St John’s College MS K.56 (James 542)

A collection of 74 historical papers and poems, c.1574-1641


  1. A letter from John Harryson to his brother William, of Luccombe Somerset, 15 June 1574. With a list of Bowyer’s goods with prices. At the end are recipes for byttinge of a mad doge, for wormes, and for the mother. 4p.
  2. The whole discourse of the Arraignement of Phillip Howarde Earle of Arundell iiiio Aprilis Ao 1589. Begins: From the outewarde barre at the kings benche was ther a courte made. This refers to Philip Howard, 13th Earl of Arundel (1557-95), magnate and alleged traitor. 11p.
  3. The poore mans Peticion to ye kinge vijmo die Maij 1603. Begins: Good kinge lett ther be an uniformitie in true Religion. At the end is a list of Scottishe Lordes Sworen Counsellors, Englishe Lordes newe Counsellors, Barons newly created, The names of ye newe knightes of Somersetshere. 2p.
  4. The poor mans petticion to ye king vij die may 1603. Begins: Good kinge lett there be an uniformyty in true religion. With a note on the back reading: Poore mans peticion to kinge James. 1p.
  5. Elocucio Regis Jacobi in Parliamento Quinto Aprilis 1614. Begins: His majestie said he came to make the present which he had promised which was the mirrour of his heart. Signed at the bottom by Tho: Webber. 1p.
  6. A letter sent from Leith near Edinburgh, dated 24 June 1617, and signed Jo. E. Begins: First for the cuntry I must confess [ ] to good for those that inhabit it. 4p (fragmentary).
  7. A prophesie of the day of Judgement. Begins: Beholde I come shortely: Blessed is he that keepeth the wordes of this prophesie ... These words hereunder written are the true words of the last Judgment which were translated into Englishe oute of the Hebrew coppie beinge founde under St Dennis Churche in the greate cittie of Paris in Fraunce & was wrapped in ledd in the forme of a Harte 1616. The document predicts various events for the years 1620-30 and ends Finis seculi. 1p.
  8. A fragmentary text in which the king of England [James I] is compared to the Antichrist and England to Babylon. The author attacks Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and compares William I, William II, The Black Prince, and the present king to the four horses of Revelation. The text predicts that the year 1621 will see the restoration of the Church of Rome. The penultimate paragraph notes: For these & many other like horrible & treasonable writinges in 2 [ ] bookes the one Intituled Balaams Ass the other withoute name was Mr Williams Indicted of high Treason, convicted & condemned. The text finishes with a poem beginning: Christ 7 yeares since rode to the Courte & there he left his Ass. 3p (fragmentary).
  9. Copy of a letter from George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury (1562-1633) written from Croydon and dated 12 August 1622. Begins: Right reverend father in God my verie good Brother I have received from the kings most excellent majestie [James I] a lettre the tenor wherof here ensueth. Includes Direceons concerninge Preachers. 3p.
  10. Another copy of Abbot's letter. 1p.
  11. The Proposicions which the kinge of greate Brittaine [James I] proffereth touchinge the matche betwene the Prince of Wales [Charles] and the Infanta of Spain [Henrietta Maria] sent to Rome together with the Popes reply & demaunds. The Pope's answers are given in the margin. This is followed by The demaundes of ye kinge of Spaine and The Cardinalles, dated Madrid 8 October 1622. 4p.
  12. Another copy of the above. 4p.
  13. James I's second speech in Parliament concerning the Spanish match and the Palatinate, 1623. Begins: My Lords and gents all, I have cause first to thank god with my harte & all the faculties of my mynde. A note on the back reads: The kinges second speeche in Parliament Ao regni sui 21mo 1623. 3p.
  14. Relation to Parliament by George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) regarding the Spanish match and the restitution of the Palatinate, dated 24 February 1623. Begins: Theffecte of the relacion to both houses in Whitehall by the Duke of Buckingham. That the first discovery of the intension of Spayne meant to deale fraudulently with the kinge. 2p.
  15. A copy of James I's speech to Parliament, 17 March 1623, resolving to make instant war against Spain etc. Begins: I have nothing to say to the praeamble of my Lord of Canterbury. 4p.
