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Papers of the Cavendish-Talbot family

Identifier: C38835
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Scope and Content

This collection contains the call numbers X.d.428 (1-203).

The Papers of the Cavendish-Talbot family contain 175 autograph letters signed, as well as various financial documents, warrants, petitions, orders, physician instructions and other miscellaneous documents relating to the Cavendish, Talbot, Wentworth, and Slingsby families as well as to Sir Humphrey Style, and Stanley Gower.

Divided into six series: Cavendish and Talbot family papers, 1548-1607; Wentworth family papers, [1542?], 1624-1705; Slingsby family of Scryven papers, 1586-1634; Sir Humphrey Style letter, ca. 1629; Stanley Gower papers, 1636-1658; and miscellaneous documents, 1500-1548.

Most of the papers are autograph letters; several are written by an amanuensis and signed by the writer. Well-known place-names and personal names are modernized. Dates when not given are supplied, often tentatively, with a few given as undated. If a wax seal on a letter is whole and undamaged, this is noted. Additional manuscripts relating to the Countess of Shrewsbury appear in the Related Materials section of this finding aid.

Series 1: The Cavendish and Talbot family papers contain letters and miscellaneous documents. The majority of the letters are addressed to Elizabeth Hardwick Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, either as Lady Cavendish, Lady St. Loe, or as Countess of Shrewsbury, and are from her family and friends. Many mention Lady Arbella Stuart, the Countess of Shrewsbury's grand-daughter. Some are instructions to her steward and men of affairs and mention matters concerning the running of the estates and the building of Chatsworth. Others, particularly those from her stepson Gilbert Talbot, her daughter Mary, and her sons Charles and William, give her a survey of the news of the day, and events at court. The Wingfields answer at some length enquiries as to suitable New Year's gifts for the queen. Though Mary, Queen of Scots, was in the keeping of her husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury, during much of the time covered by the letters, there are few references to her, although two well-known letters in which the Earl tells of the possibility and then the certainty of Mary, Queen of Scots, being put in his charge are in this collection. A few refer to the differences which arose between the Earl and Countess. There are several household accounts, and an inventory of the goods of Francis Talbot, deceased. Twenty-three of the letters are written by women, including the Countesses of Kent, Lennox, Northumberland and Shrewsbury (both Elizabeth and her daughter Mary); Grace Cavendish; Lady Frances Cobham; Elizabeth (Leake) Leche; Lady Frances Pierrepont; Lady Margaret St. Loe; Lady Dorothy Stafford; Anne Talbot; and Elizabeth Wingfield.

Series 2: The Wentworth family papers contain letters and miscellaneous documents. There were many Wentworths in Yorkshire, including the Wentworths of Elmsall and Broadsworth, the Wentworths of West Bretton, the Wentworths of South Elmsall, and the Wentworths of Woolley. Most of these letters are to and from the Wentworths of West Bretton and Woolley. There are two from William Wentworth, later 2nd earl of Strafford, and some accounts on matters affecting his estates. Two orders are signed by Sir Thomas Wentworth, later Earl of Strafford; one by John Lambert. Some letters bear postal markings: X.d.428 (149, 156, 158, 168).

Series 3: The Slingsby family letters contain letters of the Slingsby family of Scriven, Yorkshire. Most are to Sir Henry Slingsby (d. 1634, father of Sir Henry 1602-1658) from other members of the family. A number arise out of his vice-presidency of the Council of the North and concern parliamentary affairs. Correspondents include Sir Henry Slingsby, his father Francis, his brother Sir William, his nephews Guilford and Sir Robert, his cousins William Byrnand and Sir Francis Trappes-Byrnand, his son-in-law Sir Thomas Metcalfe, his grandson Sir George Marwood, and his cousin Henry, Earl of Northumberland. Other correspondents are Sir Charles Cavendish, Peter Benson, Thomas, Lord Fairfax, Sir John Gibson, Christopher Mather, Robert Norton, Phanuell Otbie, Sir Robert Cecil, later Earl of Salisbury, Christopher Wade, Thomas Wardropp, Edward Wilson, Samuel Wortley, and William Wycliffe. A few of the letters are sent to/from Dublin.

