RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
Alt Ref NoMS 3192-3206
Extent15 volumes: 6,404 numbered leaves
TitleTalbot family, Earls of Shrewsbury
Date14th century-17th century
DescriptionTalbot Papers. Apart from a few early letters in Volume 3192, the first four volumes are largely concerned with the public service of Francis Talbot, fifth Earl of Shrewsbury (1500-1560). Like his father before him, Earl Francis was much involved in military affairs. The list of the companies of the army led to France in 1513 by Henry VIII (MS.3192 folio 83) reminds us of the service of George Talbot, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury (1468-1538) as Lieutenant-General of the Army on that expedition when he commanded the forces which captured Thérouenne, while a letter from Thomas Cromwell, at the time Keeper of the Privy Seal, conveying the royal thanks for his initiative in suppressing Aske's rebellion in 1536 (MS.3192 folio 61), though addressed to Earl George as Lord Steward of the Household, recalls his position as Lieutenant-General of the North. Earl Francis succeeded his father in this last post and this, Joseph Hunter, The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York, ed. Rev. A. Gatty (1869) remarks in his History of Hallamshire (1869, p.75), 'occasioned him to have much concern in the border-wars'. No one reading the first four volumes of the Talbot Papers could be left in any doubt of it. In 1549 he became Lord President of the Council of the North and Volume D largely consists of his papers in that capacity for the year 1557. The accounts of the affray at Ford Castle in April, 1557, afford a vignette of Border feuding in the period (MS.3195 folios 5 - 15); other documents reveal the difficulties of paying and victualling the troops. 'If money could have been had in these parts, either for bond or otherwise', Earl Francis writes to the Privy Council in August, 1557, from his official residence at what is now known as the King's Manor, York, 'I would assuredly for the present need have mortgaged or sold any land or things I have' (MS.3195 folio 93). A month later, he was moved to compare his lot adversely with his service under Edward Seymour, then Viscount Hertford, in the Henrician wars against the Scots in 1544-1545: 'at which time', he tells Sir William Petre, 'neither my charges were so great by far, nor my travels so many, as now they are' (MS.3195 folio 167). Not that Earl Francis was always prompt in paying his debts; for example, he was created Knight of the Garter in 1545 (MS.3192 folio 95) but his dues were not paid as late as 1556 (MS.3194 folio 245).
Volumes 3196-8 span approximately the earldom of George Talbot, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury (1522-1590), who succeeded his father in 1560. The idiosyncratic hand of Sir Thomas Gargrave, who as Vice-President of the Council of the North made copies of many of the letters of the time of Earl Francis, gives way to what is surely the most illegible scribble to survive from the Elizabethan period, the handwriting of Earl George [An example of Earl George's handwriting is reproduced from Bacon Frank Ms. 2/39 in the Catalogue of the Arundel Castle Manuscripts, facing p. 164.]. By the end of his life he was, as he tells Lord Burghley in 1589, 'more than halfe lame of my hands' from what, eighteen months before, he called their joint enemy - gout (MS.3198 folios 372, 423); the pain he suffered four centuries ago conveys itself very vividly to the twentieth century researcher faced with Earl George's holograph. The sixth Earl held a number of public offices - he was a Privy Councillor and Chief Justice in Eyre north of the Trent, as his father had been, and he became Earl Marshal of England on the disgrace of Thomas Howard, fourth Duke of Norfolk - but the outstanding interest of the papers derives, of course, from his guardianship of Mary, Queen of Scots from 1569 to 1584.
Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History (second edition, 1838) printed the majority of the letters referring to Mary but the plight of her guardian loses none of its poignancy for all that. In 1569 he pledged his loyalty even to 'the shedding of my blood' (MS.3196 folio 225); upon occasion, he must have felt that little less was demanded. His every move was watched; the security of his prisoner, aptly termed his 'charge', was constantly questioned. When, for instance, Mary was moved to Sheffield Manor while her rooms at the Castle were cleaned in May, 1573, the Earl's son Gilbert who was representing his father at Court was obliged to explain to Secretary of State Dr. Thomas Wilson that 'unless she could transform herself to a flea or a mouse, it was impossible that she should escape' (MS.3197 folio 79). Even Burghley, despite a warm friendship for Shrewsbury which shows itself in many letters among the papers, hesitated to conclude a marriage between his daughter and the Earl's son Edward because the Queen might interpret it as indicating too friendly a gesture towards Mary (MS.3197 folio 117). In the winter of 1573-74 Shrewsbury suffered accusations from two chaplains, Corker and Haworth, 'vile wicked verlets' he called them to his friend the Earl of Leicester (MS.3197 folio 77) but Leicester was obliged to tell him that the Privy Council doubted Corker's guilt (MS.3198 folio 290). Earl George's indignation is plain from another letter - 'How can it be imagined I should be disposed to favour this Queen for her claim to succeed the Queen's Majesty? My dealing towards her hath shewn the contrary: I know her to be a stranger, a Papist, and my enemy' (MS.3206 folio 691). Little wonder, then, that a few weeks later he confesses to Burghley that he wished with all his heart that he had never dealt in the business (MS.3206 folio 703).