  16. A treatie of marriage betweene the kinge of France and Greate Brittaine fro [sic] the prince of Wales and Maddam Henriette Maria. An abstract of the articles agreed on. Comprises 26 articles. Dated 20 November 1624. 3p.
  17. The names of the Collonells, Captaines & other officers and common souldiers slaine in the Isle of Ree 1627 in November. Gives the total number of fatalities, and of prisoners, ordnance and colours taken. This is followed by verses beginning: Since this blacke Capp was newe. 3p.
  18. An account of the landing of the English forces on the Ile de Re, on 12 July 1627, and of their attack on the enemy, with the names of the English slain. Begins: My lord Generall landed upon thirsday at 3 of the Clock in the aftre noone being the 12th day of July. 1p.
  19. A fragmentary copy of the speech of Sir Francis Seymour (1590?-1664) in Parliament, 18 March 1627. Begins: This is the great Counsell of [ ]. A note on the back reads: Parliament 18vo marcii tertio Regis Caroli Seymori eloquucio. 1p (right half missing).
  20. Copy of Charles I's speech to Parliament, 17 March 1627. Begins: My Lords & gentlemen. These times are for accions & not for speech. A note on the back reads: Eloquucio Regis Caroli in parliamento 17mo Martii 1627. 1p.
  21. A letter sent by the bishop of Exceter to the house of Commons 28th Ap: 1628. Begins: Gent For Gods sake be wise in your well meant zeale. Joseph Hall (1574-1656) was Bishop of Exeter at the time. 1p (fragmentary).
  22. (i) The Epitaph of the late Duke of Buckingham. Begins: Heere lyeth a gracious graceles peere. Ends: was that he let him leeue for longe. (ii) A dialogue between Caron and the Duke. Begins: At Portesmouth duke I will noe longer stay. Ends: Adue, I have not title to a little. (iii) The Duke of Buckingham was kilde by Jon Felton ye 23 of August 1628. A coppie of ye papers founde in ye lyninges of Feltons hat. These items refer to George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628). The dialogue and epitaph are printed in F.W. Fairholt (ed.) Poems and songs relating to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham; and his assassination by John Felton, August 23, 1628 (London: Percy Society, 1850), pp. 56 and 66. 2p.
  23. Verses on George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628). Begins: There is nothing can swage Spaines Ambassadors rage. Ends: Yet beat up your Drum Count Mansfield is com and lodgd in her Ladiships bedd To drive the cold winter away. With a Latin quote from Wisdom 5:1 on the back. This is apparently part of a longer poem entitled The Parliament sits with a synod of wits. 1p.
  24. The Lords proposicions the 25th Aprill 1628. Lists five propositions. 1p.
  25. (i) Sir John Elliotts speeche of Marche 1628 at the breakinge upp of the Parlyament. Begins: God knowes I speake with all dutie to the kinge. (ii) Mr Seldons reply to ye Speaker. Begins: Mr Speaker you said you dare not put the question which we demaunde you. 1p.
  26. (i) A letter from John Fryer to Mr Worth of Luckam, 2 June 1628. Begins: Mr Worth, I trust you and Mrs Worth your sonns and daughters. (ii) The kinges speeche the 17 of June 1628. Begins: After my answere to your peticion I did little expect. 2p (fragmentary).
  27. Eight particulers all voted in the house of C[ommons] iio Junii 1628. Begins: The excessive power of the duke of Buck. 1p (fragmentary).
  28. Mr Rowse his speeche in the house of Co[mmons] Munday ye 26 of January 1628. Begins: Mr Speaker, wheras we have of late entred into consideracions of right. 2p (fragmentary).
  29. Eloquucio Thome Wentworth militis in parliamento 1628. English speech, the beginning of which is missing. 1p (fragmentary).
  30. Verses on the dissolution of Parliament, 5 Charles I [1629]. Begins: The wisest kinge did wonder when he spide. Ends: els poundage Tonage all shallbe denyde. A note on the back reads: upon dissolucion of the Parliamente Ao quinto Regis Caroli. These verses are printed in F.W. Fairholt (ed.) Poems and songs relating to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham; and his assassination by John Felton, August 23, 1628 (London: Percy Society, 1850), pp. 31-32, where they are attributed to Richard Corbett, Bishop of Oxford and Norwich (1582-1635). 1p.
