Papers of the Bagot family of Blithfield, Staffordshire
Scope and Content
These letters date from 1557-1671, but most were written in the lifetimes of Richard Bagot (d. 1597) and his son Walter (1557-1623). They are letters to them, letters from them (some of them drafts written on blank parts of letters addressed to them, and copies made by them of letters addressed to others, especially of official letters. They cover a wide variety of topics and amply illustrate the life of a prosperous county family and the multifarious duties its members were called upon to perform for the Crown. Some of their more prominent correspondents include Lord Burghley; George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury; and later his son Gilbert, Earl of Shrewsbury; Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex; Sir John Fortescue and many lesser officials. Men and horses had to be recruited for the wars in Ireland and on the Continent. The right men had to be elected to Parliament. Recusants and possible Papists had to be kept under surveillance whenever a foreign invasion threatened and their arms seized. Above all money had to be collected.
There are many letters from the immediate family and from "cousins", reflecting the intermarriages between the Bagots and many of the gentry of Staffordshire and the neighboring counties. Richard Broughton, Walter's brother-in-law, corresponded frequently with his wife's family. He was a lawyer and a member of Parliament and he and his wife Anne wrote of the cloth, spices and other items they were sending to Blithfield as well as of news from London. Later he became a circuit judge in Wales and a member of the Council of Wales. One of his letters (L.a.269) discusses Parliamentary procedure. A fair number of the family letters are from women: Lettice Kynnersley, Walter's sister, needed her brother's help desperately in her difficulties with her husband and his family. The letters from the Irish cousins in Dublin and Drogheda vividly describe conditions in the Pale. Two generations of Bagots attended Oxford Anthony, a friend of the Earl of Essex, and Walter in the 1570s, and Harvey and William from 1608 to 1622. Both at Oxford and afterwards Harvey showed his aptitude for versifying. Two manuscripts contain some of Sir Harvey Bagot's Latin exercises (L.a.53, L.a.58). Both these exercises and five others contain poems (L.a.571, 573, 581, 605, and 992).
There are a few exciting glimpses of important events. A correspondent in London gives news of Frobisher's return from his first voyage to North America in 1576 (L.a.987). Several discuss certain glass and iron works, and one contains an inventory of equipment at the Cannock iron works (L.a.75). Also included are documents concerning recusants, a form of the oath of supremacy (L.a.1044), a few deeds, specifications for two buildings (L.a.1070) and other papers, 1428-1662.
- 1428-1671 (bulk 1557-1671)
- Majority of material found within 1557 - 1671
- Bagot family (Family)
Collection is open for research.
Richard Bagot was a sheriff of Staffordshire, a deputy lieutenant, a commissioner for recusants, a commissioner of array and a J.P. For years he was responsible to the Crown as steward for the management of Thomas, Lord Paget's estates, confiscated after he was implicated in Throckmorton's plot in 1583 and attainted. Walter Bagot does not seem to have been entrusted with as many responsibilities as his father. He was sheriff twice and collected loans at least as many times. (See A history of the family of Bagot, by G. Wrottesley, Staffordshire Historical Collections, N.S., XI).
1076.0 items (19 boxes)
Language of Materials
Primarily autograph letters signed, dating from 1557-1671, especially of Richard Bagot and of his son Walter. They are letters to them, letters from them (some of them drafts written on blank parts of letters addressed to them) and copies made by them of letters addressed to others, especially of official letters. The letters cover a wide range of topics and amply illustrate the life of a prosperous county family the multifarious duties it members were called upon to perform for the Crown. Also included are documents, dating from 1428-1662, concerning recusants, a form of the oath of supremacy (L.a.1044), a few deeds, specifications for two buildings (L.a.1070) and other papers.
The collection has been arranged into two parts. Part I: Letters (L.a.1-1014) and Part II: Documents (L.a.1015-1076).
Part I: Letters have been arranged alphabetically by writer under his or her latest title, with unknown writers at the end under anonymous, and then chronologically under each writer.
Part II: Documents have been arranged chronologically. Unless otherwise noted, the places mentioned are usually in Staffordshire; the spelling given is that commonly used today, and, as with spelling of surnames, the original spelling only follows within parentheses if it differs noticeably from the modern version. Some of the circa dates are highly conjectural. Several sheets of indexes, formerly with the letters before the volumes in which they came were taken apart, are in a folder at the end of the collection.
The greater part of this collection of 1076 letters and documents of the Bagot family of Blithfield, Staffordshire, was purchased at the sale of André de Coppet MSS at Sotheby's, July 4-5, 1955 (lots 774-780, 793). Lot 783 from this sale was purchased from Maggs a week later. Another twenty-eight letters to Walter Bagot were bought from Winnie Myers in 1959. Another four letters were bought from Quaritch in 1962. Some of them are described in the Appendix to the Fourth Report of the Historical MSS Commission, I, p. 329 onwards.
Available on microfilm (Film Fo. 4390.1 and 4391.1).
Digital image(s) of Papers of the Bagot family of Blithfield, Staffordshire - portions only.
Transcriptions of select papers available https://folgerpedia.folger.edu/Papers_of_the_Bagot_family_of_Blithfield,_Staffordshire,_1428-1671_(bulk_1557-1671)_L.a.1-1076
1076 items (19 boxes)
For the collection-level record, and/or to conduct additional research in the catalog, see https://catalog.folger.edu/record/230544
Poems are listed in the Folger index of first lines: https://firstlines.folger.edu/
Processed by Folger Shakespeare Library staff.
- Guide to the Bagot Family Papers, 1428-1671 (bulk 1557-1671) Folger MS L.a.1-1076
- Finding aid prepared by Folger Library Staff, ca. 1965 (original typescript on file); revised by Alison E. Bridger and Nadia Seiler, 2010-2011.
- Language of description
- Script of description
- March 23, 2004: PUBLIC "-//Folger Shakespeare Library//TEXT (US::DFo::L.a. 1 - 1076.::Bagot Family. Letters to and from various members of the Bagot Family... 1428-1671 (bulk 1557-1671)//ENG" "dfobagot.sgm" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- January 2012: Digital image links added by Ann Sneesby-Koch and Jesse Lambertson, 2012.
- June 2012: Unspecified edits made.
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