The cost of his guardianship was very considerable and his allowance was, at best, paid irregularly. By 1581 he was reduced to threatening to seek relief if he were not paid punctually (MS.3198 folio 61) and considering the sale of plate (MS.3198 folio 63). By 1582 he was seeking a grant in fee farm in lieu (MS.3198 folio 84), a suggestion made him by Secretary Wilson eighteen months earlier (MS.3198 folio 57). He reckoned that £400 a quarter 'will hardly serve to find fuel, light, spoil of my stuff, besides many other heavy charges, and the keeping of 40 soldiers daily in my house' (MS.3198 folio 105) and this sounds very credible in the light of Thomas Stringer's account of the manner of her keeping (MS.3198 folio 263). 'My riches they talk of', he remarked to his faithful servant Thomas Baldwin in July, 1582, 'are in other men's purses' (MS.3198 folio 170). At the time he hoped to attend Court for the first time in a decade (MS.3198 folio 175) but the death of his son and heir, Francis, and an outbreak of plague in London that autumn thwarted the plan. It was September, 1584, before he went (MS.3198 folio 261); he was then relieved of his great responsibility.
By 1584, George was both an aged and an embittered man. His marriage to Bess of Hardwick in 1568 ('in an evil hour', Joseph Hunter, The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York, ed. Rev. A. Gatty (1869) writes, 'the Earl of Shrewsbury made proposals of marriage' [Joseph Hunter, The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York, ed. Rev. A. Gatty (1869), History of Hallamshire (1869), p.84.]) had turned sour. Where in the early days he would call her his 'none' (MS.3205 folio 58), in 1585 he told Leicester 'no curse or plague in the earth could be more grievous' (MS.3198 folio 277). 'Till Francis Talbot's death', he wrote to Burghley later that year, the Countess and her children 'sought my favour, but since those times they have sought for themselves and never for me' (MS.3198 folio 311). The intervention of friends like Leicester (MS.3198 folio 300), the arbitration of the Queen in a dispute over land (MS.3198 folio 302), even, it would appear, the writing of an uncharacteristically humble letter by Bess herself (MS.3198 folio 331), all failed to bring about more than a brief reconciliation (MS.3198 folio 337), so great was Shrewsbury's anger at the accusations which the Countess and her children had made against him (MS.3198 folio 210). He was particularly displeased with Mary who had married his son Gilbert at the time he married Bess; he refused to receive her when he agreed to see Bess (MS.3198 folio 337), held her extravagant - when Sir Henry Lee courageously asked him face to face to help Gilbert pay his debts in 1587, the Earl wrote to him about Gilbert: 'He knoweth whereof his grief grew; let him henceforth avoid the occasions' - and it was not until April, 1590, that he seems to have relented towards her (MS.3200 folio 67).
The earldom of Gilbert Talbot, seventh Earl (1552-1616) is roughly covered by Volumes 3199-3203 but the chronological arrangement of the papers is less consistent than in the earlier volumes. Volume 3199 extends to 1599 and is supplemented by Volume 3200, principally with papers relating to the sixth Earl as Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire in the last months of his life and to the seventh Earl as Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire. The papers in Volume 3201 date from 1600-1605 and those in Volume 3202 from 1605-1609 approximately and are supplemented by Volume 3203 which contains papers from the period 1599 to 1612.
