John Pory (1572–1636) was an English politician, administrator, traveller and author of the Jacobean and Caroline eras;[1] the skilled linguist may have been the first news correspondent in English-language journalism. As the first Speaker of the Virginia General Assembly, Pory established parliamentary procedures for that legislative body still in use today (although members now elect their Speaker).

John Pory
The title page of Pory's translation of Leo Africanus's A Geographical Historie of Africa (1600)
The title page of Pory's translation of Leo Africanus's A Geographical Historie of Africa (1600)
Born1572
England
Died1636 (aged 63–64)
England
OccupationGovernment administrator, traveller, author, journalist
Period1600–1636
SubjectExploration, geography, travel

Early life and educationEdit

Pory was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; he earned his bachelor's degree in 1592 and his Masters in 1595.[2]

Politician and travellerEdit

Elected a member of Parliament from the borough of Bridgwater in 1605, Pory served until 1610.

In 1607 Pory travelled through France and the Low Countries, and was involved in a plan to introduce silkworm breeding to England. He spent the years 1611–1616 travelling through Europe, to Italy and as far as Istanbul, where Pory was the secretary of English ambassador Sir Paul Pindar. For a portion of 1617 Pory served as the secretary to the English ambassador to Savoy, Sir Isaac Wake.

In 1619, Pory travelled to the barely decade old English colony in Virginia as secretary to the new governor, Sir George Yeardley. On 30 July, 1619, Gov. Yeardley convened what would be the first session of the Virginia General Assembly in Jamestown, after he and Pory agreed upon an agenda and convened to burgesses from each town. Yeardley also appointed Pory Speaker, and Pory acted as the convocation's secretary, appointing committees to study important questions and report back, as well as establishing rules modelled on those in Parliament.[3] Pory would spend the years 1619–1621 and 1623–1624 in Virginia. He explored Chesapeake Bay by boat in 1620, but in 1624 returned to England and settled in London permanently. He would later publish significant narratives about the Jamestown colony in Virginia,[4] and the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts.

Early in his career, around 1597, Pory became an associate and protégé of the geographer and author Richard Hakluyt; Hakluyt later termed Pory his "very honest, industrious, and learned friend". Pory was also a friend of Sir Robert Cotton, William Camden, Sir Dudley Carleton, and other members their circles. It was at Hakluyt's urging that Pory engaged in his first literary effort, a translation of a geographic work by Leo Africanus that was published as A Geographical Historie of Africa (1600).[5]

NewsEdit

In London from the early 1620s on, Pory helped Nathaniel Butter, who was creating news periodicals for the English public.[6] Headquartered at Butter's shop at the sign of the Pied Bull, Pory was a "correspondent" in the literal sense, who maintained exchanges of letters with the wide variety of prominent people he had met and cultivated in his earlier public career. Other similarly-situated men of his generation, like John Chamberlain, played comparable roles in such correspondences and exchanges of news; Pory was atypical and perhaps unique in that he channelled his knowledge and contacts into commercial news ventures, Butter's early newspapers. Pory also ran his own manuscript news service, charging patrons for regular news reports; Viscount Scudamore paid Pory £20 for an annual subscription of weekly bulletins for the year 1632.[7]

In some respects, Pory was the first to do what many modern public figures do, moving among official posts, journalism, and positions in the private sector. He accumulated a wide range of acquaintances with people in a range of positions and locations, and maintained a vigorous letter-writing correspondence with influential people during his later years.[8] However, contemporaries described him as being addicted to both gossip and alcohol.[citation needed]

Influences and connectionsEdit

Modern scholars who have studied Pory's published works and his correspondence have unearthed a range of linkages with important figures of his era, like John Donne[9] and John Milton.[10] Shakespeare may have borrowed from Pory's book on Africa for his Othello;[11] Ben Jonson used it for The Masque of Blackness. Pory's extant correspondence provides researchers with a wealth of detail about London and Court society in the period. He describes, among other things, the last hours of Sir Walter Raleigh, and brawls between nobles at the Blackfriars Theatre.

