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CHARLES I - Letter Signed 1627 pleading the cause of a young couple

  • £3,250.00

CHARLES I (1600-1649)

Letter Signed (“Charles R”) to Sir Thomas Holte, asking him not to disinherit his son Edward, who had married without his father’s consent.
1 page folio with integral address leaf, with wafer seal to the address leaf, Rycote, 7 August 1627. 
“. . . We have taken knowledge of a marriage between yo[u]r Sonne, and daughter of late late Bisshop of London, and of yo[u]r dislike thereof, soe farr expressed as to threaten a disinheriting to your Sonne of whome we have also heard very well, as having many good partes that make him able to doe us Service . . . so therefore with all good encouragement than oppressed with a heavie hand where there is noe greater range of offense against him. And the Interest wee have in all o[u]r Subjectes, and specially in families of the best qualitie, giveth us cause to interpose in this, where the sen[t]ence proceeding against yo[u]r Sonne would endanger ye overthrowe of yo[u]r house (whereof there are soo many examples) and leave that tytle of honor w[hi]ch must descend upon him by our late ffathers gracious grant contemptible, when it should fall upon one deprived by yo[u]r Acte of the estate and means to support it. . . you may well hope that a blessing & many comfortes will follow by a daughter of so reverend and goodly man, whose other children are in soe hopefull wais and soe well disposed as an Allyance with them cannot be disparagem[ent]. And what inequalities you may thinke of between yo[u]r Sonne and her . . . wee will be ready to supplie by our grace and assistance in giving him advancem[en]t and imparting our favour to him, in such waies as his good partes & abilities shall make him capable of. Wee doe therefore recommend it to you that you doe not only forbeare any Acte against your Sonne in respect of this match, but that you restore him to your former favour and good opinion, wherein wee doubt not but our mediation upon grounds of so many reason . . . will soe farr prevaile with you as wee shall have cause to accept graciously your answere, w[hi]ch wee expect you retourne unto us . . .”
Sir Thomas Holte appears to have been prone to bursts of uncontrollable anger, and at times brutal. Twenty years earlier he had allegedly killed his cook for being late, and although no charges were brought at the time, he later sued an observer for slander for repeating the story. All charges were eventually quietly dropped, but the episode illustrates his harsh reputation.
Sir Thomas married well and substantially increased the family fortune through his marriage, so it is unsurprising that he reacted with fury when his son married an obviously worthy, but impecunious, lady. His son Edward did marry Elizabeth King, daughter of the late Bishop of London, Sir Thomas obeyed the King and withdrew his threat to disinherit him, and Charles kept his promise to assist Edward by appointing him a groom of his bedchamber.
The story, however, did not end entirely happily. Sir Thomas may not have disinherited his son, but nor did he give him any financial assistance, and the couple lived in straightened circumstances. Edward was wounded at the battle of Edgehill and although he apparently recovered, he died of a fever in 1643. Sir Thomas outlived his son by seven years; although he had not disinherited his son and the estate went to his grandson, he left nothing to his son’s widow Elizabeth.
Charles I revered the memory of his father, something which reached its visual zenith in Charles’ commissioning of Rubens’ ceiling at Banqueting House, a grand artistic celebration of the reign of James I. It is therefore appropriate that not only would he be saddened at the harshness of Sir Thomas’ threats, but also horrified that the succession of a baronetcy which had been bestowed by “our late father’s gracious grant” should be treated with such disregard.
The address panel is rather dusty and browned, and there are minor holes at the folds, but the letter is otherwise in very good, clear condition.


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