Monday, July 27, 2009

Ignatius of Loyola Beatified

Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)

Ignatius Loyola was a prime mover in the Catholic counter-reformation, the Vatican's formal strategic reaction to the Lutheran-originated reformation of the church. Loyola was the main founder and first superior general of his religious order, the Society of Jesus, also called the Jesuits.

Ignatius was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609, and canonized (made a Saint) by Pope Gregory XV on March 13, 1622. These dates are on the Gregorian Calendar and would have been ten days out of sync with England’s calendar at the time.

Loyola is revered by many as a pious man of god. Perhaps there are just as many who despised him as a fanatical gatekeeper of ideology and dogma, a cold persecutor of religious dissenters, philosophers, Latina wise women, and anyone who may have bumped into things that go bump in the night. Loyola, himself harassed by the Spanish Inquisition, created in the Jesuits a vast intelligence operation that served as a model for modern intelligence services. In fact, many of the famous operatives in 20th-century military intelligence were directly influenced by Jesuit education.

In England, the fear of Jesuit plots drove Elizabeth I bonkers, and James I was also a frequent Jesuit target. (Note previous post.)


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thomas Harriot Views Moon Through Telescope

Thomas Harriot (1560-1621) was the significant catalyst of science in the English Renaissance. Harriot was a hands-on scientist where Bacon was mostly lofting thought balloons of theory and ideology.

It is Harriot, not Galileo, who gets the credit (proven by documents) as the first person to look at a celestial object through a telescope. Harriot studied our Moon a few months before the more famous Italian did. Harriot first aimed his Dutch-made telescope at the Moon on July 26th, 1609, and sketched his findings. The July 26 sketch is pictured below.

Thomas Harriot’s historic lunar sketch, dated July 26, 1609, shows the terminator line marking the boundary between day and night on the moon that day. The dark areas show Mare Crisium, Mare Tranquilitatis, and Mare Foecunditatis.

Harriot received his BA at Oxford in 1580, then taught mathematics. He accompanied Raleigh on the first Virginia expedition and was a resident of the famous Roanoke Colony. While Harriot’s associates often got in trouble and ended up in the Tower --- or dead (Raleigh, Earl of Northumberland, Marlowe), Harriot managed to stay out of trouble. Perhaps because Harriot remained both low-key and well-off, his story has been eclipsed by the more dramatic tales of persecuted Galileo and martyred Bruno.

Thomas Harriot's map of the whole Moon circa 1610.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Earl of Worcester writes to Lord Treasurer Cecil

E. Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester

Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester (c.1568–1628) was an influential aristocrat and office holder in the reigns of both Elizabeth I and James I. Worcester was made Knight of the Garter in 1593. See Garter Knights roster here. Worcester was one of the investigators of the Earl of Essex after the failed rebellion of 1601. Elizabeth then favored him with Essex’ former position: Master of the Horse. The Stuart king appointed Worcester Keeper of the Great Park and, eventually, Lord Privy Seal.

In June 1603
Worcester was nominated custos rotulorum (keeper of the rolls) for Monmouthshire. In the 16th century this was the highest position within each county.
In Shakespeare’s play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, at Act I, sc. 1, Slender jokes about Shallow being a “ratolorum.’

SHALLOW: Ay, cousin Slender, and Custalorum.
SLENDER: Ay, and Ratolorum too.

On September 5, 1604, in spite of his personal preference for the Roman Catholic faith, Worcester was given a seat on a royal commission for the expulsion of the Jesuits; later he examined the conspirators of the "Gunpowder plot" in the Tower.

Edward Somerset became a patron of drama; in 1601, Worcester’s Men had comedian Will Kempe in its ranks. Worcester’s Men combined with the Earl of Oxford’s Men in 1602 and, due to Oxford’s successful petition. they were able to play the Boars Head Theatre. John Heywood’s controversial pamphlet, An apology for actors of 1612, was dedicated to Worcester.

Worcester’s letter to Cecil of July 24, 1609. is an interesting window into the times.

He discusses King James' annoyance at the slowness of letter carriers.
He discusses the interrogation of Mr. Strange, an accused Jesuit and Papist.
He relates the story of a stable fire that killed royal horse, and worried it might have been a Jesuit plot.
He calms down Robert Cecil, who was apparently upset at being called a fool... and worse.

