Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, 1641-1702

Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, 1641-1702

Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, 1641-1702

Robert Spencer, Earl of Sunderland, 1641-1702


This book was written while I was first a research student, subsequently a Fellow, of Christ's College, Cambridge. The Master and Fellows of that college have placed me for ever in their debt.

It was Professor G. R. Potter who encouraged me to choose my own line of study and, having chosen it, to persevere with it. I remember his kindness with gratitude. Mr K. H. D. Haley put me on the right path during my first year of research, at Sheffield University, and I have profited from discussions and conversations with him since.

For the past six years I have had the privilege of working under or with Dr J. H. Plumb. In general my debt to him is such that I cannot discuss it here, only record it. More particularly, he has read this work in at least half a dozen successive versions, always with a good humour and patience he must often have been far from feeling, and his criticisms, comments and suggestions have been of the greatest value.

For permitting me to use documents or paintings in their possession I am most grateful to the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, the Duke of Marlborough and the Duke of Portland, the late dowager Marchioness of Bristol, the Marquess of Downshire, the Earl Spencer, Sir Gyles Isham, the Warden and Fellows of All Souls' College, Mr John Evelyn, and the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement. With especial gratitude I remember Lord Spencer's personal kindness and hospitality, and the interest he has always taken in my work.

In common with all historians I have received invaluable assistance from the officials of the depositaries and libraries in which I have worked: the University Libraries of Cambridge, Sheffield and Nottingham; the Bodleian, Christ Church and the Codrington Library; the British Museum, the Public Record Office and Lambeth Palace; and les Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères. I should like to mention particularly Mr W. G. Hiscock of Christ Church, who guided me through the Evelyn collection, and Mr E. K. Tymings of the Public Record Office, under whose auspices I peered at my first seventeenth-century manuscript many years ago.

Mr David Ogg and Mr B. H. G. Wormald read this work in the . . .

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