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Spearshaker – a Film about the Secret Life of Francis Bacon


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ROBERT CECIL

Just a couple of years younger than his illustrious cousin Francis, Robert Cecil always resented the adoration and specialness of Francis and in his mind he represented his great adversary. By many accounts Robert was also very learned and witty but lacked the great warmth and philanthropic visions of his cousin. He also suffered from a curvature of the spine and was of low stature, and his physicality was cruelly mocked with Elizabeth referring to him as her ‘little pygmy’ and James as his ‘little beagle’. When Robert learnt the secret of Francis’ royal birth he hated him and feared him all the more and was an instigator in provoking the ferocious outburst by Elizabeth where she inadvertently revealed her great secret.

Years went by and Cecil with his father’s support was being tutored for the offices of great state whilst Bacon was left to study and practice the law without any elevation whatsoever aside from being created Elizabeth’s special legal advisor.
 
Elizabeth never quite trusted Robert the way she had his father, they were a different generation and she mistrusted his personal agendas and machinations. Apart from physical similarities, many of Richard III’s attributes can be traced to Bacon’s cousin Robert Cecil, parallels not lost on their contemporaries. Despite Elizabeth’s reservations, Cecil seamlessly filled his father’s position as Secretary of State after his death and attained huge preferments and privileges in James’ reign also. When Elizabeth was dying Cecil harangued her saying she must sign the document naming James as her heir.
‘Little man, little man, 'Must' is not a word to use to princes. Your father were he here durst never speak to me so’; but she added ironically ‘Ah, but ye know that I must die, and it makes you presumptuous.’
 
Cecil greatly feared her naming Francis and what that would mean for him. In reality Bacon didn’t have a vengeful bone in his body but fears make the mind irrational and Cecil ensured that if she did name Francis, no one else would know of it. After Elizabeth’s death, Cecil announced that she had named James who Cecil had long been in communication with, shoring up all the goodwill from the new monarch. James I was very grateful to Cecil for creating a smooth accession for him and rewarded him by raising him to the peerage and creating him Baron Cecil. There was to be a high price though. An able and astute politician, James loaded mountainous amounts of work upon Cecil’s slight shoulders and stress, ailing health and exhaustion meant he died aged 48.
 
As is the case with some long held grudges and enmities, with age, revenge and hatreds cool and the participants forget what all the fuss was about, and so it was that Francis and Cecil were greatly reconciled during his illness and subsequent death. Bacon dedicated his Wisdom of the Ancients to Cecil asking him to ‘accept it as a pledge of my affection, observance, and devotion to yourself, and will accord it to the protection of your name.’

Robert-Cecil-1st-Earl-of-Salisbury.jpg

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PLACES

GORHAMBURY

Lord Keeper Nicholas Bacon decided he needed a country residence closer to London than Redgrave in Suffolk and chose St Albans in Hertfordshire for his new mansion Gorhambury. Work began in 1563 which meant his young sons Anthony and Francis' very early years were spent at York House in London. By 1568 Gorhambury was complete. A very extensive country house built of flint and stone, it had a magnificent porch, cloisters, chapel, buttery, kitchens, ballroom and gardens and an innovative pumping system to bring water through lead pipes.

Sir Nicholas Bacon intended Gorhambury to be an academy of learning and his young sons Anthony and Francis had an unsurpassed and expansive education with tutors and overseen by Lady Anne Bacon who was a renowned classics scholar and could translate and speak Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian. Sometime before 1574 a long gallery was constructed which depicted many strikingly visual representations of the wise sayings of their favourite classic authors Seneca and Cicero.
 
In 1572 it was Sir Nicholas Bacon’s turn to welcome Queen Elizabeth to Gorhambury for three days of feasting and entertainments. You can only imagine the excitement of the young Bacon boys at this spectacular event. Her visits were always a mixed blessing for the hosts, there was a necessity to please and a large financial burden as Elizabeth travelled with a huge entourage. A Royal visit was socially prestigious though and Elizabeth was apparently ’merry. . .at Gorhambury’, so all's well that ends well. Elizabeth and Nicholas were both of lively wit and Elizabeth was said to have commented ‘My Lord Keeper, what a little house you have gotten.’ To which the large framed Nicholas Bacon replied ‘My house is well Madam, but you have made me too great for my house.’ Nicholas took the royal hint and extended Gorhambury for the next majestic extravanganza.
 
7b48b1_e8a70607694c40b998bd039e94a6fb33~
 
 
Artist's Impression of Bacon's Gorhambury
Queen Elizabeth dined at Gorhambury when in the area and in 1577 there was another four day visit. Nicholas and Anne Bacon must have taken a deep breath on contemplating the costs. The bells rang out once more and players and musicians came to entertain. Elizabeth was presented with many gifts from the hosts including an emerald, ruby and pearl encrusted cup. On top of this extravagance, the visit was reported to have cost around £120,000 in today’s money and unfortunately there was almost £2,000 worth of linen and pewter reported missing or damaged presumably by deviant courtiers.
 