Earl Gilbert's constant attendance at Court and attention to political news - Sir Horatio Palavicino (MS.3199 folio 385) and William Browne (MS.3199 folio 739) both remark how much he likes to receive it, though as William Cecil warned him in 1590 it may have been no more reliable than that in the Gazetta of Venice (MS.3200 folio 94) - were rewarded by his being made a Knight of the Garter in 1592, sent on an embassy to Henry IV of France in 1596 (MS.3199 folios 853, MS.3200 folios 247-253), and appointed to the Privy Council in 1601. But it is apparent that he never enjoyed the full confidence of Elizabeth. He was denied more than the lieutenancy of Derbyshire of his father's local offices. One reason was almost certainly his quarrelsome nature. His dispute with Eleanor Britton, in whom Earl George had found consolation for the breakdown of his second marriage, may be excused (MS.3199 folios 299, 825, MS.3200 folios 108, 110) but his conduct towards Thomas Baldwin is hard to explain away (MS.3199 folio 885). Even old Roger Manners, long the confidant of his father and himself, hints that it is likely that he will have to sue in the courts to obtain a legacy from the sixth Earl (MS.3199 folio 189). The long and involved feud with the Stanhope family, which arose in part from Earl Gilbert's disappointment of the lieutenancy of Nottinghamshire, has been chronicled by Professor W. T. MacCaffrey in his 'Talbot and Stanhope: an Episode in Elizabethan Politics', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, XXXIII (1960), pp.73-85. At one time Gilbert had been friendly with John and Michael Stanhope (MS.3199 folios 151, MS.3201 folios 67, 208) but his enmity with his brothers Edward and Henry seems to have been long-standing; in an addition to a letter from Henry in 1591 Gilbert comments 'very unbrotherly' (MS.3199 folio 345) and the quarrel with Edward led the Earl to make repeated offers of a duel in 1594 (MS.3200 folio 187). It is not surprising to find Essex fearing that then Queen will account him violent (MS.3200 folio 192).
The Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury entertained James I and his Queen at their favourite house, Worksop, on their entries into England in 1603 (MS.3201 folio 86, MS.3203 folio 90) and lent the Prince of Wales their carrozza in 1606 (MS.3203 folio 360). The Chief Justiceship in Eyre was the only honour which Earl Gilbert received at the hands of James, however. Part of the explanation of his lack of advancement with James may lie in religion. The vigour with which Earl George pursued recusants in Derbyshire is very much in evidence, especially in the late 1580s - witness the stories of the Fitzherberts, Lady Constance Foljambe and the Sherwins - but the mentions of recusancy in the time of Earl Gilbert are only incidental. The attachment of the Earl, the Countess, her sister Frances and brother-in-law Henry Pierrepont to the Church of England is called in question on a number of occasions in the Talbot Papers (MS.3199 folios 463, 469, 493, 817, MS.3203 342 for example) and Lady Russell calls upon the Countess not to be 'deaf like the adder' to reasoning in religion (MS.3203 folio 410). Another cause of distrust of the Earl and Countess by James was the kinship with the Countess's niece, Lady Arabella Stuart. In 1611 the Countess was suspected of aiding Lady Arabella's escape after her marriage with William Seymour and suffered imprisonment as a result (MS.3203 folios 587-592).
The Talbot Papers are completed by three miscellaneous volumes, each with an interest of its own. Volume 3204 consists for the most part of papers relating to the fifth, sixth and seventh Earls as Lords Lieutenant and dating from 1546 - 1608. It is, therefore, concerned with the mustering of men for service in the various wars of the period, the raising of benevolences and loans for the Crown, the collection of subsidies and taxes voted by sundry Parliaments and the suppression of recusancy, in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire, but especially Derbyshire since all three Earls were Lords Lieutenant of that county. These were all unenviable tasks; neither Thomas Bailey's experience on a rainy Friday that the majority of the defaulters at a view of the musters were 'of the best sort' (MS.3204 folio 272) nor the bribery of Captain Tolkerne to which William Ward of Dore confesses in 1599 (MS.3204 folio 340) was probably an isolated instance. The men of Derbyshire did not make such bad soldiers, however, as those of some areas; in 1607 the Mayor of Chester, Sir John Savage, apologizes for detaining Captain Wyld of Derbyshire, explaining that other companies assembled for the Irish service were so mutinous that he had been obliged to set up a gibbet at the high cross (MS.3204 folio 391). Nor was the collection of loans in the county as arduous, it would appear, as in Warwickshire, to judge from the Privy Council's comment in 1605 (MS.3204 folio 384), or as it had been in Cumberland in the time of the fourth Earl (MS.3206 folio 299).