The Earl of Worcester to the Lord Treasurer, July 24, 1609

"Your letter I received this day, being Tuesday, at 2 in the afternoon, whereby I found great laziness in the posts. The King was very inquisitive all the morning what might be the cause, examining the hours and miles, concluding it could be no other but the post was 'sonke.' I showed him your letter, wherewith he was well satisfied, saying there needed no dispatch. Not long after he would needs have me write concerning the examination of Strange, that you might be thoroughly resolved by his learned counsel of the state of that cause against your coming to Salisbury. His desire, as you know, is that he might be proceeded with not substantially, mentioning his priesthood or Jesuitical profession, but finding by his confession main points of treason to be his declared opinion; beside his flying from a direct answer to the interrogatories argues his treasonable heart. For example, at the first examination before the Lords, he confessed the King being excommunicated by the Pope, that it was lawful or at least a happiness for any that could light upon him to kill him. Being put from that by the grossness of his argument, he said it was the common opinion, but he would not be the doer of it. Now being urged to declare his opinion, he believes as the Church does; but being demanded what the Church holds in that point, he does not remember: which forcibly must needs be concluded that he thinks the Church holds so, and he is of the same mind, which no jury in the world will doubt to avow him a traitor. This proceeding of the Jesuit he merrily alludes to Peter's thrice denial of Christ, for three times he has refused directly to deliver his opinion, as bound in duty to his Sovereign. For the Venetian's cause he will make no judgment until he be advertised what success the confronting will produce: I mean of the priest and Dabscat.

Yesternight the King's stable fell on fire by negligence of a candle set on a post, which fell into the litter and burned the stable, 20 or 30 horse being in the stable. There miscarried but 4, and but 2 of them burnt to death, the other 2 unlike to recover. If our coach horses had miscarried, which were in the same place, we had made a short progress. I waited on the King as my duty was. He lost a pad horse, I lost another; he one hunting horse, I another; all our saddles both his and mine burnt, and the Queen's coach harness. While this tragedy was acting, it was a world to hear the report here. Some said it was a new Powder treason. An Englishman said a Scottish man was seen there with a link and he fired the stable. Some other said it was a device to set the stable on fire to draw all the guard and Court thither, that they might work some practice upon the King. But God be thanked, neither King, Queen or Prince slept the worse or even waked until the morning in due time.

One word more touching yourself. You take exceptions to be called 'fool,' and as it will be maintained, not only so but a parrot monger and a monkey monger and twenty other names; which fearing the issue of future inconvenience or challenge I will forbear to speak of any more."
Farnham, 24 July.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Letter from the Bishop of Limerick to the Earl of Salisbury (R. Cecil)

Bernard Adams (1566-1625) held the position of Anglican Bishop of Limerick from 1604–1625. Educated at Trinity College, Adams was a scholar and a liberal churchman. At that time in Ireland, the official Anglican hierarchy was in competition with Catholic priests and bishops who were legion throughout Ireland. Adams' letter to Cecil, on July 22, 1609, gives a remarkably humorous insight into these conditions.

1609, July 22.
"How 'tranquillous' this country is, there [are] none but know and 'infinite' rejoice at it. What certainty may be expected of the continuance, seeing many buzzing bees, crawling out of the old beehive of treasonous conspiracies, swarm here about daily, your watchful eye can easiest discern. Yet the multitude and presumption of 'mistary' priests (who, more than ever was usual, exercise all papal jurisdiction as confidently as if Italy were in Ireland: prescribe frequent masses almost openly: insolent pilgrimages of many thousands in an assembly, and some of them armed: procure secret offerings for unknown uses: publish toleration by suggestion of warrant from his Highness: proclaim penny pardons for sundry years past and to come: proscribe his Majesty in printed pamphlets to be no Christian), are prologues, as wisest prognosticators here affirm, of some consequences, the catastrophe whereof may prove a tragedy. These things I write but out of my study, and with silence pass them over, as being a mere divine and no politician, assuring myself that whilst the religious pillars of commonwealth stand, Holy Church can never miscarry. Therefore, fearing that these suspicions by the 'understandinger' sages may be called needless carefulness, I only solicit the all-ruling power for continual peace, and for your prosperity as one of the chiefest stays of true religious maintenance and the safety of God's saints. Limerick, July 22, 1609.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Federico Zuccaro, court artist, dies July 20, 1609

Federico Zuccaro (c.1543-1609), also spelled “Zuccari” and "Zucchero" was an Italian painter of the Mannerist school. Zuccaro got his training on various church projects throughout Italy. In 1574 he traveled to England, where he quickly earned commissions to paint the royalty and nobility of the Tudor Court. Of his proposed painting of Elizabeth I, we have only the sketch, seen below.