On Sir Nicholas’ death in 1579, Gorhambury was left to Anthony Bacon with Lady Anne still living there and effectively running the household as Anthony spent over a decade abroad working for the English Secret Service. Following the death of Lady Bacon in 1610, Gorhambury was left to Francis Bacon who on his recorded death in 1626 it passed to his former secretary, friend and confidante Sir Thomas Meautys. Meautys married Anne Bacon (Francis Bacon’s great niece) ensuring that a Bacon still resided at Gorhambury, at least for a while. Anne’s second husband was Sir Harbottle Grimston and to this day Gorhambury is still owned by the Grimston family. In the 18th century the house sadly fell into disrepair and New Gorhambury House was built. The Bacon’s Gorhambury ‘The Academy of Learning’ was left to crumble in the parkland that surrounds it, ruins of what must have been a truly magnificent and inspiring place to live.
 
7b48b1_04fcf44c0f2b488cb6be43397f963711~
 
 
A Gorhambury quarto
 

In 1909 eight Shakespeare quartos were discovered at Gorhambury most likely transferred from Bacon’s personal library in the old Gorhambury House, which were transferred for safe-keeping into the care of the Bodleian Library, where they still remain to the present day: Romeo and Juliet 1599, Richard III 1602, Hamlet 1605, King Lear 1608, Titus Andronicus 1611, King John 1611, King Henry IV 1613 and Richard II 1615.

Imagine the headlines around the world if eight Shakespeare quartos were discovered in the house of William Shakspere of Stratford or one of his relatives or descendants!
 
 

Gorham.jpg

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HENRY VI PART 2

 

7b48b1_21d28f37ca564ce89b8c579d087d2261~
 
In the play his uncle and patron William Cecil, Lord Burghley is identified with Lord Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and his wife Mildred Cooke Cecil (sister of Bacon’s mother Lady Anne Cooke Bacon) with Dame Eleanor of Gloucester. The Bacon family Gorhambury estate is located on the edge of the town of St Albans and within walking distance of the estate stands the St Albans Cathedral the final resting place of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester the dominant figure in the first three acts of 2 Henry VI. He was buried on the south side of the Shrine of St Alban inscribed with an epitaph referring to the miracle of a blind impostor. The miracle referred to in the Latin inscription attached to the tomb of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester is made much of by Bacon in 2 Henry VI, a local St Alban’s legend, to which Bacon devotes over a hundred lines to in Act 2 Scene I (lines 62-165).
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1 hour ago, A Phoenix said:

PEOPLE

ROBERT CECIL

Just a couple of years younger than his illustrious cousin Francis, Robert Cecil always resented the adoration and specialness of Francis and in his mind he represented his great adversary. By many accounts Robert was also very learned and witty but lacked the great warmth and philanthropic visions of his cousin. He also suffered from a curvature of the spine and was of low stature, and his physicality was cruelly mocked with Elizabeth referring to him as her ‘little pygmy’ and James as his ‘little beagle’. When Robert learnt the secret of Francis’ royal birth he hated him and feared him all the more and was an instigator in provoking the ferocious outburst by Elizabeth where she inadvertently revealed her great secret.

Years went by and Cecil with his father’s support was being tutored for the offices of great state whilst Bacon was left to study and practice the law without any elevation whatsoever aside from being created Elizabeth’s special legal advisor.
 
Elizabeth never quite trusted Robert the way she had his father, they were a different generation and she mistrusted his personal agendas and machinations. Apart from physical similarities, many of Richard III’s attributes can be traced to Bacon’s cousin Robert Cecil, parallels not lost on their contemporaries. Despite Elizabeth’s reservations, Cecil seamlessly filled his father’s position as Secretary of State after his death and attained huge preferments and privileges in James’ reign also. When Elizabeth was dying Cecil harangued her saying she must sign the document naming James as her heir.
‘Little man, little man, 'Must' is not a word to use to princes. Your father were he here durst never speak to me so’; but she added ironically ‘Ah, but ye know that I must die, and it makes you presumptuous.’
 
Cecil greatly feared her naming Francis and what that would mean for him. In reality Bacon didn’t have a vengeful bone in his body but fears make the mind irrational and Cecil ensured that if she did name Francis, no one else would know of it. After Elizabeth’s death, Cecil announced that she had named James who Cecil had long been in communication with, shoring up all the goodwill from the new monarch. James I was very grateful to Cecil for creating a smooth accession for him and rewarded him by raising him to the peerage and creating him Baron Cecil. There was to be a high price though. An able and astute politician, James loaded mountainous amounts of work upon Cecil’s slight shoulders and stress, ailing health and exhaustion meant he died aged 48.
 
