Harefield Entertainment

The Harefield Entertainment included hospitality and performances for Elizabeth I of England in August 1602.

Sir Thomas Egerton, the Lord Keeper, bought Harefield Place, now in the London Borough of Hillingdon, from Sir Edmund Anderson in 1601. The Queen came to Harefield on 29 July 1602 and stayed until 3 August. Egerton's bills for the entertainment and hospitality survive.[1] Some speeches and drama were also recorded and printed.[2] A "lottery" was performed in which gifts were presented to the ladies of the court as humorous rhyming couplets were recited. Modern critics emphasise the likely role of Egerton's wife, Alice, Countess of Derby in planning and devising the events.[3]

The early editor of the records John Payne Collier is thought to have tampered with a page of "Mainwaring's accounts" of expenses to introduce a bogus reference to Richard Burbage and Othello, but the rest of Egerton's expenses are considered authentic.[4]

To feed the queen and her household Egerton bought wheat for bread and "manchet", butter, eggs, gooseberries, chickens, pigeons, geese, rabbits, ducklings, pigs, partridges, trout, lobster, and crayfish and other foods.[5] There was Gascon wine and sack, beer and ale, wine vinegar and oil for cooking, green fruits, herbs, and a hired cook Allin Wardis. Mr Walther made sugar confections. A London pewterer provided plates and dishes. Planks for shelves and tables were boated up the Thames to Brentford.[6] 18,000 bricks were bought to build ovens for the event, and extra lodgings were added to the house. Arras hooks for tapestries were supplied by Page of Uxbridge.[7] Several guests brought gifts of food, George More from Loseley gave a stag, 24 pigeons, and 4 swans, the Warden of the Fleet Prison gave 4 sugar loaves, and the Lord Mayor of London brought a barrel of sack and 6 herons. John Kederminster brought 18 boxes of sweetmeats and 36 fine cakes.[8]

The Queen arrived at Harefield and near the house, sheltering under a tree from the rain, heard a dialogue between a Bailiff and Dairy Maid. At the entry to the house there was a chair for her, and a dialogue between Place and Time was presented, and the queen was given a diamond heart. Next she was given a gown of cloth of silver embroidered with rainbows by Audrey Walsingham, and a verse recalled the legend of St Swithun. Egerton provided the gown for £340 and the Countess gave the sleeves and cords to attach them with ruby and pearl tags.[9] A payment to an embroiderer, silkman, and the Queen's tailor is one of Payne Collier's forgeries.[10] The rainbow gown has been connected with the costume depicted in Elizabeth's Rainbow Portrait at Hatfield and the Bacton Altar Cloth.[11]

The Harefield LotteryEdit

 
Portrait thought to be Elizabeth Southwell, c. 1600

The concept of the Harefield lottery was the distribution of gifts by a mariner of a rich Carrack, a treasure ship, to the ladies of Cynthia, Queen of the Seas. A carrack from Lisbon had recently been brought to Plymouth. Participants in the Harefield lottery included;

  • Mary Radcliffe, who was given a pair of bracelets, with this verse, "Lady your hands are fallen in a snare: For Cupid's manacles these bracelets are".
  • Frances, Lady Kildare was given a girdle, with the verses, "By fortune's girdle you may happy be: But they that are less happy are more free".
  • Dorothy Hastings was given a bodkin, a jewelled hair-pin, with the lines, "Even with this bodkin you may live unharmed: Your beauty with your virtues so well armed".
  • Susan Vere drew a blank and was told; "Wit you why fortune gives you no prize: Good faith, she saw you not, she has no eyes".
  • Anne Clifford was given a lace, with verses; "Give her the lace that loves to be straight-laced: So fortune's little gift is aptly placed".
  • Elizabeth Southwell presented with gloves; "Fortune these gloves to you in double challenge sends: For you hate fools and flatterers, her best friends".
  • Philadelphia Carey given a mask; "Want you a mask! Here fortune give you one: Yet nature gives the rose and lily none".
  • Audrey Walsingham had the prize of a cutwork stomacher with the verses; "This stomacher is full of windows wrought: Yet none through them can look into your thought".
  • Elizabeth Brydges received a dozen points (clothing toggles) with these verses; "You are in every point a lover true, And therefore fortune gives the points to you".
  • Cordell Anslowe or Christian Annesley drew a pin cushion, "To her that little cares what lot she wins: Chance gives a cushinet to stick pins".