Zuccaro’s other commissions included Mary, Queen of Scots, Sir Nicholas Bacon, Sir Francis Walsingham, and Lord Admiral Howard.

One of Zuccaro’s most interesting legacies is his “Allegory of Calumny,” a recreation of a lost painting by the Greek master, Apelles, based on a description of that lost work in Lucian.

Zucarro's Calumny allegory

Calumny is like slander; it is said that this work got Apelles in trouble, and in similar fashion, got Zuccaro exiled from Rome.
There is also a 16th century engraving by Giorgio Ghisi of the Calumny of Apelles, and paintings by Mantegna and Boticelli. Apelles was the celebrated painter in ancient Greece. His painting of grapes was said to be so realistic that birds tried to eat the painted fruit. This anecdote is alluded to in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis (601-606):

“Even so poor birds, deceived with painted grapes,

Do surfeit by the eye and pine the maw;
Even so she languisheth in her mishaps
As those poor birds that helpless berries saw.

The warm effects which she in him finds missing
She seeks to kindle with continual kissing.”

Roman satirist Lucian gave the only eyewitness description of Apelles’ Calumny, from which the Renaissance painters managed their recreations, though mediated through Alberti (Leon Battista Alberti “On Painting” 1435):

“Invention is praised when one reads the description of Calumny which Lucian recounts was painted by Apelles. I do not think it alien to our subject. I will narrate it here in order to point out to painters where they ought to be most aware and careful in their inventions. In this painting there was a man with very large ears. Near him, on either side, stood two women, one called Ignorance, the other Suspicion. Farther, on the other side, came Calumny, a woman who appeared most beautiful but seemed too rafty in the face. In her right hand she held a lighted torch, with the other hand she dragged by the hair a young man who held up his arms to heaven. There was also a man, pale, ugly, all filthy and with an iniquitous aspect, who could be compared to one who has become thin and feverish with long fatigues on the fields of battle; he was the guide of Calumny and was called Hatred. And there were two other women, serving women of Calumy who arranged her ornaments and robes. They were called Envy and Fraud. Behind these was Penitence, a woman dressed in funeral robes, who stood as if completely dejected. Behind her followed a young girl, shameful and modest, called Truth. If this story pleased as it was being told, think how much pleasure and delight there must have been in seeing it painted by the hand of Apelles. [Alberti, On painting, Book 3]

The donkey-man is often described elsewhere as King Midas. This theme, Apelles allegory of calumny, was most famously painted by Botticelli, though only he portrays Envy, Malice, and Deceit as women.

An essay by modern author, Richard Dutton, “The Comedy of Errors and The Calumny of Apelles: An Exercise in Source” argues that the allegory of calumny as transmitted from Apelles, to Lucian, to-Alberti, to Boticelli, Zuccaro, and others, served as inspiration for the plot of Comedy of Errors.

The main point is that the ruler or judge is so overcome with bad information that his ears have grown ridiculously long. Slander is the enemy of Truth.

Federico Zuccaro, court artist, died July 20, 1609.
(Note, this date is by the Continental or Catholic Gregorian calendar, then 10 days out of sync with the British who were still using the Julian.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Castle Hedingham and Countess Oxford in 1609

Castle Hedingham in county Essex was the ancestral home of the de Vere family. It is the best-preserved Norman-era moated castle in Europe. The keep was built in the 12th century by Aubrey De Vere II.

Edward de Vere (1550-1604) was born there and spent a portion of his childhood in and around the imposing castle and estate.

