The Private Correspondence of Jane Lady Cornwallis Bacon, 1613-1644

The Private Correspondence of Jane Lady Cornwallis Bacon, 1613-1644

The Private Correspondence of Jane Lady Cornwallis Bacon, 1613-1644

The Private Correspondence of Jane Lady Cornwallis Bacon, 1613-1644

Synopsis

The letters of Jane Lady Cornwallis Bacon offer the richly illuminating story of a loving mother and devoted friend. Cumulatively, they provide an unfolding, sometimes self-dramatizing narrative, one which details the expansive life of a privileged woman and her family throughout the turbulent years of the early to mid-17th century. of West Ham, Essex, and Phillippa, daughter of Richard Cooke of Gidea Hall, Essex. In 1608 she married Sir William Cornwallis, of Brome, Suffolk, who died in 1611 when their son Frederick was one year and three days old. In 1614 she married Nathaniel Bacon, of Culford, Suffolk, with whom she had three children, Anne, Nicholas, and Jane. For many years she looked after her own children and those of her relatives in the large and comfortable home at Culford, where she died in 1659. Correspondence of Lady Jane Cornwallis Bacon, 1613-1644 constitutes a unique collection. It brings to life the interests and concerns of a family living in England before the Civil War, and gives insight into the complex yet recognizable relationships for the first time and thereby form a major contribution to our knowledge of Jacobean and Stuart family life.

Excerpt

This is a new edition of Jane Lady Cornwallis Bacon's letters, a selection being originally published under her name by her first husband as The Private Correspondence of Jane Lady Cornwallis, 1613–1644 from the originals in the possession of the family, London: S & J. Bentley, 1842. They were edited anonymously by Richard Griffin Neville, third Baron Braybrooke (1783–1858) of Audley End, Essex, who had married Jane Cornwallis, eldest daughter and co-heir of Charles, second and last Marquess Cornwallis. They formed a portion of a large mass of manuscript papers that had been found among family archives at Brome and Culford, in Suffolk, where his wife had been born, and she agreed with her sisters, coheirs, to put them at the disposal of her scholarly husband. He is chiefly remembered for his participation in the publication of Samuel Pepys’s diary and correspondence, on which he was working at the time these other seventeenth-century letters came to light.

The title of his edition reflects the family interest in the Cornwallis ancestry rather than the Bacon forebears, and it included detailed pedigrees of the Meautys and Cornwallis families. His wife’s ancestor, Lady Jane, came from the well-established Meautys family, being of French origin. She married twice: firstly, in 1608, to Sir William Cornwallis, of Brome, who died in 1611; and secondly, in 1614, to Nathaniel Bacon, seventh son of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Culford, premier baronet of England and cousin to the statesman-philosopher Sir Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans. the pedigrees had been researched by friends and colleagues, J. Gage Rokewode and C. G. Young, whom, Lord Braybrooke noted, also helped in the progress of the work, revising the sheets, suggesting explanatory notes, and arranging the order of the letters. the Meautys/Cornwallis rather than the Bacon connection was thus given greater emphasis, though the greater part of Lady Jane’s adult years were spent in association with her second husband’s family.

The manuscripts were kept at Audley End until the start of the twentieth century, when the ninth Baron Braybrooke gave most . . .

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