  31. A note recording the birth of a second daughter to Henrietta Maria and Charles I on 28 December 1635 i.e. Elizabeth (1635-50). It also records her christening on 2 January and lists her gossips. 1p.
  32. (i) Charles Rex. The kings lettre to ye Judges. Dated 2 February 1636. Begins: Truly & welbeloved wee grete you well taking into our princely isideration that your honor & safetly of this our Realme of England. With a list of addressees at the end. (ii) The kings question. The Judges answer to ye kings question. Dated 7 February 1636. Begins: When ye good & safety of ye kingdome in generall is concerned. With a list of the judges at the end. 2p.
  33. Secundo Maij 1637. To ye Right honourable ye Lords of his Majesties high Court of Starchamber ye humble petition of William Prynne Prisoner in the Tower. Begins: Humbly sheweth yt wheras ye Petition on Munday last received from Mr Goade. The document is signed Edward Eastman. This item refers to William Prynne (1600-69), pamphleteer and lawyer. 1p (fragmentary).
  34. The Generall Act of the assembly houlden att Edenborowgh the 12 of August 1639 for abolishinge of episcopacie & all Innovacions lately Intended in ye kirk of Scotland. Begins: The kings majestie have gratiously declared that itt is his will & pleasure that all questions about Religion. 4p.
  35. The Comissioners of Scotlandes Letter to the king now in Feb last 1639. Begins: Most Sacred Soveraigne, Beinge sent from the Parliament of Scotland humbly to remonstrate that noe Earthly thinge coulde be more Grevious unto them. Signed: Vera copie William Parsones. 2p.
  36. Agreement about Knights of the Shire Somerset. Dated 24 Martij 1639. Begins: It is this day agreed between us whose names are underwritten, that wee will proceede noe further in labouring for voyces to be Knts of the Shire. Signed Jon Coventry, Ralph Hopton and Tho: Smith. 1p.
  37. The kings Speech upp the dissolvinge the Parliament the 5th day of Maij last 1640. Begins: There can noe occasion of Cominge to the house be soe unpleasant to me as this. 1p.
  38. A true Coppie of aletre that Came from Yorke written by one of his Majesty's Servants unto Sir Henry Sedney knight in London. Signed Tho: Davies, Yorke ult. August 1640. Begins: Frinde Sedney, I received your letre from Captaine Townesend this last of August att Yorke. A note on the back reads: A Relacion of ye Skirmish of the English and Scotts uppon Tyne Anno Domini 1640. 2p.
  39. (i) To the Kings Most Excellent Majesty. The humble peticion of the Commoners of the late Parlament and others of his Majestys Loyall Subiects of the Kingdome of Scotland. Begins: Humbly Sheweth That whereafter our many sufferinges the tyme past exstreme necessity hath Constrayned us for our releife. (ii) The King's reply, dated from the court at York 5 September 1640. Begins: His Majestie hath seene & Considered the within matter written Peticion. Signed: La Vericke. 3p.
  40. Articles agreed upon concerning the cessacion of armes betwixt the English and Scottish Comissioners at Rippon 16th of October 1640. Comprises 12 articles. 2p.
  41. Articles for easing of the Countries of Northumberland, the Byshoppricke of Durham and towne of Newcastle, and for the setling of the competencie of maintenance of the Scottish armie agreed upon betwixt the English and Scottish Comyssion at Rippon October 26th 1640. Comprises 13 articles. 3p.
  42. The kings speech in Parlament the 5th die November 1640. Begins: Mr Lords, I doe expect that your hastily aperfitt relacion to the house of Commons. Refers to his intended treaty with the rebels. 2p.
  43. A message delivered from the Commons to ye Lords of the Upper house of Parliament xith die November 1640. Begins: My Lords, The knights Cittizens and burgesses now assembled for the Commons in Parliament have received Informacion of traiterous designes. A note on the back reads: Mr Pym's Speech to the Higher house of Parlament accusing Tho: Earle of Straford of high Treason 11 Novembris 1640. This item relates to Thomas Wentworth, first Earl of Strafford (1593-1641) and John Pym. 2p.
  44. The Scotts letre to the King of Fraunce 1640. Begins: Sir, Your Majestie being a Sile and Santwary of France and afflected estates wee finde itt necessary to send this gent Mr Covil to represent to your Majestie. Signed: Lastly Marr, Laudune Forrester, Mounts Rose, Moungomery. 1p.
