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Charles I and Rycote

A proclamation issued by Charles I from Rycote, 1625.

Due to an outbreak of the plague in London, Charles I was forced to reconvene the first Parliament of his reign in Oxford on 1 August 1625. The King and his court moved to Rycote. Thomas Delafield claimed, in his eighteenth-century history of Rycote, that Charles stayed in a chamber on the right tower of the mansion's facade (MS. Gough Oxon. 31, fol. 218). His hosts were Edward Wray and his wife Elizabeth, suo jure Baroness Norris, the daughter of Francis Norris, Earl of Berkshire.

Charles’s visit to Rycote appears to have been for two days. The King is definitely known to have been at Rycote on 30 and 31 July (CSP Dom. 1625-6, pp. 77-8). Edward, Lord Conway, who was travelling with Charles’s court, informed his son on 29 July that he expected to be at Rycote on 30 and 31 July before arriving at Woodstock on 1 August (CSP Dom. Addenda 1625-40, p. 38). Charles was certainly at Woodstock on 4 August, a royal proclamation being issued there that day (CSP Dom. 1625-6, p. 80).

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Serendipity! Edward Wray was the recipient of the dedication of Orlando Gibbons Fantazies of III. Parts (1622, I believe) but was banished from the Verge of Court, losing his post as groom of the bedchamber for eloping with his wife, designated by James I to marry the unprepossessing Kit Villiers, younger brother of the king's current favourite George Villiers. One of those stories that you couldn't make up; I tried to put it in context in 'Gibbons in the Bedchamber' in John Jenkins and his Time ed. A. Ashbee & P. Holman (OUP, 1996). A charming stained-glass portrait of a presumably irresistible beau. It would be good to know more about the couple's relations with Charles I; but Wray seems to have led a contented life away from the centre of affairs; a lucky man!

David Pinto 31/12/2014

In view of the comparatively rushed nature of Charles' visit in 1625, is it not more likely that the substantial embellishments to the chapel were made for one of the many visits of James I . The French playing card decorations couild well have been bought by Francis Norris during his stay in Ftrance

John Bell 07/06/2014

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Charles I and Rycote

Due to an outbreak of the plague in London, Charles I was forced to reconvene the first Parliament of his reign in Oxford on 1 August 1625. The King and his court moved to Rycote.
More on Charles I's links with Rycote >