Lord North's Household Accounts

BL: Stowe MS 774, vol II

f 107v (4 November 1585–27 November 1586)


Trompett & Cornett paid for ij trompetts with banderolls strings with my armes and for the cornet with frindg silke painting yt a my staves and pencells for my staves xxxj li. xvj s. lj li. vj s./


f 108v, col 1 (25 December) (Wages)


strang x s.


  • Footnotes
  • Glossed Terms
    • frindg n fringe
  • Endnote

    North returned to the Low Countries in December 1586 or January 1586/7, following Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, who 'arrived in December [1585] with great fanfare, accompanied by a substantial retinue [including] 1000 freshly levied troops, ... a troop of twenty-two knights and fifty retainers, a large personal staff, his musicians and his troupe of actors' (Nolan, Sir John Norreys, pp 91–2). It is uncertain when and how often he returned to England during this time.

  • Document Description

    Record title: Lord North's Household Accounts
    Repository: BL
    Shelfmark: Stowe MS 774, vol II
    Repository location: London

    Sir John North (c 1550–1597) was the son of Roger North (1531–1600), second Baron North, and Winifred (d. 1578), daughter of Richard Rich (1496/7–1567), first Baron Rich, and widow of Sir Henry Dudley. From 1562 John 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 his eldest son Dudley), to accompany the Duc d'Anjou for his installation as governor general. While there, he famously quarrelled with Sir John Norris [Norreys], colonel-general and governor of the English forces. 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),' 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),' ODNB, accessed 28 September 2021).

    Lord North's household accounts include a series of payments for a trumpeter who was likely part of Sir John Norris's military force, as well as payments for performances in England both while he was in the Low Countries and when he had returned to England to be elected to parliament.

    1582–9; English; paper; 179 leaves; 85 mm x 205mm; 19th-c. pencil foliation superceding earlier ink foliation; bound with vol 1 in modern leather binding, title in gold on spine: 'Lord North's | Household | Book | 1576–1589. | Brit. Mus. | Stowe | 774.'

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