As is the case with some long held grudges and enmities, with age, revenge and hatreds cool and the participants forget what all the fuss was about, and so it was that Francis and Cecil were greatly reconciled during his illness and subsequent death. Bacon dedicated his Wisdom of the Ancients to Cecil asking him to ‘accept it as a pledge of my affection, observance, and devotion to yourself, and will accord it to the protection of your name.’

Robert-Cecil-1st-Earl-of-Salisbury.jpg

Sero, sed serio = late, but in earnest (or seriously). Strange motto.

Edited by Eric Roberts
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1 hour ago, A Phoenix said:

PLACES

GORHAMBURY

Lord Keeper Nicholas Bacon decided he needed a country residence closer to London than Redgrave in Suffolk and chose St Albans in Hertfordshire for his new mansion Gorhambury. Work began in 1563 which meant his young sons Anthony and Francis' very early years were spent at York House in London. By 1568 Gorhambury was complete. A very extensive country house built of flint and stone, it had a magnificent porch, cloisters, chapel, buttery, kitchens, ballroom and gardens and an innovative pumping system to bring water through lead pipes.

Sir Nicholas Bacon intended Gorhambury to be an academy of learning and his young sons Anthony and Francis had an unsurpassed and expansive education with tutors and overseen by Lady Anne Bacon who was a renowned classics scholar and could translate and speak Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian. Sometime before 1574 a long gallery was constructed which depicted many strikingly visual representations of the wise sayings of their favourite classic authors Seneca and Cicero.
 
In 1572 it was Sir Nicholas Bacon’s turn to welcome Queen Elizabeth to Gorhambury for three days of feasting and entertainments. You can only imagine the excitement of the young Bacon boys at this spectacular event. Her visits were always a mixed blessing for the hosts, there was a necessity to please and a large financial burden as Elizabeth travelled with a huge entourage. A Royal visit was socially prestigious though and Elizabeth was apparently ’merry. . .at Gorhambury’, so all's well that ends well. Elizabeth and Nicholas were both of lively wit and Elizabeth was said to have commented ‘My Lord Keeper, what a little house you have gotten.’ To which the large framed Nicholas Bacon replied ‘My house is well Madam, but you have made me too great for my house.’ Nicholas took the royal hint and extended Gorhambury for the next majestic extravanganza.
 
7b48b1_e8a70607694c40b998bd039e94a6fb33~
 
 
Artist's Impression of Bacon's Gorhambury
Queen Elizabeth dined at Gorhambury when in the area and in 1577 there was another four day visit. Nicholas and Anne Bacon must have taken a deep breath on contemplating the costs. The bells rang out once more and players and musicians came to entertain. Elizabeth was presented with many gifts from the hosts including an emerald, ruby and pearl encrusted cup. On top of this extravagance, the visit was reported to have cost around £120,000 in today’s money and unfortunately there was almost £2,000 worth of linen and pewter reported missing or damaged presumably by deviant courtiers.
 
On Sir Nicholas’ death in 1579, Gorhambury was left to Anthony Bacon with Lady Anne still living there and effectively running the household as Anthony spent over a decade abroad working for the English Secret Service. Following the death of Lady Bacon in 1610, Gorhambury was left to Francis Bacon who on his recorded death in 1626 it passed to his former secretary, friend and confidante Sir Thomas Meautys. Meautys married Anne Bacon (Francis Bacon’s great niece) ensuring that a Bacon still resided at Gorhambury, at least for a while. Anne’s second husband was Sir Harbottle Grimston and to this day Gorhambury is still owned by the Grimston family. In the 18th century the house sadly fell into disrepair and New Gorhambury House was built. The Bacon’s Gorhambury ‘The Academy of Learning’ was left to crumble in the parkland that surrounds it, ruins of what must have been a truly magnificent and inspiring place to live.
 
7b48b1_04fcf44c0f2b488cb6be43397f963711~
 
 
A Gorhambury quarto
 

In 1909 eight Shakespeare quartos were discovered at Gorhambury most likely transferred from Bacon’s personal library in the old Gorhambury House, which were transferred for safe-keeping into the care of the Bodleian Library, where they still remain to the present day: Romeo and Juliet 1599, Richard III 1602, Hamlet 1605, King Lear 1608, Titus Andronicus 1611, King John 1611, King Henry IV 1613 and Richard II 1615.

Imagine the headlines around the world if eight Shakespeare quartos were discovered in the house of William Shakspere of Stratford or one of his relatives or descendants!
 
 

Gorham.jpg

Hi Phoenixes

 

Thank you for these accessible, informative summaries of people and places that are of significance in Bacon's life. The Spearshaker website looks great. I'm sure it will continue to grow into an invaluable resource.