  45. The Earle of Strafords second Charge in the house of Commons ye 5th of december 1640. Comprises seven charges against Thomas Wentworth, first Earl of Strafford. 2p.
  46. Report of the committee to the House of Commons on the Earl of Strafford, the army etc., dated 8 June 1641. Begins: Mr Fince made areport from ye Comittee to ye house of Commons the heads are as followeth. 2p (fragmentary). Also a small fragment headed: Sir Thomas Wentworth his [?], and beginning: May this dayes resolution be as happy as to conceive.
  47. Articles of the Commons in Parlament against Thomas Earle of Straford in Maintanance of there Accusacion whereby he standes Charged with High Treason. [1641]. Begins: First that the said Earle of Straford hath Trayterously indevoured to subvert the fundamentall lawes and goverment of the realme. 3p.
  48. A Coppie of a letter sent from the King of Morrocco to the Kinge of Englande. Begins: When these our letters shalbe happie to come to. Signed: Edwardo [Eastman]. 1p (right half missing).
  49. The Turkes letre to the Emperoure of Germany. Begins: We by the grace of God welbeloved in heaven & Lorde of the earthe, mighty Caesar of all Caesars. The sender is perhaps Ahmed I (1590-1617) and the recipient Rudolf II (1552-1612). The letter is sent from Constantinople, in the yeare of our natyvitye the vxth [sic] & of our Raigne the seconde. 1p.
  50. (i) My Lord of Cannterberyes Speach to the kinge. Begins: May it please your Majestie I have bynn to longe silent & ame afraid by my sillence I have neglectted the dutie. George Abbot (1562-1633) attacks James I for trying to sett upp the most damnable & hatefull doctrine of the Church of Rome, and for sending Prince Charles to Spain without the Council's consent. (ii) A note beginning: The Duke of Brunswicke hath slain 1500 o Tillies soilders. 1p.
  51. Another copy of George Abbot's letter to James I. 1p.
  52. A petition from Fraunces Phelipps to the Kings most excellent Majestie. Begins: Most dread Soveraigne, Yf the Throanes of heaven & earth weare to be solicited one & the same waie. 4p.
  53. Another copy of the above. 4p.
  54. A Declaracion of the Comons and house of Parlament in Ireland. Begins: Whereas they have with end Consent Cheereffully Given unto his Majestie 4 entire subsedies towards his present preparacion. Professes loyalty to Charles I. 1p.
  55. The danger wherein ye kingdome now standeth and ye remedie. Begins: As soone as ye house of Austria had incorporated it selfe with Spaine. A note on the back reads: Sir Roberte Cotton. 7p.
  56. Direction To Our Archbishops and Bishops for The Preserving of Unity In the Church and The Purity of The Christian faith Concerning the Holy Trinity and also for Preserving The Peace and quiet of the State. Begins: Most Reverend and Right Reverend fathers In God we Greet you well; Whereas we are Given to understand That There have of Late been Great Differences Among some of the Clergy of this our Realm. Comprises seven points. 1p (broadside).
  57. Dr Potters apologye. Begins: Happely my good freinds will desire to knowe what I thinck in these Controvercies which are called Arminianisme. A note on p. 2 reads: Doctor Potters Apologie Arminianisme. 2p.
  58. A theological treatise, in English, arranged under the following headings: Pax ecclesiae; Periculum Schismatis; Series decretorum dei; Utilitas huius seriei; Some questions nowe in agitacion in the Church of England & in other forraine Churches both Popishe & reformed; Other lyke Questions as those above. 4p.
  59. (i) To the most blessed St Elizabeth of famous memory The humble peticion of her most wretched & most contemptible the Commons of Englande. Begins: Yf Saints in heaven can either see or heare. Ends: weele dayly offer teares & sighes and grones. (ii) To the most highe & most mercyfull the cheefe Chauncellor of heaven & onely Judge of the earth, The most humble peticion of the longe distressed Commons of longe afflicted Englande. Begins: If bleedinge soules deiected hartes fynde grace. Ends: nowe life to those that onely by thee lyve. Signed: Thy dayly Orator and most bounden servants. Both these items are printed in Ballads from Manuscripts Vol. II (Ballad Society, 1873) pp.130-1 and 137-41.
