Letter to the Editor Regarding my article on Bridget de Vere

Letter to the Editor Regarding my article on Bridget de Vere

Regarding my article on Bridget de Vere in DVS Newsletter, Vol. 28, No.1, (January 2021), I wrongly stated that the letter Bridget wrote on 16 April 1599, regarding Sir Henry Maynard, is the only one of her letters to survive (p.17). This is incorrect and a further letter is known. Bridget’s letter to Robert Cecil is dated 30 October, said to be endorsed ‘1605’ and concerned the recovery from a serious illness of her husband, Francis Norris. Sometime after March 1605, Francis had travelled abroad on a tour of Spain, accompanied by Dudley Carleton. On the way back, Francis fell seriously ill in Paris and Carleton remained with him until he recovered. The letter Bridget wrote from Rycote, the Norris family estate, during Francis’s absence abroad is cited on Nina Green’s website as follows:

Right Honourable, I cannot sufficiently express my entire and humble thanks for your Lordship’s great love and care of me, which I have ever found to be such as I wish to live no longer than I may in all dutiful manner deserve the continuance of the same. Nothing in this world could be more welcome unto me than this good news of my Lord my husband’s recovery which your Honour writes of, for I have been much grieved to hear of his sickness. I have sent one a purpose two days ago to him, and have written another letter, if please your Lordship to do me the favour send it. I refer all to God, and my estate, howsoever, still to your honourable protection. Thus I leave to trouble your Honour any further. I humbly take my leave and rest, Your Lordship’s loving niece to command, B. Norris.

I do not know whether my Lord’s absence from Parliament without licence from his Majesty may be finable, though the occasion be his sickness. I humbly beseech your Lordship if you think it fit acquaint his Majesty therewith, and that you will be pleased to entreat whom you will for his proxy. From Rycote October the 30.

To the right honourable my very loving uncle, the Earl of Salisbury, give these. Endorsed: October 30, Lady Norris to my Lord

Bridget mentions a letter she had written and sent two days earlier and another which she probably enclosed with this one. These have either been lost or not yet come to light. By March 1606 it appears that Bridget and Francis were separated and the marriage was over. Letters from Dudley Carleton and John Chamberlain regarding Francis Norris’s illness and return home can be found on Nina Green’s website at: http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/


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