Volume 3205 is unusual, for the majority of the letters are written by women. Quite often, they are upon very practical subjects, as when the widow of Francis, Lord Talbot presses Earl Gilbert for the payment of her jointure in 1592 (MS.3205 folio 49) or Ann Talbot, Countess of Pembroke, asks her brother to make Richard Bryan steward of Hope in Gloucestershire (folio 0 6). Others are decidedly feminine, like those which show Bess of Hardwick as a fond grandmother (for example, MS.3205 folios 59, 62, 64, 68) and the delightful letters of Lady Alathea Talbot's mother-in-law, Anne, Countess of Arundel, around the time of the birth of her second son, Henry Frederick Howard, in 1608, from which we learn that the new-born child is 'a most ernest criar' (MS.3205 folio 143) and his father subject to (psychological?) toothache (MS.3205 folios 143, 151).
The last volume, 3206, is also the largest, with more than 1,000 numbered leaves and the documents range in date from 1499 to 1580, so that they touch upon most of the recurring themes found in the other papers, except the affairs of the seventh Earl. A good example is the series of letters about the dispute between the sixth Earl and his tenants in Glossopdale (MS.3206 folios 907, 935-941, 951-973, 981, 985, 1,027) which elaborate on the story already disclosed by letters in Volume 3197 (folios 275, 303, 315, 319, 331, 349, 361) and Volume 3198 (folios 6, 12). The dispute, over a new valuation, centred round four tenants held to be 'continual kindlers of coals of controversy' (MS.3197 folio 275), stirred on, in the submission of the Earl's servant Nicholas Booth, by the Countess of Shrewsbury and her son William Cavendish (MS.3206 folio 957). William Dickenson contended that they would be 'both Lord and tenants' (MS.3206 folio 935), but it must be said that the Earl's reply to their allegations is not very convincing, as Leicester implies in a long letter he took the trouble to write in his own hand to the sixth Earl in April, 1579, about the matter and Shrewsbury's fitness to be guardian to Mary, Queen of Scots was called in question (MS.3206 folios 937, 941). To take only one other instance where items in Volume P illumine a story partially told elsewhere in the Talbot Papers, two letters reveal that towards the end of 1559 Elizabeth, the widow of Sir Thomas Pope, the founder of Trinity College, Oxford, was hesitating about marrying the fifth Earl (folios 353, 355), whereas in April, 1560, Earl Francis was himself calling for a deferment of the proposed match on account of a disagreement about money and of his illness which 'considered with my years doth much discourage me of any long continuance' (MS.3196 folios 91, MS.3205 22, 24). In the event, Earl Francis died the following 28 September and the marriage did not take place.
Like the Shrewsbury Papers at Lambeth, the Talbot Papers contain only scattered references to estate and household matters; when Johnston made his conscious selection of the most important of the documents at Sheffield Manor in the 1670s, he would not have regarded such material as of the first interest. It is impossible to generalize readily from such incidental information but there is evidence to confirm the impression gained from other sources that the Earls of Shrewsbury were among the richest of the Elizabethan nobility and among the most enterprising managers of their estates. The settlement proposed to the sixth Earl by his three surviving sons in 1586 is particularly interesting, for it gives what was presumably a conservative estimate of the income at that time from the Talbot lands (MS.3198 folio 335). They offered to leave him the Castle, Park and Manor at Sheffield, together with certain demesnes and the property at Handsworth nearby, rent free, and to pay him no less than £10,070 a year rent for such of the rest of his property and estate revenues as he intended ultimately to bequeath them. The settlement omits some lesser estates, for example Talbot lands in Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire, as well as the valuable London properties. Wool-sales are not specifically mentioned and may also have been meant to be excluded, yet in 1580 we know that they yielded the Earl as much as £1,200 in one year (MS.3198 folio 24). Iron, steel, and lead are included. The Talbots are known to have exploited the mineral resources of their estates to an exceptional degree and there are numerous references to these metals throughout the Talbot Papers. Where lead was sold in 1516 for four guineas or so a fother (MS.3192 folios 41, MS.3206 33), by 1579 it was fetching £9 a fother from Alderman Thomas Pullyson of London when supplied in quantity for resale (MS.3197 folio 311) and in 1585 Richard Torre complains that the Earl's lead fetched only £10 a fother at Hull, 'a poor price' (MS.3198 folio 308). Often, the Earl's lead was sent in his own ships to London or France to be sold or exchanged for wine (an example from 1577 is MS.3206 folio 859). In 1597 the seventh Earl was a partner in a mine on the Borders (MS.3200 folio 266) and in the 1600s he was exploring the possibility of extracting precious metals from the ore on his estates near Sheffield (MS.3201 folios 5, MS.3205 131, 133, 139), while his Countess was corresponding about steel in 1607 (MS.3205 folio 114). Even during the lifetime of Bess of Hardwick, the seventh Earl's steward could account for receipts of nearly £48,500 in a period of six years (MS.3202 folio 81) and, from all that is known of accounting in the period, it is most unlikely that such a figure would include all the Earl's income in that time.