In the 1580s-1590s a series of transactions saw the ownership of the castle and grounds leave the hands of the Earl of Oxford: first, in trust to the Queen, then to William Cecil, Lord Burghley, on behalf of Oxford’s three daughters by Anne Cecil: Elizabeth, Susan, and Bridget de Vere.

On July 8, 1609, Countess Elizabeth Trentham Oxford, the 17th Earl’s widow, signed papers that brought Castle Hedingham back into the family.

But first, some background:

1587, July 3: Oxford grants Castle Hedingham to the Queen with the stipulation that Elizabeth re-grant it to him and his three daughters; Oxford entered into a bond of £4000.

1587, October 6: a follow-up document records Oxford’s transfer of clear title to Castle Hedingham to the Queen.

1588, March 8: letter from Lord Burghley authorizing Castle
Hedingham to be brought “by extant” into the Queen’s possession to save it from ‘utter spoil’.

1591, November 25: Oxford transfers clear title to Hedingham and the manors of Hedingham, Shetleford, and Parkes to Lord Burghley and his heirs by fine.

1591, December 2: authorization for Oxford to alienate the manors
of Castle Hedingham and Gosfield to Lord Burghley and to Oxford's three daughters Elizabeth, Bridget, and Susan Vere.

1592, April 12: Oxford and his second wife, Elizabeth Trentham, transfer clear title to the manors of Castle Hedingham and Gosfield to Lord Burghley and his heirs and to Oxford's three daughters Elizabeth, Bridget, and Susan.

More detail about these transactions can be found on Nina Green’s website.

After 1592 the paper trail goes cold for some 17 years. At the time of this writing it is not clear to me who, if anyone, resided at Hedingham in the 1590s and the first decade of the 1600s. In 1609 we have records that indicate that Countess Elizabeth Trentham Oxford was endeavoring to purchase back the castle and manors of Hedingham on behalf of her son, Henry, the 18th Earl of Oxford.

A document from 1609 (no precise date) describes a private act of Parliament (HL/PO/PB/1/1609/7J1n33) allowing the sale of the manor of Bretts to help finance Elizabeth Trentham’s apparent 1609 repurchase of Castle Hedingham. (Essex Record Office
D/DRg 2/39):

Anno 7 Regni Jacobi
An Act for the sale of the manor of Bretts and farm of Playstowe in the county of Essex, parcel of the possessions of Henry, Earl of Oxenford, towards the repurchasing of the castle, manor, & parks of Hedingham in the same county, being the ancient inheritance and chief mansion-house of the Earls of Oxenford.
Document transcription (pdf file) by Nina Green.

However, there seems to have been an objection to this deal. From the Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-1610:

1609 - June 24. Eston Lodge. Sir Hen. Maynard to Salisbury. Trusts he will not disapprove of his not yielding to the Countess of Oxford's desire in the business of Herringham, though the young Earl, Mr. Trentham, his uncle, and the Countess herself, earnestly pressed his giving up the bargain. Web source here.

By “Herringham” is meant Hedingham. The “young Earl” refers to Henry, the 18th earl of Oxford (age 16). "Mr. Trentham" is Francis Trentham, Countess Elizabeth’s brother. On the face of it, this note appears to indicate that Henry Maynard was trying to squash the proposed deal.

Who was Sir Henry Maynard?
Sir Henry Maynard (1547-1610), an English politician and bureaucrat, was secretary to Lord Treasurer Burghley. By virtue of his position he was able to take advantage of troubled assets and gradually became a major landowner, especially in Essexshire. He also developed a reputation as a moneylender (see An Elizabethan: Sir Horatio Palavicino - by Lawrence Stone.) Maynard also served terms as MP for St. Albans in the parliaments of 1586, 1588, 1592 and 1597. In 1603 Maynard was High Sheriff of Essex and was knighted by Elizabeth’s. In July 1603, James I appointed Maynard as Deputy Lieutenant for Essex.

What and where is Eston Lodge?
Eston Lodge is now called Easton Lodge, near Great Dunmow, Essex, only a few miles from Castle Hedingham. Sometime around 1590, Elizabeth I granted the 10,000 acre Manor of Estaines to Henry Maynard as a reward for his duties as Private Secretary to the Lord Treasurer. Maynard demolished an existing hunting lodge and constructed a vast, “H”-shaped mansion. In 1847, almost the entire Elizabethan part of the mansion was destroyed by fire. The property was rebuilt and is now a tourist destination.

