulty.

Durham Priory Hostillars\' Accounts

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Jurisdiction: MonasticDocument category: Obedientiaries\' accounts
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Durham Priory
Relevant material from 1348 to 1481
The chief responsibility of the Hostillar was for the welfare of guests.1 Because he derived part of his income from his lordship of the manor of Elvethall, which was in the parish of St. Oswald’s Elvet, he makes a number of contributions to the parish Boy Bishop known as the ‘Bishop of Elvet’.

Durham Parishes and Borough Court Records

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Jurisdiction: ParishDocument category: Churchwardens\' accounts
Jurisdiction: ParishDocument category: Parish registers
Jurisdiction: CivicDocument category: Borough civil court books (eg, mayors\' court or leet books)
From region: County DurhamFrom place: City of Durham
Relevant material from 1395 to 1642
The document contains records from Durham, including St. Nicholas’ Church Parish Register; Borough of Crossgate court records; St. Giles’ Church Grassmen’s Accounts; and from St. Giles’ Church Parish Register. The Crossgate Borough court records contain records of lights carried in the Corpus Christi procession. The Grassmen\'s Accounts include musical accompaniment to dung-spreading.

Durham Priory Locelli

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Jurisdiction: DiocesanDocument category: Cathedral memoranda and correspondence
From region: County DurhamFrom place: Durham Priory
Relevant material from 1237 to 1507
The designation locelli (from Latin locellus, lit. ‘a little place’) originally referred to boxes or chests in which important documents were stored. Now referring to a category of important Priory documents, the Durham locelli contain several fascinating records for ‘performance’ from pre-Reformation Durham. For example, there is a very early record of the presumed death of a tight-rope walker who apparently fell from the towers of Durham Cathedral! This appears in Durham Priory Locelli VI:20, under the 1237 ‘Objections of King Henry III to the Election of Prior Thomas Melsonby as Bishop’ (DUL Loc.VI:20). Among other accusations, the king was accusing the prior of manslaughter by (apparently) having let the performer attempt such a dangerous act on his cathedral church.

Other valuable records include:

• a letter of King Edward III of 1372, written to the Prior and convent of Durham, requesting prayers and processions to assure success in his proposed campaign against the King of France (Loc.I:55);

• a record of a complaint made by the priory following a Benedictine visitation in the last decades of the fourteenth century (Loc:XXVII). In it, the monks complain that minstrels and others (who were presumably performing in the Prior’s Hall) are being allowed to use the privies in the building where the brothers are eating;

• from 1394, there is a letter from Bishop Walter Skirlaw to the Prior, giving instructions for religious processions during a time of war (Loc.XVII:5); in this case, King Richard II had embarked for Ireland towards the end of September of 1394 in order to quell rebellion;

• sometime around 1435, the Archbishop of York, John Kempe, wrote a very disconsolate letter to Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham, commanding processions and other penitential acts (Loc.:XVII.21); in this document, reference England’s recent troubles may be an allusion to the Burgundians’ desertion of their alliance with England in September 1435, when the Archbishop had himself presided over the unsuccessful English negotiating team;

• Loc.XVII:15 contains a comperta (a list of findings) made by the Bishop after his visitation of Durham Priory. Here the monks complain that visiting lords should help provide for their own performers (minstrels, acting troupes, etc.), rather than relying on the meagre provisions of the priory;

• Loc.XIII:22 contains a payment to ‘minstrels’ by the priory;

• Loc.XX:21 is a letter dated 20th October, 1452, from the Bishop of Durham to the Prior, written in time of plague and commanding processions and other penitential acts;

• Loc.XXVII:29 tells us a bit more about church drama in Durham in the period: it contains a list of petitions dating from May, 1464, and notes, among other things, that the Sub-Prior should ‘be the keeper of the chalices and missals pertaining to liturgical plays’;

• an inventory of the Prior’s of 1464-5 lists payment to ‘minstrels’ and other servants (Loc. XVIII:110):

• Loc.XVII:38 contains yet another letter from the Bishop of Durham (in this case Lawrence Booth; 1457-76) to the Prior, requesting processions in time of trouble; in this case, the Bishop relays a papal request for processions in support of a proposed crusade to the Holy Land (1465);

• finally, an inventory of 17th September, 1507 (Loc.XXXVII:10) containing record of a payment to a minstrel named ‘Craykke’.

The locelli represent a category of document of medieval origin, though somewhat modified in modern times. It consists of a variety of papers that are grouped roughly according to subject matter, though with occasional deviations; thus most of the requests for processions are in Loc.XVII, some documents connected with visitations appear under Loc.XXVII, and wills of secular people are in Loc.XXXVII. A brief calendar, available in the Search Room of the Palace Green Library in Durham, was searched for any document that might contain anything relating to performance. All documents that might possibly contain any relevant were then read in detail.