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1 hour ago, A Phoenix said:

PLAYS

HENRY VI PART 2

 

7b48b1_21d28f37ca564ce89b8c579d087d2261~
 
In the play his uncle and patron William Cecil, Lord Burghley is identified with Lord Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and his wife Mildred Cooke Cecil (sister of Bacon’s mother Lady Anne Cooke Bacon) with Dame Eleanor of Gloucester. The Bacon family Gorhambury estate is located on the edge of the town of St Albans and within walking distance of the estate stands the St Albans Cathedral the final resting place of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester the dominant figure in the first three acts of 2 Henry VI. He was buried on the south side of the Shrine of St Alban inscribed with an epitaph referring to the miracle of a blind impostor. The miracle referred to in the Latin inscription attached to the tomb of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester is made much of by Bacon in 2 Henry VI, a local St Alban’s legend, to which Bacon devotes over a hundred lines to in Act 2 Scene I (lines 62-165).

https://anhistorianabouttown.com/tomb-of-humphrey-duke-of-gloucester/

https://onceiwasacleverboy.blogspot.com/2017/02/humphrey-duke-of-gloucester.html

Site_of_the_burial_of_Humphrey_Duke_of_Gloucester_St_Albans_Cathedral_August_2021.jpeg.8513165a33dca380326c3032a23b95cd.jpeg

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PEOPLE
 
LADY ELIZABETH COOKE HOBY RUSSELL
7b48b1_cc7d306eb12442c9bbdd6910d9b39826~
 
Elizabeth Cooke was an older sister of Lady Anne Bacon and like all the Cooke family had been educated to a very high standard with Elizabeth excelling in poetry and music and becoming a patron of the famous court musician and composer John Dowland. Bacon’s aunt was considered formidable, forthright in her opinions, and a great friend and confidante to Queen Elizabeth.
 
Her first marriage was to Sir Thomas Hoby owner of Bisham Abbey in Berkshire and renowned for his translation of the Elizabethan bestseller The Courtier by Castiglione. Following Hoby’s death she married Lord John Russell. She was a devout Puritan and vociferously objected to the building of Blackfriars theatre near her London residence. Through the sometimes weary support of her brother in law William Cecil, Elizabeth sought preferments and titles for her children and became involved in many litigious disputes and squabbles often turning to her nephew Francis Bacon for advice.
 
She entertained the Queen at Bisham Abbey and hosted the six day Bisham entertainments in the Summer of 1592 written and produced by her nephew Francis Bacon. There are many resemblances between these masques and the Shakespeare plays. Apart from entertainments, the Privy Council were also known to meet at Bisham from time to time.
 
In London she lived in the wealthy area of Blackfriars. She lived next door to Richard Field the printer who printed anti-Catholic works for William Cecil some years before the Shakespeare poems appeared. Down the road was the mansion of Henry Carey Lord Hunsdon patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s men whose daughter Margaret married her son Edward Hoby.
 
Elizabeth was certainly a force to be reckoned with and her and her family exploits are recorded many times throughout the Shakespeare plays. She died in 1609 and is buried near Bisham Abbey at All Saint’s Church in the Hoby Chapel with a magnificent monument erected to her memory designed by her own good self. Bisham Abbey on the banks of the River Thames is standing today very much as it would have been in Elizabethan times. Legend has it that Elizabeth haunts the old manor house and in the Great Hall her portrait still hangs imperiously watching over all she surveys.
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PLACES
GRAY'S INN
7b48b1_2a9334fd97404edabcfa973d0555eab4~
Gray's Inn, Hall, Chapel & Library
Gray’s Inn was one of the four Inns of Court to which students attended to study the Law. In reality for many young noblemen who attended the Inns they were more of a gentlemen’s club where they could meet and network with the benefit of being in close proximity to theatres, brothels and gambling clubs. Surveillance was lax and many members took advantage of this freedom.
 
Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon and William Cecil had been prominent Grayans and Francis Bacon had been admitted to Gray’s Inn in June 1576 aged 15 but didn’t take up his place until 1579 when he returned from the Continent working on state business. Both Anthony and Francis were installed in the Bacon family chambers which were located next to the library opposite the gateway in the hope that they
 
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Bacon family chambers are Z on the map
would follow in Sir Nicholas’ footsteps. Like the elder brothers Nicholas, Nathanial and Edward, Anthony had little or no interest in the law but saw the Gray’s Inn family chambers as a convenient London base to expand his social network that would become important for his work as an agent for the crown. Similarly Francis Bacon intimated his dislike for law as it ‘drank up too much of his time’ which he had dedicated to other matters namely the universal reformation of the whole world and the establishing and elevating of the English language through the writing of his Shakespeare works. With little state help, and out of necessity for furthering his vision, he was forced to study the law and eventually became the pre-eminent lawyer of the age elevated to the position of Lord Chancellor in 1618 like Sir Nicholas before him, meaning at least one son followed his legal example.
 