At the end of the lottery a feather jewel worth £600 was found and given to Elizabeth.[12]

As the Queen left Harefield the final scene was a speech made by the spirit of Place dressed as a widow, who said, "I could wish myself like the enchanted Castle of Love, to hold you here for ever, but your virtues would dissolve my enchantments."[13]

Sir George Savile wrote to the Earl of Shrewsbury with a copy of the farewell speech, and mentioned the expensive jewels and the "gown of rainbows very rich embroidered." The Jesuit Robert Persons was told that Alice, Countess of Derby asked the queen, who was in "her merriest vein" if Anne Stanley and her sister could serve in her privy chamber, or have consent to marry, which displeased the queen who commanded silence on such matters.[14] Anne married Grey Brydges, a cousin of Elizabeth Brydges in 1607.

The speeches and the text of the lottery circulated in manuscript and reached the London lawyer John Manningham who copied a corrupt version of the lottery into his diary. A version of the lottery was printed in Francis Davison's A Poetical Rapsodie (London, 1608).[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ John Payne Collier, The Egerton Papers (Camden Society: London, 1840), pp. 340-357: Huntington Library HHL MS EL 122, 124-7.
  2. ^ Gabriel Heaton, 'Elizabethan Entertainments in Manuscript: The Harefield Festivities and the Dynamics of Exchange', in Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, Sarah Knight, Progresses, Pageants, and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth (Oxford, 2007), pp. 227-244.
  3. ^ Elizabeth Goldring, Faith Eales, Elizabeth Clarke, Jayne Elisabeth Archer, John Nichols's Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth: 1596-1603, vol. 4 (Oxford, 2014), pp. 174-195: Jean Wilson, 'The Harefield Entertainment and the Cult of Elizabeth I', The Antiquaries Journal, 66:2 (September 1986), pp. 315-329: Mary Erler, 'Chaste Sports, Juste Prayses & All Softe Delight: Harefield 1602 and Ashby 1607, Two Female Entertainments', in The Elizabethan Theatre XIV (Toronto, 1996), pp. 1-25: Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich, The Elizabethan Country House: Print, Performance and Gender (Cambridge, 2016), pp. 109-121: Sara Mueller, 'Domestic Work in Progress Entertainments', in Michelle Dowd & Natasha Korda, Working Subjects in Early Modern Drama (Routledge, 2011), pp. 155-9.
  4. ^ Arthur Freeman & Janet Ing Freeman, John Payne Collier: Scholarship and Forgery in the Nineteenth Century (Yale, 2004), pp. 266-7, 329-330.
  5. ^ John Payne Collier, The Egerton Papers (Camden Society: London, 1840), pp. 341-2.
  6. ^ John Payne Collier, The Egerton Papers (Camden Society: London, 1840), pp. 345-6.
  7. ^ John Payne Collier, The Egerton Papers (Camden Society: London, 1840), pp. 347-8.
  8. ^ John Payne Collier, The Egerton Papers (Camden Society: London, 1840), pp. 350-7.
  9. ^ Elizabeth Goldring, Faith Eales, Elizabeth Clarke, Jayne Elisabeth Archer, John Nichols's The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth: 1596-1603, vol. 4 (Oxford, 2014), pp. 179-186: Heaton (2007), p. 236.
  10. ^ John Payne Collier, The Egerton Papers (Camden Society: London, 1840), p. 343: Heaton (2007), p. 235 fn. 22: HHL MS EL 123.
  11. ^ Eleri Lynn, 'The Bacton Altar Cloth: Elizabeth I's 'long-lost skirt'?', Costume, 52:1 (March 2018), pp. 3-25 at 18-19: Janet Arnold, Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd (London, 1988), p. 94: Elizabeth Goldring, 'Portraiture, Patronage, and the Progress', in Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, Sarah Knight, Progresses, Pageants, and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth (Oxford, 2007), p. 188.
  12. ^ Elizabeth Goldring, Faith Eales, Elizabeth Clarke, Jayne Elisabeth Archer, John Nichols's The Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth: 1596-1603, vol. 4 (Oxford, 2014), pp. 184-6, 188-193.
  13. ^ Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History, vol. 3 (London, 1791), pp. 132-3.
  14. ^ Gabriel Heaton, 'Elizabethan Entertainments in Manuscript: The Harefield Festivities and the Dynamics of Exchange', p. 236-7.
  15. ^ Gabriel Heaton, 'Elizabethan Entertainments in Manuscript: The Harefield Festivities and the Dynamics of Exchange', pp. 241-2.

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