These pre-pub records have been made available by the REED: Durham editors John McKinnell and Mark Chambers. We are grateful to Durham Cathedral and Durham University Libraries for making these documents available to us.

Percy Family Accounts

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Jurisdiction: FamilyDocument category: Household accounts
From region: Percy Family RecordsFrom place: Alnwick, Northumberland
Relevant material from 1575 to 1642
Accounting documents containing dramatic records extend from 1575-1642 at the Archives of the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle, Northumberland. Moved to the Castle from Syon House, Middlesex, they indicate that the Percies during this time supported performing arts generously. The family paid musicians, travelling players, jesters, and purchased musical instruments. Their entourage included ‘Iacomo the Italyan’ who performed a ‘comody’.

Most of the MSS are paper rolls, the shortest two sheets, and the longest 22 sheets. All sheets are attached serially. Although some sheets are torn, most are clear and legible. Accounting time periods, usually from January or February of one year to January of February of the next, are defined at the heads of the rolls. The rolls are divided into different paragraphs, labelled ‘Stables’, ‘Liveries’, ‘Rewards’, ‘Foreign payments’, etc. The sections ‘Rewards’ and ‘Foreign payments’ are the most likely to include dramatic records, but these references can occur almost anywhere. English predominates, but occasional Latin phrases occur as well.

The draft account booklets are less straightforward than the rolls and present many complications. Writing in the drafts is less legible, and there are many cancellations and corrections. For the booklets, beginning and ending dates within the year are difficult to ascertain. Fortunately, all the accounting documents included in this posting are available in microfilms listed in British Manuscripts Project: A Checklist of the Microfilms Prepared in England and Wales for the American Council of Learned Societies 1941-1945, compiled by Lester K. Born (Washington: The Library of Congress, 1955).

However, after the passage of over 70 years, most Checklist shelf designations for Percy accounting documents are incorrect. Updated shelf designations and descriptions for the selected records are furnished here, thanks to Dr James Gibson. He was assisted by the Duke of Northumberland’s Archivist, Mr Christopher Hunwick, and his staff. Support for their work was contributed by REED-NE and Point Park University.

The years covered by these dramatic records, 1575-1642, coincide with the times of the 12th, 13th, and 14th earls of Northumberland, all of whom lived in the South. Their turbulent lives were frequently associated with lethal violence. For instance, the 12th Earl, Henry Percy (circa 1532-21 June 1585), became implicated in plots to free Mary and was sent to the Tower on 12 December 1584. There he died by murder or suicide.

Most of the dramatic records are associated with the 13th earl, Henry A. Percy (May 1564-5 November 1632), whose principal residence was always Petworth in West Sussex. [...] The 14th earl, Algernon Percy (29 September 1602 - 13 October 1668) sought compromise between Charles I and Parliament. But for REED purposes he is known for attending plays and buying playbooks in 1638 or early 1639 (see U.I.5/50 sheet [3] and Explanatory Note).

Since the Percy family travelled widely and owned property throughout England, the locality of any given performance or payment is not always easily definable. However, historical context can give some indications of place. For instance, the family was required to stay in the South from 1574 or 1575, and so most of the dramatic records after this date are probably associated with this region. Other records include clear local references, such as the payment to Sir Francis Vere’s players in Holland (U.I.3/2, sheet [4]). Further study may help identify additional specific localities.

-- Robert Alexander, 2018

Aberford: Court of the Star Chamber: Silltoe vs. Thomson, etc.

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Jurisdiction: Star chamberDocument category: N/A
From region: Yorkshire, WestFrom place: Aberford, Yorkshire, West Riding
Relevant material from 1620 to 1621
Aberford: Court of the Star Chamber: Shilleto vs. Thomson, etc., 1620-21. The record comes from a case brought by Thomas Shilleto against Thomson, Pollard, Lofte, Dixon and others, accusing them of composing verses that denigrated Shilleto in his capacity as High Constable of Barkston Ash and, as a result, discredit him in the eyes of other officers of justice. The case also makes reference to Sherburn in Elmet, South Milford, Ferrybridge, Knottingley, and Pontefract.

Aldborough Records

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From region: Yorkshire, WestFrom place: Aldborough, West Riding
Relevant material from 1585 to 1594
The village of Aldborough is located about 18.5 miles northwest of York. As an ancient parish, it included two townships in the old North Riding of Yorkshire, six in the West Riding, including the three that appear in the records: Aldborough, Boroughbridge, and Roecliff. Relevant REED material appears in the Manorial Court Roll for 1585 (held in the National Archives), the Diocesan Court Book for 1590-1 (Borthwick Institute) and the Diocesan Court Cause Papers for 1593-4 (Borthwick Institute).