Series 4: Sir Humphrey Style letter is to his wife Elizabeth.

Series 5: The Gower family letters are from Stanley Gower and his wife to their close friends John and Mary Stainforth of Darnall, Yorkshire, 1636-1658. Stanley Gower was rector of Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire, and his patron was first Sir Robert Harley and then Sir Edward Harley. Several letters refer to the disturbances of the civil wars, but not to the prolonged siege in 1643.

Series 6: The Miscellaneous documents consist of a copy of a lease, will, and receipt, apparently unrelated to any of the above families.


  • 1333-1705 (bulk 1548-1676)
  • Majority of material found within 1548 - 1676


Language of Materials

In English, with one item in Latin.


Collection is open for research.


203.0 items (4 boxes)


Mostly consists of correspondence, as well as various financial documents, warrants, petitions, orders, physician instructions and other miscellaneous documents relating to the Cavendish, Talbot, Wentworth, and Slingsby families as well as to Sir Humphrey Style, and Stanley and Sarah Gower.


Originally bound in three volumes enclosed in a large red box resembling a volume. The papers had been numbered in pencil and were in sequence but as there was no discernible order in the arrangement and as many had become detached and were in need of repair, the volumes were broken up and the letters were divided into six series by family, with unrelated items placed in Series 6: Miscellaneous documents.

Within each series, the correspondence is arranged alphabetically by writer, with unidentified writers appearing at the end of the series, and then chronologically. Series 1: Cavendish-Talbot family papers and Series 2: Wentworth family papers are divided into two subseries: 1.1 Correspondence and 1.2 Other documents. The papers in the other documents subseries, as well as Series 6: Miscellaneous documents, are arranged chronologically.


The Papers of the Cavendish-Talbot family form part of the Phillipps' collection, nos. 20556-20558.

Many of the papers are included in Joseph Hunter's History of Hallamshire (see bibliography) and belonged to John Wilson of Broomhead Hall (1719-1783). Wilson had acquired these from a Mr. Stainforth of Darnell, a Mr. Bosville of Gunthwaite and Sir Thomas Wentworth of Bretton, and as two groups in this collection are letters to and/or from a John Stainforth and various members of the Wentworth families, it seems probable that they all formed part of the same collection. Wilson's collection was still intact in 1806; in 1843 it was dispersed and sold to Mr. Thorpe, a London bookseller, who sold many items to James Newman of High Holborn and he in his turn to Sir Thomas Phillipps. A.N.L. Munby describes their provenance as "Ex bibl. Miscellaneous."

Acquisition Information

The Papers of the Cavendish-Talbot family were acquired in May 1961 from the booksellers Lionel and Philip Robinson.

Other Formats

We are in the process of updating links in this finding aid. Until all links have been updated, please go to Papers of the Cavendish-Talbot family, 1333-1705 (bulk 1548-1676) to view digital images of select items.

Also available on microfilm, Film Fo 3721 (reduction ratio 14:1, 33 feet).

Also available as digital images in LUNA

Some letters are transcribed in Joseph Hunter's Hallamshire: The History and Topography . . ., p. 84, 107-124 (see bibliography): X.d.428 (2, 7-10, 12, 15, 17, 21, 25-27, 28 (last part only), 29, 36, 41, 44, 49, 51, 53, 59-60, 62-63, 69, 72, 75-77, 82-83, 85-87, 89, 91, 107-108, 110-115, 119, 121, 123-125, 129, 179).

Transcriptions of X.d.428 (64) and X.d.428 (73) appear on pages 318 and 322 of Hunter's Biographical Memoirs of Sir William Saint Loe . . . (see bibliography).

Related Materials

Talbot Papers (MS 3192-3206) and Shrewsbury Papers (MS 694-710) at the Lambeth Palace Library, London.

Elizabeth Hardwick Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury

Account book of Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, kept by her steward Edward Whalley, 1589 September 9-1592 July 12. Folger MS V.b.308.