FamilyEdit

He was the son of William Pory (d.1606?) of Butters Hall, Thompson, Norfolk. John Pory was baptised on 16 March 1572,[12] together with his twin sister Mary.

Who his mother was has for many years been a great mystery.

It is known that John Pory was a first cousin of Temperance Flowerdew, because John Pory writes in a letter to Sir Dudley Carleton on 28 November 1618 of Sir George Yeardley, Temperance's husband, that "this George Yeardley hath married my Cousin German, and infinitely desires my company."[13]

ODNB writes that John Pory was «the son of William Pory (d. 1606?) and his wife, whose maiden name was probably Marsham.»[14]

Temperance's parents were Anthony Flowerdew, of Hethersett, Norfolk, and his wife Martha Stanley, of Scottow, Norfolk.[15]

The maternal grandparents of Temperance Flowerdew were John[16] Stanley of Skottowe in Norfolk (d.1583[17]), and Mary, daughter of John Marsham of Norwich & widow of John Ball of Scottow in Norfolk.[18][19] According to The Visitation of Norfolk in the year 1563, Volume II, Mary was the 2nd daughter of John Marsham, Sheriff of Norwich in 1510 and Mayor in 1518, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Hamond Claxton of Chedeston, Suffolk, gentleman.[20]

John Stanley and Mary Marsham had two children, John Stanley, who died young, and Martha, Temperance's mother.[18] From her first marriage, Mary Marsham had the son Robert Ball of Scottow, who married Mary, the natural daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.[19]

William Pory married Anne Ball, gentlewoman, on 18 June 1571 at Scottow in Norfolk.[21]

John Pory’s mother was Anne Ball, the sister of Martha Stanley, Temperance’s mother, and the sister of Robert Ball of Scottow (b.1546[22]), who married Mary, the natural daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Another sister, Elizabeth Ball, married Edward Downes of Great Melton, and, like her sisters, had a daughter named Mary,[23] like her sister Anne a son named John, of Baber in Norfolk, and a son named Robert, of Furnival's Inn.[24] John Pory's maternal grandparents were John Ball of Scottow in Norfolk, the son of Robert Ball of Ipswich and Margaret, daughter of Robert Brooke,[25] and Mary Marsham, the daughter of John Marsham of Norwich by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Hamond Claxton of Chedeston, Suffolk, gentleman.[20] The Thomas Marsham (by 1522 – 1557), grocer, who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Norwich in 1553 and Mayor of Norwich 1554–55 was John Pory's great-uncle. Christopher Layer (1531 – 19 June 1600), merchant, burgess of Norwich, and briefly a member of parliament, was another kinsman as the first cousin of his mother.

It is possible John and his twin sister Mary was named for their mother's parents John Ball and Mary Marsham.

John Pory's maternal uncle Robert Ball was a fellow Cambridge alumni, also of Caius College.[22]