The Talbots, like other wealthy landed families of the age, could still find themselves obliged to borrow substantial sums. Probably not too much significance should be read into, for example, the negotiations to borrow £3,000 from Sir Horatio Palavicino in 1594 (MS.3199 folio 659 and elsewhere) or the debts to Alexander Ratcliff and Sir Fulke Greville in 1604 (MS.3203 folios 226, 227, 266, 267). The latter debts did not prevent the Earl from concluding an agreement to purchase the estate at Hartington which had been leased to Earl George in consideration of Mary, Queen of Scots' diet money in 1585 (MS.3198 folio 278), and at that, as he told Lord Cecil, for a thousand pounds more than he had anticipated paying (MS.3201 folio 181).
The size of the Talbot household and the style of the family's living were proportionate to their wealth. The sixth Earl, when he was guardian to Mary, was licensed in 1565 to retain as many as one hundred servants (MS.3196 folio 149), and check-rolls of the seventh Earl's household among the Talbot Papers list between 52 and 96 persons (MS.3203 folios 282, 505, 582); his contemporary, the ninth Earl of Northumberland, whose average income from land between 1607 and 1612 was about £7,500 a year, kept between forty and eighty servants in his household. [G. R. Batho, The Household Papers of Henry Percy (Royal Historical Society Camden Third Series XCIII, 1962), pp.xxi, 1.] Occasionally, mention is made of the purchase of special provisions for the household, as when Thomas Alen, a servant, sent the fourth Earl eight dozen quails and some lings from London in 1517 (MS.3206 folio 29) or when George Everat, a London merchant, sought orders for figs and raisins from the fifth Earl in 1550 (MS.3206 folio 167). Alen and Everat both sent wine to the north but quite often the Earls imported their own from France. Instances are the expeditions to Rouen of Ralph Barber in 1575 to purchase wine and cloth (MS.3206 folio 723) and of Thomas Cornish in 1579 to sell lead and buy wine and leather hangings (MS.3206 folio 977). If the Talbots spent much of their time in Sheffield 'half way to the North Pole', as Viscount Lisle commented in 1606 (MS.3202 folio 63), and their visitors expected, as did Sir John Bentley in 1608, 'to be half choked with town smoke' (MS.3203 folio 540), there is no doubt that they lived well.
The Talbot Papers constitute in themselves a rich record of a noble family's public service and private living in the Tudor period. In both regards the Talbots were scarcely rivalled. The Cecils could not have claimed their length of service to the Crown in 1617 and only in the last few years covered by these papers could the Percies have equalled the family's income from land. As Elizabeth herself wrote of the sixth Earl's guardianship of Mary, Queen of Scots, in a letter which he marked 'to be kept as the derest jewell' (MS.3206 folio 819), that service alone placed her in debt to him 'as great as a sovereign can owe to a subject'. As it becomes possible to study the scattered archives of the Talbots as a whole, the significance of the family's contribution to Tudor government will become apparent.
FindingAidsCatalogue descriptions based on: G.R. Batho, A calendar of the Shrewsbury and Talbot Papers in Lambeth Palace Library and the College of Arms. Volume II: Talbot Papers in the College of Arms (H.M.C. JP7, 1971).
Descriptions available on the National Archives Discovery site <> as well as the Library catalogue.
The positions and titles of recipients of letters were restricted to those on the endorsement, except where square brackets indicate an editorial elucidation. Spelling was standardized, except for direct quotations and where there is any doubt of the identification of persons or places. The additions made by Nathaniel Johnston, in the case of the Talbot Papers usually confined to the identification of correspondents and the dating of the manuscripts, were normally ignored but his enumeration of the papers retained. Papers substantially printed by Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History (second edition, 1838), Joseph Hunter, The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York, ed. Rev. A. Gatty (1869) and W. de G. Birch, 'Original Documents Relating to Sheffield, principally in connection with Mary Queen of Scots', Journal of the British Archaeological Association (March, 1874) are noted.
