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Robert Beale and the Queen of Scots

Patricia Basing


IN 1953 the British Museum acquired the Yelverton manuscripts, now Add. MSS. 48000-48196, from Brigadier R. H. Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe and his trustees. The papers of Robert Beale (1541-1601), Clerk to the Council of Elizabeth I, form the core of this collection of historical papers, which never left the custody of Beale's descendants, the Yelverton family, and their heirs. Apart from the papers of the Marquess of Salisbury at Hatfield House, the Yelverton manuscripts constituted the most important source in private hands for the study of Queen Elizabeth's reign: the manuscripts reflect Beale's activities as an antiquary and diplomat as well as an administrator. One volume. Add. MS. 48049, contains papers relating to Scotland and Mary Queen of Scots, and in particular to negotiations with Mary, which took place between 1581 and 1584, in which Beale was involved. Many of these items, which include original instructions and copies of correspondence with Mary, are printed from other sources. Of the unpublished material, six letters, five from Mary and one written by Nau, her secretary, on her behalf, are the subject of the present article.

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