Maynard wrote his will on August 20, 1609. He died in 1610 and was buried at Little Easton, Essex. His epitaph in Little Easton Church reads: “Here resteth, in assured hope to rise in Christ, Henry Maynard, Knight, descended of the ancient family of Maynard, in the county of Devon; and Dame Susan, his wife, daughter and one of the coheirs of Thomas Pierson, Esq. to whom she bear eight sonnes and two daughters. He ended this life the 11th of May, 1610; his lady, six sonnes, and two daughters then living.”

Thanks to research (conducted independently) by Jeremy Crick and Christopher Paul, I learned that an additional detail of the Hedingham saga is found in Philip Morant's The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex (1763-68). I looked at Morant’s History and have transcribed the full passage, presented here on the web for the first time:

“For Edward, the 17th Earl of Oxford, having taken to his second wife Elizabeth daughter of Thomas Trentham of that place, Esq; her brother Francis Trentham Esq; advanced ten thousand pounds to clear incumbrances on the Oxford Estates. In consideration whereof, 8 July 1609, by deed inrolled, and recovery suffered pursuant thereto, the three daughters of the said Earl Edward, by his first wife, with their husbands, William Earl of Derby, Francis Lord Norris, and Philip Earl of Montgomery, by the appointment of the forementioned Elizabeth Vere Countess dowager of Oxford, conveyed the Honour of Castle Hedingham to her for life, remainder to her son Henry Earl of Oxford for his life, and to his sons in taile male; remainder to Trustees to perform contingent estates, remainder to Francis Trentham Esq. brother of the said Countess, and his heirs for ever.”
[From Philip Morant's ‘The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex (1763-68)]

It is not entirely clear what document Morant consulted for these details. Other documents do not support the notion that Francis Trentham paid out ten thousand pounds to clear Oxford’s incumbrances. However, the amounts that Francis Trentham did forward on behalf of his sister and brother in law do add up to significant sums, and perhaps the ten thousand is a fair aggregate amount.

Did the Countess move to Hedingham in 1609? Well, she did sell King’s Place (Hackney) in spring 1609 to Fulke Greville. But the little evidence we have suggests that the Countess continued living in London, at Cannon Row.
The Countess’ letter to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, Lord High Treasurer of England, and the Earl of Northampton, Lord Privy Seal, dated July 22, 1611, is signed by her:

"In the meantime myself for this and sundry other your honourable favours shall now and ever rest exceedingly bound unto your Lordships, and thus craving pardon for this my boldness I humbly take my leave from my house in Cannon Row this 22nd of July 1611. Your Lordships’ assured friend, Elizabeth Oxenford"

Canon Row, in the White Hall / Downing Street area of London, abuts Derby Gate. This, I think, was the location of the Derby House, home of the 6th Earl of Derby, William Stanley, and his wife, Elizabeth de Vere, daughter of Edward Earl of Oxford. Apparently the older Oxfords were comfortable staying with the next generation. Earl Edward penned a letter in 1596 from Canon Row, which ends:

"...Thus taking my leave from Cannon Row, this 6 of September, 1596...."

Confusing the issue is the larger "Cannon Street" (two "n's"), located further east, that is, indeed, the general location of London Stone and St Swithin where the Vere House in town was located on Candlewick Street. Yet, Oxford is said to have sold this house around 1588.

So while it is not completely clear where the Countess was living, she does say "Cannon Row," not Street, just as her husband did in 1596. It is simply a strong conjecture that she was living with the Stanley-Derbys.

If any readers can help with the following questions, please post a comment here or send me an e-mail.

Robert Sean Brazil – July 8, 2009

*Why did Henry Maynard try to squelch the Hedingham deal?

*What document served as Morant’s source?

*Who lived in Hedingham in the 1590s?

*Is there any evidence that Countess Oxford moved there in 1609 or at any time before her death?
Some of the documents in this matter suggest that Hedingham in the 1590s was run down and unlivable. Other documents, however, suggest that the residence(s) were in shape for habitation. Is it possible that no one was living there because the estate was too far in disrepair to provide country comfort?