John North's Private Accounts

Bodl.: MS. Add. C. 193

f 3v (12 September) (At Dover, payments on the way to Italy)


geven to a poore mayde which playde of the lute xij d.


  • Document Description

    Record title: John North's Private Accounts
    Repository: Bodl.
    Shelfmark: MS. Add. C. 193
    Repository location: Oxford

    Sir John North (c 1550–97) was the son of Roger North (1531–1600), second Baron North, and Winifred Rich (d. 1578), daughter of Richard Rich (1496/7–1567), first Baron Rich, and widow of Sir Henry Dudley. From 1562 North was instructed at Peterhouse and Trinity Colleges, Cambridge, by John Whitgift, master of Trinity College (from 1567), taking his MA in May 1572. Subsequently John was admitted to Gray's Inn and in October 1575 he travelled to Italy to finish his education, staying there until November 1577. On his trip to Italy, John spent time in the Netherlands and the Palatine, meeting there veterans of the Dutch revolt; in the spring of 1577/8, North left England again for the Low Countries, this time to fight with the Dutch as a gentleman volunteer, and stayed until 1580. On 13 November 1581 John married Dorothy (née Dale, 1560–1618), the only daughter of Dr Valentine Dale (c 1520–89), civil lawyer, resident ambassador in Paris, 15 April 1573–October 1576, dean of Wells and canon residentiary, 8 January 1574–89, and master of Requests (possibly by 1564, but definitely from 1576–89), and Elizabeth Forth (d. 1590), daughter of Dr Robert Forth (d. 1595). John and Dorothy resided at Kirtling Hall, the manor where George North wrote his 'A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels' (see the Introduction, 'Historical Background: Cambridgeshire Families'). John and Dorothy had four sons, Dudley North (bap. 1582, d. 1666), third Baron North, Sir John North, KB, Roger North, the navigator, and Gilbert, and two daughters, Elizabeth, who married William Horsey, son of Sir Jerome Horsey, and Mary, who married Sir Francis Coningsby of South Mimms, Hertfordshire. John returned to the Netherlands in February 1581/2 under Robert Dudley (1532–88), fourteenth earl of Leicester – and godfather to John's eldest son Dudley – to accompany the Duc d'Anjou for his installation as governor general. There, he famously quarrelled with Sir John Norris [Norreys], colonel-general of the English forces, refusing to accept Norris's command. He remained there until the spring of 1583/4, when he returned to England to serve as MP for Cambridgeshire in the parliaments of 1584, 1586, and 1588. He returned to the Netherlands a third time in 1587, travelled to Ireland in 1595, and finally to the Low Countries in 1597, where he died 5 June. Dorothy remarried in 1604 (Michael Hicks, 'Dale, Valentine (c 1520–1589), civil lawyer and diplomat,' ODNB, accessed 28 September 2021); John S. Nolan, Sir John Norreys and the Elizabethan Military World (Exeter, 1997), pp 51–3; HPO, accessed 28 September 2021; D.J.B. Trim, 'North, Sir John (c 1550–1597), soldier and traveller,' ODNB, accessed 28 September 2021).

    The following records are drawn from John North's private accounts, which also include Lady North's travel accounts (ff 16v–23v) and John's trip journal. He reached Mantua on 3 November 1575 (f 11v), at which point the accounts are interrupted by a description of what he found there. The accounts resume on f 13v, with other material mixed in, to f 16. Folio 16v begins a new hand and includes accounts dated 1588 (mostly foodstuffs). On f 20 is there is a notation that on 'viijth of April Mr Northe went into Suffolk.' This hand ends on f 23, dated October 1589. A third hand then begins f 24 in Italian, dated 1577.

    Recognition and gratitude are owed to Dr Emily Mayne for her systematic check of these records, including her translations from the Italian and her contributions to the research in the footnotes and endnotes.

    1577–89; English and Italian; paper: ii + 93; 255mm x 90mm; contemporary ink foliation; contemporary vellum binding, 2 leather tabs on spine, title on spine in later writing, 'Ms Bodl Add C 193.'

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