PRIVY COUNCIL OF ELIZABETH I, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Furnishings for the prison of Mary Queen of Scots

PRIVY COUNCIL OF ELIZABETH I
Letter to the Sheriff of Staffordshire, 1 page folio with address-leaf, lightly tipped in a binding, ½-leather (worn), November 1584. Signed by William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Sir Francis Walsingham and Sir Walter Mildmay,
Conveying instructions to send household furnishings to Tutbury Castle to be used under the instructions of Sir Ralph Sadler, the gaoler of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary herself was to be removed to Tutbury the following January.
'After o[u]r harty comendations. Her ma[jesty's] pleasure is that according to such direction as shalbe sent unto you from Sr Rafe Sadler you shall see conveyed to Tutbury Castle so much of the ... howshold stuffe committed unto yo[ur] custody as he shall signefy unto you to be needfull for the furnishing of the said castel, where you shall find certain persons ready to receave the same at yo[ur] handes sent specially from hence for the purpose, as one of her ma[jesty's] wardours for such percels as belong to his charge. And one Bryan Cave gent. one of the coferers clarkes for such other implements of howshold as the said Sr Rafe Sadler shall thinke needfull to be employed there, who shall deliver unto you by byll indented a sufficient discharge for so much as shall come into their severall charges. And for the more speedy conveyance of the said stuffe we have prayed Sir Rafe Sadler to send you his comissionwhich he hath under her ma[jesty's] hand to take up so many caryages as you shall need. And so referring you to the further direction which you are in all pointes concerning this service to obey, we byd you hartely farewell.'
Space has been left for the place and for the day of the month, which have not been completed.
'Sadler was entrusted with the custody of Mary in August 1584, first at Sheffield, then at Wingfield, Derbyshire, and finally, in 1585, at Tutbury, Staffordshire. His attitude towards her was ambivalent. He had once held her in his arms when she was a baby and proved a sympathetic gaoler. He wrote to Elizabeth of Mary's integrity and loyalty in December 1584. The following year he allowed Mary to accompany him when he went hawking, a favourite pastime that alleviated the boredom of their situation to some degree. Yet in November 1586, having been discharged from his duties with Elizabeth's thanks, he spoke forcefully in parliament in favour of Mary's execution, denouncing her as the root cause of all conspiracies, who would, while she lived, never cease to be a threat to Elizabeth.' [Gervase Phillips, 'Sadler, Sir Ralph (1507-1587)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.]
Provenance: a pencil note inside the upper cover indicates that this was (?part of) lot 447 in the sale of the collection of [William] Hamper [21 July] 1831.
For further information on Mary's imprisonment at Tutbury see the Website of the castle.
[No: 22252]

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