Law aside, there were compensations to be had at Gray’s Inn as it had a very fine reputation for producing masques, interludes and entertainments with Francis Bacon assuming the role of de facto Master of the Revels for these occasions. Puritan Lady Anne Bacon immediately fired off a missive communicating her disapproval, ‘I trust you will not mum nor masque nor sinfully revel at Gray’s Inn’.
 
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The Hall, Gray's Inn
In 1588 Bacon and Gray’s Inn produced The Misfortunes of Arthur for the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich Palace. At the famous Christmas Revels at Gray’s Inn 1594-5, Bacon organised a mock meeting of the Privy Council presided over by the Prince of Purpoole, Lord of Misrule, a cipher for Bacon himself-a Tudor Prince who was later married dressed head to toe in purple-the colour of royalty. It was during these revels that the first known performance of his Shakespeare play The Comedy of Errors was performed, a play about errors, confusion and mistaken themes prominent in his later acknowledged works.
 
As with many of the Gray’s Inn entertainments, the revels were attended by the most influential people of the day all within Bacon’s circle of family and friends, including his uncle Lord Burghley, his concealed royal brother the Earl of Essex, and his intimate friend the Earl of Southampton.
 
Later in the reign of King James, Bacon produced a masque to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to the Count Palatine and the following year The Masque of Flowers to celebrate the marriage of the Earl of Somerset to Lady Frances Howard.
 
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The Francis Bacon Statue, South Square, Gray's Inn
Bacon’s many theatrical involvements confutes the common false opinion (based on errors and confusion) that Bacon was not interested in drama and the theatre, when just a little look behind the curtain reveals exactly the opposite.
 
For many years of his life, Bacon spent much of his time at Gray’s Inn. Aside from his vast legal and dramatic contributions, he had been its treasurer and also involved in laying out the expansive walks and gardens of the Inn which can still be seen today. In celebration and commemoration of his vast contributions to Gray’s Inn, a statue was erected in honour of its favourite son in 1912, by F W Pomeroy which stands in South Square.
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PLAYS

HENRY VI PART 3

The second part of Henry VI culminates with the First Battle of St Albans where Richard kills the Duke of Somerset and York kills Lord Clifford. King Henry and Queen Margaret are defeated and flee to London where the victorious Yorkists pursue them.

7b48b1_d495f05e5b5141b198a204bfaec6ab98~
The third part of Henry VI continues where the second part finishes. In the first scene the Duke of York, his two sons Edward (afterwards Edward IV) and Richard (afterwards Richard III) and their followers discuss the First Battle of St Albans and in the second Act Warwick describes the Second Battle of St Albans that took place a short distance from the Bacon family estate at Gorhambury.
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5 hours ago, A Phoenix said:
PEOPLE
 
LADY ELIZABETH COOKE HOBY RUSSELL
7b48b1_cc7d306eb12442c9bbdd6910d9b39826~
 
Elizabeth Cooke was an older sister of Lady Anne Bacon and like all the Cooke family had been educated to a very high standard with Elizabeth excelling in poetry and music and becoming a patron of the famous court musician and composer John Dowland. Bacon’s aunt was considered formidable, forthright in her opinions, and a great friend and confidante to Queen Elizabeth.
 
Her first marriage was to Sir Thomas Hoby owner of Bisham Abbey in Berkshire and renowned for his translation of the Elizabethan bestseller The Courtier by Castiglione. Following Hoby’s death she married Lord John Russell. She was a devout Puritan and vociferously objected to the building of Blackfriars theatre near her London residence. Through the sometimes weary support of her brother in law William Cecil, Elizabeth sought preferments and titles for her children and became involved in many litigious disputes and squabbles often turning to her nephew Francis Bacon for advice.
 
She entertained the Queen at Bisham Abbey and hosted the six day Bisham entertainments in the Summer of 1592 written and produced by her nephew Francis Bacon. There are many resemblances between these masques and the Shakespeare plays. Apart from entertainments, the Privy Council were also known to meet at Bisham from time to time.
 
In London she lived in the wealthy area of Blackfriars. She lived next door to Richard Field the printer who printed anti-Catholic works for William Cecil some years before the Shakespeare poems appeared. Down the road was the mansion of Henry Carey Lord Hunsdon patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s men whose daughter Margaret married her son Edward Hoby.
 