  60. Another copy of the above, endorsed: Supplicacion to Queene Elizabeth. 4p.
  61. A gratious answeere from the blessed Sainte to her whylome subiectes with a divine admonition & a propheticall Conclusion. Begins: Your bolde peticion (mortalles) I have seene. Ends: tymely repent least you untymely dye. A note on the back reads: The Peticion & answere Queene Elizabeth. Printed in Fugitive Poetical Tracts Second Series (1875). 3p (fragmentary).
  62. Another copy of the above. 4p.
  63. Verses on Dr Butts sometimes Vicechauncelor of Cambridge. Begins: A worthie gentleman this other yeare. Ends: And thus Conclude because my song is done. With a note on the back: To his loving cozen Mr Alexander Worth these. This item refers to Dr Henry Butts, Master of Corpus Christi College and Vice-Chancellor, who hanged himself in Corpus Master's Lodge on 1 April 1632. 2p (fragmentary).
  64. Verses on ye Mitre Taverne in Cambridge. Begins: Lament, Lament, yee schollers all, each weare his blackish gowne. Ends: We dranke like freshmen all before, but now weel drinke like Doctors. Attributed to Thomas Randolph (1605-35). 1p (fragmentary).
  65. (i) Doctor Corbetts verses. Begins: I have heard of Ilands flotinge and removed. Ends: in all your greatenes whatsoever you are. (ii) An Apologetique Rime vindicating doctor Corbet Deane of C. Ch: from aspersion of late adulatorie verses published under his name. Begins: False on his deanery! false, nay more Ile saye. Ends: shoulde raise it selfe by Ballatts more then meritt. These items relate to Richard Corbett (1582-1635). 4p.
  66. Burrow Chaples complaint. Begins: When miserie complaines to generous ears. Ends: & learne to tumble when I cannott stand. Signed: By her poore Chaplen Tho: Hull. 2p.
  67. The Townes new teacher. Begins: With face & fashion to be knowne. Ends: oh the new teacher of the towne oh hee the townes new teacher. By John Cleveland (1613-58). 1p.
  68. The wiper of the peoples Teares The drier up of doubtes & feares. Begins: O staie your teares you whoe Complayne. Ends: to dryve such busie bodies hence. 3p.
  69. The Most noble Presentments of the County of Westmerland to theare gracious Soveraigne. Begins: Most gracious Leige wee from that County Came. Ends: and Craves this Impresse, Lord have mercy on us. Presented to his Maiestie by the Prime gentry of Westmerland. A note on the back reads: For his honnored from Mr Allex Worth. 1p.
  70. Poem. Begins: To make Charles a great Kinge & give him noe power. Ends: whoe pray for themselves, yett leave out ye Kinge. In seven verses, with the refrain: The newe orders of the land and the lands newe orders. 1p (fragmentary).
  71. Jacke & Tom. Begins: What sodaine Change hath darke of late. Ends: of Jacke his sonne & Tom his man. On the visit of Prince Charles and George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, to Spain in 1623. 1p.
  72. (i) Poem. Begins: All the newes is stirringe nowe. Ends: maye soe seeke matches up & downe as nowe french men. With the refrain: with hey downe with hey downe with hey downe downe derry yf this be soe there be many moe besides us wilbe merry. (ii) A prophesye founde in the Abbey of St Benedicts in Norfolke. Begins: Yf eighty eight be past then thrive. Ends: A Spanyard protestant to be. (iii) Expositio quorundam locorum. 4 lines. These items relate to the Spanish match. 2p.
  73. Three short poems on the death of Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury (1563-1612). (i) Begins: Here lyes buried wormes meate. Ends: that stuncke while he leevd, & dyed of a feaver. (ii) Begins: Here lyes hobbynoll our shepheard whileere. Ends: in spite of his Tarrboxe he dyed of the scabbe. (iii) Begins: Twoe RRes twoe Crookebacks sometyme stoode. Ends: the latter pild the Realme. 1p.
  74. Game at Cardes. Poem of 6 lines. Begins: We are a game at cards, the counsell deale. Ends: Still croste, & why? Prerogative is trumpe. 1p.
Manuscript extra information

The material is in various hands of the late 16th and 17th centuries. Given by the historian Joseph Robson Tanner (1860-1931) in 1921