Cecil Papers Oxford in Italy ref 1570 (!)
Can anyone throw light on this entry in the Cecil papers that suggest a date of 1570 but refer to Oxford's being in Italy for perhaps 6 months (he would be 20 in 1570 and is known to have visited during 1575/6). Do they have their dates wrong? if not, what is going on?
If the original was in handwriting, might the 6 and 0 have been misread and transcribed as 1570 instead of 1576? Secretary Hand was quite fluid and these two could have been written fluidly quite easily. Lots of links online to learn to read Secretary Hand, e.g.:
Dear Martin, several years ago I received the following email from the late Ron Hess. I am not sure it will be of much help to you...but:
'Anyway, some of you may recall that I published a short article in the DeVere Soc. newsletter (not sure of the date), and spoke about it as part of speech at the White Plains, NY joint conference, on the subjects of: 1. Oxford and Beowulf, and 2. Oxford’s teenaged travels abroad. The first part about Beowulf was published in the SOS Newsletter (Summer 2006), but the second part was separately published in DVS News about the same time, as I said. A brief summary is that in 1567 to 69 the Earl of Sussex was sent on a 9 months mission to Vienna, Austria, to negotiate a marriage for QE1 to the Archduke Charles, taking with him “100 Gentleman Attendants,” and the expense of the Imperial Court in entertaining such an embassage was so great that the Emperor was said to have complained that it was bankrupting him. So, I noted that Oxford seems to have disappeared from history from 1567 to 69, after his registering at Greys Inn until he was noted as suffering from a fever and recuperating at Windsor Palace’s Garden, where he was alleged to have been tended by the Queen herself (a matter which seems to have inspired the poem, “Another Rare Dreame” in 1593 “The Phoenix Nest,” which poem I wrote about in an article in TOX 2005, or see my website article #1). So where was Oxford for that period of time? It turns out that similar absences can be found for Oxford’s uncle Arthur Golding, his former tutor Alexander Nowell, his future brother-in-law Thomas Cecil, both Puttenham brothers (George and Richard), and the list can go on and on. And of course, in 1570 Oxford served under Sussex in his raid into southern Scotland and was later his protégé at court, along with mentorship from Burghley of course. Then there’s the matter of a note to self by Burghley which he dated “1570,” even though orthodox scholars claim it was really 1576, in which he has a cryptic complaint that he was being blamed by court gossips for having stranded Oxford in Italy for “six months” without sending him money. So, was Oxford in Italy for six months during some time prior to 1570, or while he was still a teenager? If that note to self was correctly dated, it would appear so. My DVS News article had a short chronology which illustrated how all that I proposed actually did fit into a reasonable timeline.
If you go to the Wiki Biography for Alexander Nowell, it has him traveling in 1567-71 to Paris, Padua, Venice, Vienna, and then Germany, studying at the universities in each locale, and staying to teach in Germany, where his utter disappearance has been taken to denote his death there. But as you can see from my note above about Alvearie, it may be that Nowell returned to England after all, and may have had a hand in the Alvearie project prior to Baret’s death in 1578.
Anyway, my theory about Oxford’s teenaged travels hangs on slender threads as long as that “1570” date can be so cavalierly dismissed as a “mistake.” I asked the Conservator of the Hatfield House archives to render an opinion, and as my Vol. II, Appen. C noted, he sent me a penciled note claiming that under ultraviolet light there’s “a hint of” a an ascender to the zero in that date, which he believed made it a six. To which Figure 10 in my Vol. I asks the question, “an ascender like this?,” given that the zero is a robust number fully as large as the rest of the numbers in the date, not just a small circle as would be at the bottom of a six. It remains a puzzlement!'
Wow Alexander, that is fascinating and thankyou for the reply (and Amanda and Yvonne too). I see the idea that 1570 could/'should' be 1576, but it would be useful to see the original document and to see how Burleigh (Cecil as he then was) formed his sixes and zeroes. There does seem to be an absence of the young Edward from 'history' for about two years following the incident of his fatally wounding Cecil's servant : perhaps being sent on a trip abroad might do very nicely to get him out of the way and give time for the scandal to die down. It is mentioned on this site ( https://deveresociety.co.uk/edward-de-vere-as-shakespeare/chronology/) that Oxford sent Churchyard abroad in 1567 (this poet, soldier and verily Falstaffian character looms so much larger than I knew in Oxford's life and throughout most of it at that!). However, the next we hear of him he is in Windsor recuperating from a long and persistent malady (sounds to me like malaria that could only have been contracted in Southern Europe - Italy or Greece - that is highly speculative on my part based on no real 'evidence'). Are these De Vere's 'lost years'? (now, <there> would be an irony!). Must dissect and follow up on the Ron Hess mail you have posted above. Thanks again.