PhysicalDescriptionThe manuscripts are holograph unless otherwise stated.

Some volumes are paginated, others foliated. The catalogue descriptions refer to folio references in either case.
CreatorNameTalbot family, Earls of Shrewsbury
CustodialHistoryThe death in February, 1617, of Edward Talbot, eighth Earl of Shrewsbury, meant that, although he was the third of five sons born to George Talbot, sixth Earl, the family had failed in the male line. The destruction in the Civil War of the Talbots' principal seat, Sheffield Castle, combined with this failure to threaten the loss to posterity of most of the records of a great noble family which had given distinguished service to the Crown in two centuries. It was the unsystematic industry of Dr. Nathaniel Johnston (1628-1705) which saved many of the papers. A physician-antiquary who came of an old Scottish family but who lived in Pontefract, Johnston had, as he wrote to Adam Baynes in 1655, 'a peculiar genius that in by houres leades me, to the Study of all sorts of antiquity, History, Roman coynes, etc.' [B.M. Address MS. 21,432, folio 27; J. D. Martin's unpublished thesis, 'The Antiquarian Collections of Nathaniel Johnston' (B.Litt., Oxford, 1956).] For half a century he worked on a history of Yorkshire which he never completed. With the help of his friend John Hopkinson, the elderly antiquarian from Lofthouse, from 1671 to 1677 he read, sorted and transcribed the extensive archives of the Talbots which were lying untended in Sheffield Manor, the hunting lodge set in the magnificent Park two miles from the Castle. As Johnston records in a note of 14 May 1677, 'at severall tymes, from amids the multitudes of waste papers, and the havock that mice, ratts, and wet, had made I rescued these letters, and as many more as I have bound up in fifteen volumes, and have more to gett bound' [E. Lodge, Illustrations of British History (second edition, 1838), I. xx and a note by Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History (second edition, 1838) with the Talbot Papers.]. He persuaded Henry Howard, sixth Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal (1628-1684), who had inherited the Talbot estates from his grandmother, Lady Alathea Talbot, to deposit these fifteen volumes in the College of Arms 'for the use of posterity'.
Thus the papers of the Talbot family were divided into two main groups in the latter part of the seventeenth century when fifteen volumes were acquired by the College of Arms and seventeen volumes by Lambeth Palace Library (MSS. 694-710). They were reunited by the purchase of the Talbot Papers from the College of Arms in 1983.
Former references:
MS 3192 A
MS 3193 B
MS 3194 C
MS 3195 D
MS 3196 E
MS 3197 F
MS 3198 G
MS 3199 H
MS 3200 J
MS 3201 K
MS 3202 L
MS 3203 M
MS 3204 N
MS 3205 O
MS 3206 P
AcquisitionPurchased from the College of Arms in 1983.
CopiesMicropublication of the Talbot Papers is available from Cengage. Copies of the microfilms may be available in other libraries.

Copies are also available from the British Library Microform Research Collections:

Lambeth Palace Library microfilm: MS Film 57-65.

Access to the Talbot papers is also available by subscription from Adam Matthew Digital:
RelatedMaterialSee C. Jamison and E.G.W. Bill, Calendar of the Shrewsbury MSS. in Lambeth Palace Library (HMC JP6), 1966 (Lambeth Palace Library MSS. 694-710).