Account book of Sir William and Lady Cavendish of Chatsworth, 1548 Michaelmas-1550. Folger MS X.d.486.

E. Williams watermark collection, see Folger MS L.f.358 (Her answer to the bill of complaint of her son, Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, January 30, 1605/6.)

Papers of the Bagot family, see Folger MS L.a.843, L.a.844.

George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury

Lease for lives from George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, to Lawrence Stile and his wife, 1575 January 11. Folger MS Z.c.40 (6).

Papers of the Bagot family, see Folger MS L.a.71, 72, 74, 441, 442, 714-722, 781-827, 932, 933, 1025, 1040.

Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury

Autograph letter signed from Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, Sheffield Castle, to Sir Humphrey Ferrers 1594 June 3. Folger MS X.c.129.

Autograph letter signed from Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, to George Abell, ca. 1600 March 15. Folger MS X.c.81.

Autograph letter signed from Gilbert and Mary Talbot, Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire, to George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, 1575/6 January 12. Folger MS X.c.76.

Leake, Thomas, d. 1598. Register of deer, hinds and stags, killed in Sherwood Forest, 1591-1598. Folger MS V.b.152.

Letters signed from Gilbert Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, to Sir Richard Verney and Sir Humphrey Ferrers [manuscript], 1602-1605. Folger MS X.c.86 (1-4).

Letters signed from the Privy Council, 1596-1793 (bulk 1596-1634). Folger MS G.b.14 (2, 3, 5, 8). Four letters signed by him as privy councilor.

Loseley collection, 1489-1682 (bulk 1538-1630), see Folger MS L.b.634 Copy of a Privy Council ruling, July 13, 1613.

Papers of the Bagot family, see Folger MS L.a.828-842.

Copy of proclamation of Court of Claims to persons claiming the right to perform any service at the coronation of James I, King of England, July 13, 1603, 17th century. Folger MS X.d.88.


  • A Calendar of the Shrewsbury and Talbot Papers in Lambeth Palace Library and the College of Arms. 2 vols. London, 1966, 1971.
  • Cooper, J.P., ed. Wentworth Papers 1597-1628. Camden 4th series, vol. 12. London: Royal Historical Society, 1973.
  • Durant, David N. Bess of Hardwick: Portrait of an Elizabethan Dynast. Rev. ed. London, 1999.
  • Eales, J. Puritans and Roundheads: The Harleys of Brampton Bryan. Cambridge, 1990. [mentions Stanley Gower]
  • Hunter, Joseph. Biographical Memoirs of Sir William Saint Loe, Captain of the Guard to Queen Elizabeth; with Original Letters. The Retrospective Review. 2nd ser., 2. 1828. 314-25.
  • Hunter, Joseph. Hallamshire: The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield in the County of York. London, 1869.
  • Letters of the Lady Brilliana Harley, Wife of Sir Robert Harley, of Brampton Bryan, Knight of the Bath. Camden Society Publications [1st ser.], 58. London, 1854. [mentions Stanley Gower]
  • Munby, A.N.L. The Formation of the Phillipps Library from 1841 to 1872. Phillipps Studies no. 4. Cambridge, 1956.
  • Munby, A.N.L. The Dispersal of the Phillipps Library. Phillipps Studies no. 5. Cambridge, 1960.
  • Smith, Geoffrey Ridsdill. Without Touch of Dishonour: The Life and Death of Sir Henry Slingsby 1602-1658. Kineton: Roundwood Press, 1968.

Processing Information

Processed by Folger Shakespeare Library staff.

Guide to the Papers of the Cavendish-Talbot Family Folger MS X.d.428 (1-203)
Finding aid prepared by Folger staff; revised by Alison E. Bridger (2010), Rebecca Hranj (2011), and Ann Sneesby-Koch (2012).
December 1961
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
Encoding partially funded by the Marpat Foundation, Inc.

Revision Statements

  • 2010; March 23, 2004; March 2000: Unspecified edits made.

Repository Details

Part of the Folger Shakespeare Library Repository

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Washington DC 20003 USA