Beckwith of Selby, Travel Expenses, Steward's Accounts

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Jurisdiction: FamilyDocument category: Household accounts
From region: Yorkshire, WestFrom place: Beckwith of Selby
Relevant material from 1551 to 1555
Sir Leonard Beckwith of Selbywas, according to W. Wilberforce Morrell "one of those enterprising individuals who elevated their social position and built up their houses on the ruins of the monasteries" (The History and Antiquities of Selby (Selby, 1867), 134.In 1541 Selby Abbey had been granted to Sir Ralph Sadler, who received licence from the king in the same year to transfer the manor to Leonard Beckwith. Selby was located on the River Ouse about 14 miles south of York. Taking advantage of his offices at St. Mary's Abbey in York, Fountains, and Selby and of his position as one of the commissioners "for ordering of bells, chalices, and other church goods" (Ibid.) for Yorkshire, Beckwith steadily amassed considerable property in Selby and elsewhere in the county. He served as High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1550, the same year in which he was knighted by King Edward VI, and he died in 1557.The terms of his will suggest that he remained faithful to Roman Catholicism throughout his years of service to three Protestant regimes.

Methley Records

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Jurisdiction: FamilyDocument category: Household accounts
Jurisdiction: FamilyDocument category: Journals/Diaries
From region: Yorkshire, WestFrom place: Methley
Relevant material from 1443 to 1614
Methley: Records of Performance

The ancient village of Methley and, just to the west, Methley Manor were located about eight miles southeast of Leeds near the confluence of the River Aire and the River Calder. The records of performance in the manor house, home of Sir Robert Waterton, include a celebration of Hogmanay during the Christmas season of 1443-1444 and rewards to travelling musicians. For the village of Methley, we have evidence of several performances of a parish play and a rush-bearing at Whitsuntide in 1614. In both cases, we are fortunate that these records survive, for they are found in sources largely devoted to other matters: Richard Whitwood's manorial account and Richard Shann's personal miscellany or commonplace book.

Document Descriptions and Notes appear after the transcriptions of the records. The transcriptions have been marked up in accordance with the following editorial procedures:

Italics mark extensions of manuscript abbreviations.
A horizontal line | marks the end of a folio or page.
Square brackets [ ] set off text crossed through or otherwise cancelled. Caret brackets < > set off damaged text.
Asterisks set off material in the left margin.
Superscript circles set off material in the right margin.

DISCLAIMER: The material below is offered in pre-publication form. It has not received editorial attention from REED’s staff paleographers and Latinists, nor have the notes and other editorial apparatus been checked for completeness and accuracy.

Slingsby Household Accounts

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Jurisdiction: FamilyDocument category: Household accounts
From region: Yorkshire, WestFrom place: Slingsby of Red House
Relevant material from 1610 to 1628
The Slingsby family was established in the Knaresborough area from the fourteenth century, having the manor and extensive estates at Scriven, and property elsewhere in the West Riding. In the sixteenth century they also acquired the manor house at Scagglethorpe, commonly called "The Red House" and the nearby manors of Moor Monkton and Wilstrop. The original Red House was replaced in the early seventeenth century by the one whose remains partially survive, having been partly demolished and refaced in the nineteenth century, converted into a school in 1902, and in the present century adapted again as private dwellings.

The builder of the new house was Sir Henry Slingsby, knight (1560-1634), who lived there with his wife, Frances Vavasour (d. 1611), by whom he had 14 children. [...]

The accounts also document expenses at private houses: Walton in August 1614, Bishopthorpe at Christmas that year, and Hickleton in January 1620-21. Walton was probably the house of Sir Henry’s daughter Alice and son-in-law Thomas Waterton 3 miles south east of Wakefield; the house of Sir John Jackson, where Sir Henry also stayed in 1614, and in January 1620-21, is probably at Hickleton, 6 miles north west of Doncaster. The grand Elizabethan house there, built by the lawyer Sir Francis Rodes for his son Peter, was in the ownership of the Jackson family by 1606. It was replaced by a new hall in the 1740s; Bishopthorpe was probably the Archbishop of York’s seat, 2½ miles south of York.

These transcriptions have been prepared by Sylvia Thomas and Ted McGee and appear with the permission of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society and Special Collections, Leeds University Library.

Wentworth Household Records

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Jurisdiction: FamilyDocument category: Correspondence
From region: Yorkshire, WestFrom place:
Relevant material from 1612 to 1638
WENTWORTH HOUSEHOLD.
Edited by Sylvia Thomas.

