In 1538 John Russell, secretary to the Council of the Welsh Marches, acquired the dissolved priory of Little Malvern, where his descendants, the Beringtons, still live. This selection from the family letters in the Worcestershire Record Office vividly illustrates the impact on Worcestershire of the Reformation and the Civil War. Among much else, it includes correspondence with Thomas Cromwell and Lord Chancellor Audley (who was John Russell's brother-in-law); Elizabethan medical prescriptions and business letters; correspondence about evading the penal laws against Catholics; a mock-heroic Latin skit on James I; a personal letter from one of the Jesuits executed at the time of the Oates Plot, and an official certificate that Little Malvern had been (unsuccessfully) searched for priests. The letters themselves are accompanied by an introduction and explanatory notes. Michael Hodgetts has written extensively on Recusant History and is an acknowledged expert on English Catholic families and their houses.
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