Elizabeth was certainly a force to be reckoned with and her and her family exploits are recorded many times throughout the Shakespeare plays. She died in 1609 and is buried near Bisham Abbey at All Saint’s Church in the Hoby Chapel with a magnificent monument erected to her memory designed by her own good self. Bisham Abbey on the banks of the River Thames is standing today very much as it would have been in Elizabethan times. Legend has it that Elizabeth haunts the old manor house and in the Great Hall her portrait still hangs imperiously watching over all she surveys.

https://www.academia.edu/69260991/The_Anonymous_Bisham_Entertainment_1592_Written_by_Francis_Bacon_for_the_visit_of_his_Royal_Mother_Queen_Elizabeth_I_at_the_Estate_of_his_Aunt_Lady_Elizabeth_Russell_and_its_links_to_a_Significant_Number_of_his_Shakespeare_Plays

https://www.marlowsociety.org.uk/marlow-history/bisham-abbey/index.php

https://www.ribapix.com/Hoby-Chapel-All-Saints-Bisham-Berkshire-close-up-of-the-Swan-Monument-to-Lady-Margaret-Hoby-d1605_RIBA19071#

ScreenShot2023-10-26at11_39_39pm.png.f4e25675586f0c438c2d3742ab9436b9.png

https://www.ribapix.com/hoby-chapel-all-saints-bisham-berkshire-close-up-of-the-swan-monument-to-lady-margaret-hoby-d1605_riba18261

ScreenShot2023-10-26at11_45_45pm.png.acaea116b64178908ea3a2a00ea5ae8d.png

https://www.bishamchurchfriends.org/monuments

 

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5 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

PLAYS

HENRY VI PART 3

The second part of Henry VI culminates with the First Battle of St Albans where Richard kills the Duke of Somerset and York kills Lord Clifford. King Henry and Queen Margaret are defeated and flee to London where the victorious Yorkists pursue them.

7b48b1_d495f05e5b5141b198a204bfaec6ab98~
The third part of Henry VI continues where the second part finishes. In the first scene the Duke of York, his two sons Edward (afterwards Edward IV) and Richard (afterwards Richard III) and their followers discuss the First Battle of St Albans and in the second Act Warwick describes the Second Battle of St Albans that took place a short distance from the Bacon family estate at Gorhambury.

https://www.britannica.com/event/battles-of-Saint-Albans

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SIR THOMAS HOBY
7b48b1_c79ae06d53de47b6977be0f1f46dc639~
Uncle to Francis Bacon following his marriage to his aunt Elizabeth Cooke, Thomas Hoby was Ambassador to France, widely travelled and an accomplished translator. In 1561 Hoby published the first English translation of the influential The Courtier from the Italian of Castiglione. This book was a hugely popular hit in Elizabethan England as it considered Italian values and the role and attributes of a perfect courtier by debating love, women, humour, nobility, fashions and etiquette. Queen Elizabeth's tutor Roger Ascham, observed that a young man who carefully studied The Book of The Courtier would benefit from it more than from three years travel in Italy.
 
The book became a must-read bestseller for all aspiring gentlemen and its influence has been traced to several of the Shakespeare plays including Hamlet, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Measure for Measure.
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PLACES
HATTON HOUSE, LONDON
 
7b48b1_d19ee54ecd284a98b6cfdd1f13a4e8a1~
 
Agas map showing close proximity of Gray's Inn to Hatton House
Ely Place or Palace was the London residence of the bishops of Ely dating from around 1290. The estate was granted to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1577 and it became known as Hatton House. Following the death of Sir William Hatton it was left to Elizabeth Cecil Hatton, granddaughter of Sir William Cecil and second cousin to Francis Bacon. Francis had long wanted to marry his attractive and witty cousin but even when this didn’t materialise, they remained close friends and confidantes and she enlisted his help in extending and improving the famous Hatton House gardens. As Gray’s Inn was just a short walk over the fields from Hatton House they were near neighbours and the place as well as its vivacious occupant, obviously held fond memories for Bacon.
 
Bacon references Ely Place in his Shakespeare plays. In Richard II, old John of Gaunt who lived for a time at Ely Place delivers his royal throne of Kings speech from there. In Richard III Gloucester tells the Bishop of Ely, ‘My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there. I do beseech you, send for some of them’. Apparently the Ely gardens were historically famed for producing the best strawberries in London, gardens that were a mere 5 minute walk from Bacon at Gray’s Inn in Holborn.
 
Nothing remains today of Hatton House but the Hatton Garden area was named after its original occupant Sir Christopher Hatton.
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PLAYS

RICHARD III

The play Richard III concludes the first Shakespeare tetralogy (with I Henry VI, 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI) covering the War of the Roses.

7b48b1_8445ac6fee2b4ea5994ae21311c11e85~
The Cecil and Bacon family headed by Secretary of State Sir William Cecil and Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon the central twin pillars of the Elizabethan state were privately, socially and politically virtually indivisible. Sir William and Sir Nicholas were married to two of the celebrated Cooke sisters Lady Mildred Cooke Cecil and Lady Anne Cooke Bacon. The Cecils and Bacons built their country estates Theobalds and Gorhambury within twenty miles of each other in the county of Hertfordshire, where the two families together with their two children Robert Cecil (b. 1563) and Francis Bacon (b. 1561), regularly visited each other.
 
From a very young age there was a fierce rivalry between the two young cousins which continued throughout their lifetimes characterised by Bacon’s intense dislike of the sly and spiteful Cecil. Cecil was born with a curvature of the spine, and his cunning and deceitful nature is vividly painted in the titular character of Bacon’s Richard III and in his essay Of Deformity.
 