These transcriptions appear with the permission of Sheffield City Council, Libraries, Archives and Information: Sheffield Archives. WWM (Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments): reproduced with permission from The Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company and the Director of Communities, Sheffield City Council (the Wentworth Woodhouse papers have been accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government and allocated to Sheffield City Council).

INTRODUCTION:

Wentworth Woodhouse is in the parish of Wath-upon-Dearne, five miles from Rotherham and nine from Barnsley. It was the seat of the Wentworth family from the fourteenth century.

William Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse, baronet (1562—1614), ‘a wealthy Yorkshire landowner whose family had long been established in the West Riding, was lord of two manors and master of a yearly income of several thousand pounds. Something less than a nobleman, something greater than a country squire, he belonged to that rising aristocracy of wealth who counted themselves inferior to none. His wife [Anne] was the daughter and heiress of Sir Robert Atkinson of Stowell in Gloucestershire… Sir Robert had a house in London and it was here that his daughter gave birth to her son’ [Thomas, on 13 April 1593]. [Wedgwood, chapter 1]

Thomas Wentworth, first earl of Strafford (1593--1641), lord lieutenant of Ireland, was the second and eldest surviving son of William Wentworth. He was first elected to parliament in 1614, and again in 1620. His guiding belief was that there should be ‘a harmonious union betwixt the kinge, the nobles and Commons’ in order to achieve successful legislation (Cooper, Wentworth Papers, 153--5) but, as an opponent of the policies of the duke of Buckingham, he became allied to men hostile to the royal favourite.

Wentworth’s first wife Margaret died on 14 August 1622, and by 1624 he was looking for an heiress to be his new wife, eventually settling on Lady Arabella Holles (1608/9 – 1631), daughter of John Holles, first earl of Clare. They were married on 24 February 1624/5.

The influence of Buckingham, and of Sir John Savile, who was also hostile to Wentworth, resulted in the king’s decision to appoint him sheriff of Yorkshire in November 1625, so that he could no longer sit in Parliament. Over the next few years he continued to align himself with opponents of royal policy, refused to pay the forced loan raised to finance the war against France in 1626-7, and was imprisoned from June to December 1627.

Elected a knight of the shire again in 1628, he spoke in favour of the bill of right, whilst at the same time believing that only adequate financial resources would enable the king to govern in accordance with the law and tradition, a principle in which Wentworth had a profound belief. His moderation in opposition earned him elevation to the peerage as Baron Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse and baron of Newmarch and Oversley on 22 July 1628. This apparent change of sides was seen as controversial in Yorkshire.

After Buckingham’s death in August 1628 Wentworth was in December created Viscount Wentworth and on 25 December lord president of the north. He was successful in this office but ruthless in his methods, which made him a number of enemies.

His second wife died on 5 October 1631, and he was deeply affected, all the more because her family, with whom he was on poor terms, held him responsible. They had four children, three of whom survived. Wentworth married again in October 1632. His third wife was Elizabeth (c.1614 – 1688), daughter of Sir Godfrey Rodes of Great Houghton, Yorkshire. This marriage produced a daughter, Margaret (d. 1681).

On 12 January 1631/2 he was appointed lord deputy of Ireland, arriving in Dublin on 23 July 1633. Over the next six years he successfully and again ruthlessly exercised power on behalf of the king, increasing revenues for the crown, and also enriching himself, although opposing corruption. He again made powerful enemies. In August 1639 Charles I, whose government was under threat from Parliament and from the Scots covenanters, recalled Wentworth to England to become his chief councillor, making him in January 1639/40 lord lieutenant of Ireland and creating him earl of Strafford. On the illness of the earl of Northumberland, the official commander, Strafford was sent to lead the king’s forces in northern England in August 1640, but the situation was hopeless, and his authority declined rapidly. ‘Black Tom Tyrant’ was held responsible for the king’s disastrous policies and mistakes of the past ten years.

In November the Commons accused him of high treason and impeached him in the House of Lords. Strafford was so skilful in his own defence that the proceedings seemed likely to collapse, but the Commons passed a bill of attainder on 21 April 1641. In the face of intense public hysteria against him whipped up by his enemies the bill was passed and given assent by the king on 10 May (despite an earlier royal promise to save his life). He was beheaded on Tower Hill on 12 May 1641.

[SOURCES:
C.V.Wedgwood, Thomas Wentworth, First Earl of Strafford, 1593-1641: a Revaluation, London, 1961.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB): Thomas Wentworth.

J.P.Cooper, ed., Wentworth Papers, 1597-1628, Royal Historical Society, Camden Fourth Series, vol. 12, 1973.]


*The records are presented here in draft form and have not had final checking and editing for official publication by REED staff. Permission to cite this material must be sought from Sylvia Thomas.