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Part 1: Newsletters, c1564-1667, and Related Papers, c1607-1794, from the Public Record Office

Biographical Details

Reproduced with kind permission of Dr Ian Atherton from Appendix II of his Ph.D. thesis, pp418-454: “Newsletters: Letters from Professional Writers”.

John Flower

A professional newsletter writer, he sent foreign and home news every week, and corantoes when they were available. Flower sent much else besides, especially separates about foreign news (which are now lost or detached) and books, including Christopher Potter’s Want of charity (Oxford, 1633), ‘because it  is much commended’, another book which had been called in , a printed relation of Wallenstein’s death, masque books and the French gazette. (See especially PRO, C115/M30/8113, M31/8153, 8272, 8185, 8132, M32/8213. For references to masques in the Scudamore newsletters see J P Feil, ‘Dramatic references from the Scudamore papers’, Shakespeare survey, XI (1958), 107-16).

Wilcocks, one of Scudamore’s servants, was the payment agent: the only recorded payment to Flower was £11 on 11 May 1633. The correspondence ended in April 1634 when Flower’s main contact, either abroad or at home, died, meaning that he could no longer guarantee a regular news service. (See PRO, C115/M30/8107, M31/8151, 8173).

There are one hundred and thirty-eight newsletters from John Flower to Viscount Scudamore, 7 November 1629 - 12 April 1634 (see PRO, C115/M30/8066-70, 8072-97, 8099-8103, 8105-11, 8113-16, M31/8119-8174, M32/8175-8210, 8212-13.

Bundle M30 also contains excerpts from the French and Flemish posts, possibly sent by Flower, (nos 8071, 8098, 8117); a bill for copies of letters, verses and the loke (no 8104); an extract of a newsletter in a different hand about two English ships, the Hector and the William and Ralph attacked by Turkish galleys, [?August 1633], (no 8112), for the dating of this see CSPD 1633-4, pp 190-1; and a newsletter from the Netherlands dated 1 August 1629 (no 8118).

M32/8211 is the London and Westminster bill of mortality, The diseases and casualties this weeke (13-20 December 1632), which appears to be the only known copy of this work.



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