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Papers of Nathaniel Bacon

Identifier: B33638
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the call numbers X.d.502 (1-51).


  • Majority of material found within 1574-1650 ( 1590-1622)
  • 1574 - 1650



Collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Sir Nathaniel Bacon (1547-1622) was the second son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper to Elizabeth I, and Jane, daughter of William Fernley. He matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge in Michaelmas term, 1561, and was admitted to Gray's Inn on December 16, 1562. In 1569, he married Anne Gresham, natural daughter of Sir Thomas Gresham, Royal Agent in the Netherlands, and Winifred Dutton, wife of Thomas Dutton. They had three daughters (Anne, Winifred, and Elizabeth), and two sons, both of whom died in infancy. Anne died in 1595, and in 1597 Bacon married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Arthur Hopton.

Bacon served as a justice of the peace for nearly fifty years, beginning in 1574, and was sheriff of Norfolk in 1586 and 1599. He was an M.P. for Tavistock in 1571 and 1572, was returned as knight of the shire for Norfolk for three parliaments (1584, 1593, 1604), and as burgess for King's Lynn for one parliament (1597). He was a subsidy commissioner, and served on numerous other special commissions. He was knighted in 1604.

Bacon was related to numerous court figures. His father-in-law was Sir Thomas Gresham, and his half-brothers were Francis Bacon and Anthony Bacon (through his father's second marriage, to Anne Cooke). Through his father's second marriage, he became a kinsman of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Sir Henry Killigrew, Lord John Russell, and Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury. Through his sister's marriages, he was a brother-in-law to Sir Robert Doyly, Sir Henry Neville, Sir William Peryam, Sir Francis Wyndham, and Sir Robert Mansell.


51.0 items

Language of Materials



Contains papers and letters relating to Bacon's career: 11 papers relating to his work as Justice of the Peace, including a paternity case, and 5 papers concerning a case brought forward by a Nicholas Ringolde for money owed; 3 papers as Clerk of Methwold and Deputy Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster; and 26 papers relating to the Norfolk Militia, of which 6 concern an inquiry into the number of forces raised and paid in Norfolk, 1594-1595 and 20 concern the musters in Norfolk, 1603-1620, which had not been held between 1591 and 1611. Also includes 11 personal papers, of which 6 are autograph letters signed to Bacon from various correspondents, 3 are documents relating to his daughter Lady Anne Townshend and the wardship of her son Roger Townshend and 2 relating to land in Hockwold.


Organized into 4 series: 1. Personal papers, 1574-1650, (bulk 1574-1621); 2. Justice of the Peace, 1590-1622; 3. Clerk of Methwold and Deputy Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1591-1592, 1607; 4. Norfolk Militia, 1594-1595, 1603-1620.

Series 4 is further divided into 2 subseries: 4.1. Inquiry into Norfolk Militia, 1594-1595; 4.2. Norfolk Muster Papers, 1603-1620.

Papers are arranged chronologically within each series and subseries.

Acquisition Information

Acquired in 1970 from Hoffman and Freeman. Hoffman acquired X.d.502 (1) from Bernard Quaritch in 1962.

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 Nathaniel Bacon, 1574-1650 (bulk 1590-1622) to view digital images of select items.

Also available on microfilm, Film Fo. 2319 (reduction ratio 12:1, 13 feet).

Many of the papers have been transcribed in The Papers of Nathaniel Bacon of Stiffkey / edited by A. Hassell Smith, Gillian Baker, and R.W. Kenny (Norwich: Centre for East Anglian Studies, 1979): v. 1, p. 123, 154; v. 3, p. 95, 98, 100, 105, 117, 124, 281-3, 287, 290, 305.

Related Materials

Bacon-Townshend collection, 1550-1640. Folger MS L.d.1-1036.

Reckoning of Nathaniel Bacon's accounts with his cousin, Robert Blackman, 1577-1579. Folger MS X.d.50 (1-2)

Estate accounts of Sir Nathaniel Bacon, 1588-1598. Folger MS E.b.2.

Estate accounts of Sir Nathaniel Bacon, 1598-1601. Folger MS E.b.3

Copy of the will of Sir Nathaniel Bacon of Stiffkey, May 10, 1614, copy 1614 June 4. Folger MS Z.c.24 (24).

Letter signed from Sir Nathaniel Bacon, Stiffkey, to Sir Roger Townshend, London, 1619 June 7. Folger MS X.c.94.

Autograph letter signed from Edward Bacon to Nathaniel Bacon, Cockthorpe, 1573/4 February 13. Folger MS X.c.41.

Letter signed from Sir Francis Walsingham to Lord Cromwell and Nathaniel Bacon, 1583 June 18. Folger MS X.c.19.

Tax roll signed from Nathaniel Bacon, Norfolk, to the Exchequer, 1589 May 2-5. Folger MS X.d.619.

Warrant concerning purveyance for the Queen's Household, 1596/7 March 16. Folger MS X.d.116.

Letter signed by Norfolk justices to officials of the several hundreds, 1598 September 5. Folger MS X.d.227.

Legal document signed from the Kings Bench, Southwark, to Sir Christopher Heydon, Sir John Townshend, Dr. John Hunt and Nathaniel Bacon, Esq., Norfolk, 1600 July 2. Folger MS X.d.620.

Examinations by Nathaniel Bacon, Norfolk Justice, of Stephen Nichols and 5 other suspected cut-purses, 1607 May 27. Folger MS X.d.346.

Processing Information

Processed by Folger Shakespeare Library staff.

Guide to the Papers of Nathaniel Bacon, 1574-1650 (bulk 1590-1622) Folger MS X.d.502 (1-51)
Finding aid prepared by Heather Wolfe, July 2001; revised by Alison E. Bridger, April 2010
July 2001
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • April 2010: Revised by Folger Staff, March 23, 2004; Converted from EAD 1.0 to EAD 2002 in 2010; imported into AT in 2010 and revised in April 2010

Repository Details

Part of the Folger Shakespeare Library Repository

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Washington DC 20003 USA