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4 hours ago, A Phoenix said:
PEOPLE
SIR THOMAS HOBY
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Uncle to Francis Bacon following his marriage to his aunt Elizabeth Cooke, Thomas Hoby was Ambassador to France, widely travelled and an accomplished translator. In 1561 Hoby published the first English translation of the influential The Courtier from the Italian of Castiglione. This book was a hugely popular hit in Elizabethan England as it considered Italian values and the role and attributes of a perfect courtier by debating love, women, humour, nobility, fashions and etiquette. Queen Elizabeth's tutor Roger Ascham, observed that a young man who carefully studied The Book of The Courtier would benefit from it more than from three years travel in Italy.
 
The book became a must-read bestseller for all aspiring gentlemen and its influence has been traced to several of the Shakespeare plays including Hamlet, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Measure for Measure.

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This title-page is from this beautiful trilingual version: 

https://archive.org/details/gri_33125009488665/mode/2up?view=theater

Here is a more readable version of the text:

https://archive.org/details/bookofcourtier00castuoft/page/n11/mode/2up

There's this great portrait by Titian of Baldessar Castiglione, c. 1525; another by Raphael - not too shabby.

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Edited by Eric Roberts
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4 hours ago, A Phoenix said:
PLACES
HATTON HOUSE, LONDON
 
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Agas map showing close proximity of Gray's Inn to Hatton House
Ely Place or Palace was the London residence of the bishops of Ely dating from around 1290. The estate was granted to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1577 and it became known as Hatton House. Following the death of Sir William Hatton it was left to Elizabeth Cecil Hatton, granddaughter of Sir William Cecil and second cousin to Francis Bacon. Francis had long wanted to marry his attractive and witty cousin but even when this didn’t materialise, they remained close friends and confidantes and she enlisted his help in extending and improving the famous Hatton House gardens. As Gray’s Inn was just a short walk over the fields from Hatton House they were near neighbours and the place as well as its vivacious occupant, obviously held fond memories for Bacon.
 
Bacon references Ely Place in his Shakespeare plays. In Richard II, old John of Gaunt who lived for a time at Ely Place delivers his royal throne of Kings speech from there. In Richard III Gloucester tells the Bishop of Ely, ‘My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there. I do beseech you, send for some of them’. Apparently the Ely gardens were historically famed for producing the best strawberries in London, gardens that were a mere 5 minute walk from Bacon at Gray’s Inn in Holborn.
 
Nothing remains today of Hatton House but the Hatton Garden area was named after its original occupant Sir Christopher Hatton.

After the death of William Hatton on 12 March 1597, and after a failed wooing by Sir Francis Bacon, Elizabeth married on 6 November 1598, Sir Edward Coke.Contrary to ecclesiastical law which stated that marriage was to be conducted at a church between 8 am and 12 noon, their marriage was conducted outside those hours and at a private house. Subsequently, all involved parties to the marriage were prosecuted for breaching ecclesiastical law and Sir Edward had to sue for a royal pardon.

Elizabeth was 26 years younger than Coke and had a disposition that was hot-tempered and articulate. They were said to be not compatible but at least well-matched.By 1604, Elizabeth's marriage to Sir Edward Coke deteriorated and she was said to have become a formidable character and thorn at her husband's side. They quarrelled over their respective rights to the Hatton estate which Elizabeth had inherited from her first husband. It was said the Spanish ambassador Gondomar told King James that she refused Coke access to Hatton House (Ely Place) in Holborn. The dispute became so bitter that the king intervened personally to mediate.[citation needed] Elizabeth and her husband were never reconciled: at his funeral she remarked "We shall never see his like again, thanks be to God".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Hatton

 

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4 hours ago, A Phoenix said:

PLAYS

RICHARD III

The play Richard III concludes the first Shakespeare tetralogy (with I Henry VI, 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI) covering the War of the Roses.

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The Cecil and Bacon family headed by Secretary of State Sir William Cecil and Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon the central twin pillars of the Elizabethan state were privately, socially and politically virtually indivisible. Sir William and Sir Nicholas were married to two of the celebrated Cooke sisters Lady Mildred Cooke Cecil and Lady Anne Cooke Bacon. The Cecils and Bacons built their country estates Theobalds and Gorhambury within twenty miles of each other in the county of Hertfordshire, where the two families together with their two children Robert Cecil (b. 1563) and Francis Bacon (b. 1561), regularly visited each other.
 
From a very young age there was a fierce rivalry between the two young cousins which continued throughout their lifetimes characterised by Bacon’s intense dislike of the sly and spiteful Cecil. Cecil was born with a curvature of the spine, and his cunning and deceitful nature is vividly painted in the titular character of Bacon’s Richard III and in his essay Of Deformity.
 