Butters Hall or ButtortEdit

The Pory family sold Butters Hall or Buttort in Thompson, Norfolk, to the Futter family in 1590, after having been a prominent family in the neighbourhood for the whole century.[26]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ William Stevens Powell (1977), John Pory, 1572–1636: The Life and Letters of a Man of Many Parts, Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0-8078-1271-6.
  2. ^ "Porye, John (PRY588J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge..
  3. ^ Tarter, Brent (2013). The Grandees of Government: the Origins and Persistence of Undemocratic Politics in Virginia. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. pp. 13–19. ISBN 9780813934310.
  4. ^ Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1907), Narratives of Early Virginia, 1606–1625, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 279–287, 351–355, OCLC 318440596.
  5. ^ Johannes Leo Africanus; John Pory, trans. & comp. (1600), A geographical historie of Africa, written in Arabicke and Italian by Iohn Leo a More, borne in Granada, and brought vp in Barbarie. Wherein he hath at large described, not onely the qualities, situations, and true distances of the regions, cities, townes, mountaines, riuers, and other places throughout all the north and principall partes of Africa; but also the descents and families of their kings ... gathered partly out of his owne diligent obseruations, and partly out of the ancient records and chronicles of the Arabians and Mores. Before which, out of the best ancient and moderne writers, is prefixed a generall description of Africa, and also a particular treatise of all the maine lands and isles vndescribed by Iohn Leo. ... Translated and collected by Iohn Pory, lately of Goneuill and Caius College in Cambridge, London: George Bishop, ISBN 9781557094636, OCLC 55162326; reprinted as Johannes Leo Africanus; Robert Brown, ed. (1896), The History and Description of Africa, and of the Notable Things therein Contained / Done into English in the Year 1600, by John Pory; and now Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Dr Robert Brown [Works Issued by the Hakluyt Society; no. 92], London: Printed for the Hakluyt Society, ISBN 9781557094636, OCLC 27435241 {{citation}}: |author2= has generic name (help), 3 vols.
  6. ^ Sabrina A. Baron (2001), "The Guises of Dissemination in Early Seventeenth-Century England: News in Manuscript and Print", in Brendan Dooley; Sabrina Baron (eds.), The Politics of Information in Early Modern Europe, London: Routledge, pp. 41–56, ISBN 978-0-415-20310-4.
  7. ^ Joad Raymond, ed. (1999), News, Newspapers, and Society in Early Modern Britain, London: Frank Cass Publishers, p. 41, ISBN 978-0-7146-4944-3, (hbk.), (pbk.).
  8. ^ Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 16, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 201–202 {{citation}}: |author= has generic name (help).
  9. ^ R[obert] C[ecil] Bald; completed & ed. by W[esley] Milgate (1970), John Donne: A Life, Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN 978-0-19-811684-4.
  10. ^ Charles W. Durham; Kristin A. Pruitt, eds. (1999), All in All: Unity, Diversity, and the Miltonic Perspective, Selinsgrove, Pa.: Susquenhanna University Press, p. 218, ISBN 978-1-57591-016-1 {{citation}}: |author2= has generic name (help).
  11. ^ L. Whitney (1922), "Did Shakespeare Know Leo Africanus?", Papers of the Modern Language Association, vol. 37, pp. 470–488. For the text apparently relied on by Shakespeare from Pory's book, see Amanda Mabillard (19 March 2000). "Sources for Othello". Shakespeare Online. Retrieved 12 October 2007..
  12. ^ "PORY, John (1572–1633), of London | History of Parliament Online". www.historyofparliamentonline.org. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  13. ^ Southall, James P. C. (1947). "Concerning George Yardley and Temperance Flowerdew: A Synopsis and Review". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 55 (3): 259–266. ISSN 0042-6636. JSTOR 4245492.
  14. ^ "Pory, John (bap. 1572, d. 1633), writer and colonial administrator". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22591. Retrieved 23 July 2021.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link) (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  15. ^ R. C. D. Baldwin, ‘Yeardley, Sir George (bap. 1588, d. 1627)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 28 Sept 2011
  16. ^ Blomefield, Francis. History of Norfolk.
  17. ^ Dashwood, G.H. (ed.). The Visitation of Norfolk in the year 1563, taken by William Harvey, Clarenceux King of Arms: Volume 2 (PDF). Norwich. p. 409.
  18. ^ a b Rye, Walter; Hervey, William; Cooke, Clarenceux; Raven, John. The visitacion [i.e., visitation] of Norfolk, made and taken by William Hervey, Clarencieux King of Arms, anno 1563, enlarged with another visitacion [sic] made by Clarenceux Cook : with many other descents, and also the vissitation [sic] made. Family History Library. p. 266.
  19. ^ a b Rye, Walter; Hervey, William; Cooke, Clarenceux; Raven, John. The visitacion [i.e., visitation] of Norfolk, made and taken by William Hervey, Clarencieux King of Arms, anno 1563, enlarged with another visitacion [sic] made by Clarenceux Cook : with many other descents, and also the vissitation [sic] made. Family History Library. p. 15.
  20. ^ a b Dashwood, G.H. (ed.). The Visitation of Norfolk in the year 1563, taken by William Harvey, Clarenceux King of Arms: Volume 2 (PDF). Norwich. p. 407.
  21. ^ Anno 1571 . Willm . Porye . and . Anne . Ball . gent maried the . 18 . of June . at Scottow, Norfolk, England. Archive: Norfolk Record Office, Archive reference: PD 145/1, Archive year range; 1549–1714, Record set: Norfolk Banns And Marriages.
  22. ^ a b University of Cambridge; Venn, J. A. (John Archibald); Venn, John (1922–1954). Alumni cantabrigienses; a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge. University of California Libraries. Cambridge : University Press. BALL, ROBERT, Adm. Fell.-Com. [admitted as Fellow-commoner] at CAIUS, Feb. 12, 1563–4, age 18. Of Scottow, Norfolk. S. of John, gent. School, Scottow.
  23. ^ William Harvey, Norfolk & Norwich Archeological Society (1878). The Visitation of Norfolk in the Year 1563. unknown library. Printed by Miller and Leavins.
  24. ^ St. George, Henry; College of Arms (Great Britain); St. George, Richard; Howard, Joseph Jackson; Chester, Joseph Lemuel (1880–1983). The visitation of London, anno Domini 1633, 1634, and 1635. Made by Sr. Henry St. George, kt., Richmond herald, and deputy and marshal to Sr. Richard St. George, kt., Clarencieux king of armes. Columbia University Libraries. London.
  25. ^ Rye, Walter; Hervey, William; Cooke, Clarenceux; Raven, John. The visitacion [i.e., visitation] of Norfolk, made and taken by William Hervey, Clarencieux King of Arms, anno 1563, enlarged with another visitacion [sic] made by Clarenceux Cook : with many other descents, and also the vissitation [sic] made. Family History Library. pp. 14–15.
  26. ^ Crabbe, George; Jessopp, Augustus (1892). Some materials for a history of the parish of Thompson, in the county of Norfolk. University of California Libraries. Norwich : Printed by A.H. Goose.
 