It was Johnston, too, who preserved other letters, particularly some relating to the sixth Earl's guardianship of Mary, Queen of Scots, for the archives of the Dukes of Norfolk; these letters formed the nucleus of the Howard Papers drawn on by Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History (second edition, 1838) when, as Bluemantle Pursuivant, he first published his Illustrations of British History in 1791. Yet other papers Johnston held on to while he combined the practice of medicine with the preparation of his Lives of the Shrewsburys and his Antiquities of Yorkshire. Some of these, together with some of Johnston's personal papers, passed to Lambeth Palace Library after his death (MSS.694-710). Others, along with Johnston's holograph Lives of the Shrewsburys, came into the collections of Richard Frank of Campsall Hall, near Doncaster. Most of the papers in this collection were sold at Sotheby's in August, 1942; some loose papers were not sold and six chests, including some Johnston material, were placed in the Public Record Office in 1950. A brief report on the Bacon Frank Mss., as they are generally known, written by A. J. Horwood, appeared in the Historical Manuscripts Commission, Sixth Report Appendix (1877), pp.448-465. The principal purchasers at the sale in 1942 were the Bodleian Library; Leeds Central Library; Messrs Burroughs, Wellcome; and the City Library, Sheffield. Among the papers acquired by the Bodleian Library was an account of the manor and lordship of Sheffield by Johnston (Ms. Top. Yorks. c.34) and household and estate accounts of the Talbots in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (Ms. Eng. Hist. c.287). A description of the Bacon Frank Mss. acquired by Sheffield City Library was given in Mary Walton, 'Sheffield Castle Manuscripts', Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society, V (Sheffield, 1943), pp.269-278. Volumes 5-8 in Horwood's enumeration, the Lives of the Shrewsburys, are now Bacon Frank Manuscripts 5 - 1-4, while 296 letters and documents relating to the Talbots in the period 1549-1616 are Bacon Frank Manuscripts 2. The correspondence is calendared in the appendix to the Catalogue of the Arundel Castle Manuscripts (Sheffield City Libraries, 1965) and five manuscripts relating to Mary, Queen of Scots are recorded in the present editor's 'The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots', Scottish Historical Review, XXXIX (Edinburgh, 1960), pp.35-42. Johnston's Lives of the Shrewsburys, which record a number of documents not otherwise known, were completed in the years 1692-1694 and might well have been published but for the death in 1695 of George Saville, Marquess of Halifax, to whom he dedicates one of the volumes. As it is, Talbot researchers are grateful for the existence of contemporary fair copies of the Lives, which in Johnston's execrable hand are virtually unreadable, in the archives of the Marquess of Bath at Longleat and of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth; in addition, there are transcripts of some Sheffield Castle Mss. for the years 1574-1608 at Longleat, Historical Manuscripts Commission, Third Report Appendix (1872), pp.185, 198.
Although it is evident from this brief account that Nathaniel Johnston made a major contribution to the preservation of the records of the Talbots, certain papers, despite the vicissitudes of the family, were retained by their heirs, the Dukes of Norfolk. Mention has already been made of the 'Howard Papers'. In 1960 the present Duke of Norfolk deposited at the Central Library, Sheffield, the records of his family's estates in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, which had previously been in the Norfolk Estate Office at the Corn Exchange, Sheffield, and in the muniment rooms at Arundel Castle. The Catalogue of the Arundel Castle Manuscripts (Sheffield City Libraries, 1965) lists a number of important items dating from the time of the Talbots, including the accounts of William Dickenson, bailiff to the Earls of Shrewsbury, which give detailed information on the economy of the estates in Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire as well as of those in Derbyshire and Yorkshire in the late sixteenth century (S 113-118); an inventory of Worksop Manor in 1591 (W 122); and the court rolls of the manor of Hartington from 1275 to 1595 (D 100).

See additional information on this manuscript in LR/L/13A.
PublnNoteThe Talbot Papers have been the best known of the manuscripts relating to the family because of the use made of them by Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History (second edition, 1838) in his Illustrations of British History. Of the 575 items transcribed, in whole or in part, in his three-volume work, 439 were taken from the Talbot Papers. In the second edition in 1838 he added a catalogue raisonnée of most of the papers which he had not published because they had not 'been considered sufficiently important'. Joseph Hunter, The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York, ed. Rev. A. Gatty (1869) had access to Lodge's transcriptions and quoted from nearly twenty documents among the Talbot Papers in his History of Hallamshire (first published 1819, second edition by Rev. A. Gatty 1869) and, later in the nineteenth century, W. de G. Birch, 'Original Documents Relating to Sheffield, principally in connection with Mary Queen of Scots', Journal of the British Archaeological Association (March, 1874) searched the Talbot Papers afresh for references to Sheffield, resulting in the publication in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association in March, 1874, of 'Original Documents Relating to Sheffield, principally in connection with Mary Queen of Scots' (pp.308-324).

Marion E. Colthorpe, 'The Elizabethan Court Day by Day', available online:

Steen, Sara Jayne (ed.) "The Letters of Lady Arabella Stuart" Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. (Women writers in English 1350-1850) xv, 304p.; illus., facsims. [Lambeth Palace Library KA391.1S9]

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Related name records
DS/UK/5647Talbot; family; Earls of Shrewsbury
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