Thanks A.P. So interesting. Has anyone attempted to document their rivalry from childhood to the highest offices in the land?

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PEOPLE
SIR EDWARD HOBY
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Sir Edward Hoby was born at Bisham Abbey the son of Sir Thomas Hoby and Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell, Bacon’s garrulous aunt, so he and Francis were cousins. They were both Members of Parliament and Edward was a trusted diplomat and soldier accompanying his friend (and Francis’ concealed younger royal brother) Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex on his Cadiz campaign in 1596. With the influence of his Uncle William Cecil, Hoby was advanced at court and often used on special confidential missions.
 
Edward’s prospects improved further by his marriage to Margaret Carey daughter of Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon Patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and cousin to Queen Elizabeth. The day after the marriage Queen Elizabeth knighted him.
 
In 1595, he invited his cousin Sir Robert Cecil to his home in Cannon Row for dining and a performance of King Richard. Whether this was Richard II or Richard III is unclear but this was two years before either were printed. If their other cousin Francis Bacon happened to be at the gathering then so was the play’s author.
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PLACES

NORTHUMBERLAND HOUSE, THE STRAND, LONDON

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The Strand frontage of Northumberland House by Canaletto 1752
During the 1640s Northumberland House was the London residence of the Percy family, the earls and dukes of Northumberland along with their country seat at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Bacon and Henry Percy, the ninth Earl of Northumberland knew each other very well and shared many common interests. Northumberland was known as the ‘Wizard Earl’ because of his love for alchemy and scientific experiments as well as owning a large impressive library in his London residence Syon House. In 1594 Northumberland married Dorothy Devereux, sister of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, Bacon’s secret royal brother.
 
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Northumberland MS. transcription held at Alnwick
In 1867 at Northumberland House then still in the possession of the Percy family there was discovered a truly unique and most remarkable Elizabethan manuscript (c. 1596) of the utmost historical importance. The manuscript belonging to Francis Bacon contained copies of his early writings and originally housed his Shakespeare plays Richard II and Richard III. The contents page reveals explosive information with the names of Francis Bacon and William Shakespeare scribbled repeatedly all over its outer cover. This is the only contemporary Elizabethan document in the world that features the names of Bacon and Shakespeare. The critically important Bacon-Shakespeare manuscript is now held at the Northumberland’s country seat at Alnwick Castle.
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PLAYS

TITUS ANDRONICUS

During the period Bacon was writing his first Shakespeare tetralogy (I Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, 3 Henry VI and Richard III) he also wrote his Roman history play Titus Andronicus.

 
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It has been said by many orthodox scholars that Titus Andronicus is the first of the Shakespeare plays. Whether it is the first or not, it is certainly one of the earliest.
 
The play is best understood in relation to Bacon’s essay Of Revenge. The theme of revenge structures the whole of Titus Andronicus at every level and it is the motif that permeates its symbolism, imagery and language in a context of law and justice; where one ends and the other begins, and where there is no law or lawful justice, a wild kind of justice reigns throughout the play.
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'Fascinating idea for a movie!'

Thanks to Freemason and journalist 'The Magpie Mason' who has just posted a wonderful blog about the filmic project Spearshaker exploring the Life and Times of Francis Bacon.

'The Magpie Mason is an obscure journalist in the Craft who writes, with occasional flashes of superficial cleverness, about Freemasonry’s current events and history; literature and art; philosophy and pipe smoking. He is a Past Master who tiles Publicity Lodge 1000 and pays the Craft their wages (IF any be due!) at The American Lodge of Research, both in New York City. He is a past president of the Masonic Society'

Read here: https://themagpiemason.blogspot.com/2023/10/film-project-spearshaker-knowledge-is.html

Magpie1.jpg

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3 hours ago, A Phoenix said:
PEOPLE
SIR EDWARD HOBY
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Sir Edward Hoby was born at Bisham Abbey the son of Sir Thomas Hoby and Elizabeth Cooke Hoby Russell, Bacon’s garrulous aunt, so he and Francis were cousins. They were both Members of Parliament and Edward was a trusted diplomat and soldier accompanying his friend (and Francis’ concealed younger royal brother) Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex on his Cadiz campaign in 1596. With the influence of his Uncle William Cecil, Hoby was advanced at court and often used on special confidential missions.
 
Edward’s prospects improved further by his marriage to Margaret Carey daughter of Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon Patron of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and cousin to Queen Elizabeth. The day after the marriage Queen Elizabeth knighted him.
 
In 1595, he invited his cousin Sir Robert Cecil to his home in Cannon Row for dining and a performance of King Richard. Whether this was Richard II or Richard III is unclear but this was two years before either were printed. If their other cousin Francis Bacon happened to be at the gathering then so was the play’s author.

This portrait of Sir Edward Hoby is in the NPG. Artist unknown. The inscription in the top left corner tells us it was painted in 1583 when Hoby was 23 years old. 

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