A map of the continent of Africa from A Geographical Historie of Africa (1600).

ReferencesEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Imus, Teri L. (2005), Building the Black in England: John Pory's Translation of Geographical Historie of Africa by John Leo Africanus [M.A. thesis], Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska, OCLC 60494635.
  • Pory, John; Altham, Emmanuel; de Rasières, Isaack (1963), James, Jr., Sydney V. (ed.), Three Visitors to Early Plymouth: Letters about the Pilgrim Settlement in New England during its First Seven Years, [Plymouth, Mass.]: Plimoth Plantation, OCLC 950518. Reprinted as Pory, John; Altham, Emmanuel; de Rasières, Isaak (1997), Three Visitors to Early Plymouth: Letters about the Pilgrim Settlement in New England during its First Seven Years, Bedford, Mass.: Applewood Books, ISBN 978-1-55709-463-6, (pbk.).
  • Pory, John (1918), Norwood, Richard; Burrage, Champlin (eds.), John Pory's Lost Description of Plymouth Colony in the Earliest Days of the Pilgrim Fathers, together with Contemporary Accounts of English Colonization Elsewhere in New England and in the Bermudas, Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Co, OCLC 504626527.
  • Powell, William Stevens; Pory, John (1952), John Pory on the Death of Sir Walter Raleigh (2nd ed.), Williamsburg, Va.: Institute of Early American History and Culture, OCLC 34535950.
  • Powell, William Stevens (Summer 1969), "Speaker John Pory: A Member of Parliament Helped Organize the First Representative Assembly in the New World", Virginia Cavalcade, 18 (5), OCLC 40063829.

External linksEdit