Reveal background image

'Came home well fuz'd': Entertainments in the Restoration era

Account of James, Duke of York's visit to Oxford and Rycote, 1683.

In the period which followed the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, Rycote hosted several lavish celebrations and entertainments for visiting royalty and other dignitaries. The heir to the Danish throne, the Moroccan ambassador, and James, Duke of York, all concluded their visits to Oxford by travelling to Rycote. Volunteer militia troopers of the University of Oxford seem to have over indulged themselves at a celebratory dinner held by the Earl of Abingdon in 1685. A contemporary witness recorded that they “came home well fuz’d.”

On Friday 26 September 1662 Christian (later King Christian V), heir to the throne of Denmark, visited Oxford and the University. The Oxford antiquary Anthony Wood noted that on the day after his entertainment by the University he travelled to Rycote where he stayed until the Monday (MS. Wood D. 19(3), fol. 4v). His host was Montague Bertie, 2nd Earl of Lindsey.

From 30 to 31 May 1682 the Moroccan ambassador visited Oxford and was entertained by the University. On the morning of 1 June he concluded his visit with a breakfast at Rycote (MS. Wood D. 19(3), fols. 50-2). His host was James Bertie, Lord Norris, who had inherited Rycote from his father the 2nd Earl of Lindsey. He was created 1st Earl of Abingdon by Charles II in November 1682. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire in an almost unbroken sequence from 1674 to 1697 and was a figure of considerable influence within the county (Davenport, Lords Lieutenant, pp. 7-8). This was reflected in the status of visitors to Rycote and the lavishness of celebrations held there in the latter quarter of the seventeenth century.

The following year, in May 1683, the King's brother, James, Duke of York (the future King James II), his wife Mary of Modena and his daughter, from his first marriage, Lady Anne (the future Queen Anne) visited Oxford and the University. The royal party arrived on Friday 18 May and were conducted into the city by the Earl of Abingdon and approximately one hundred Oxfordshire gentlemen. The five day visit culminated with a dinner, hosted by the Earl, at Rycote on Tuesday 22 May (MS. Wood D. 19(3), fols. 53-8).

Further celebratory dinners were held at Rycote in 1685. The first was on 16 March to celebrate the election of Abingdon's brother Henry Bertie as MP for Oxford. According to Wood, the dinner was attended by the mayor and aldermen of Oxford and the gown men of the house who were all "splendedly entertaind, came home most of them drunk & fell off their horses" (MS. Wood diaries 29, fol. 23v). The second dinner was held on 20 July when the Earl hosted the University troop, commanded by his twelve year old son Montagu, Lord Norris (later 2nd Earl of Abingdon), to celebrate the defeat of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion against James II. Anthony Wood recorded that the University troop "came home well fuz'd" (MS. Wood D. 19(3), fol. 79v).

Your comments: Add to the archive

Have to say overall very impressed with the quality of this site. Pleasing to see universities looking to use technology to improve wider access to materials beyond the field of academia. The material is presented in a manner which is not only easy to read and understand but imaginative and interactive.

Richard Johnes 21/10/2013

+ Add a comment

Your e-mail address will not be revealed to the public.
HTML is forbidden, but line-breaks will be retained.
This is to prevent automatic submissions.

'Came home well fuz'd': Entertainments in the Restoration era

After celebrating the defeat of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion against James II at Rycote, Anthony Wood recorded that the University troop "came home well fuz'd".
More on Rycote's high-status guests and lavish entertainments >