Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Book Review: Stephen Powle

By the author’s own admission, Sir Stephen Powle (pronounced ‘Pole’) is “almost unknown today”. Virginia F. Stern though draws from numerous letters, manuscripts and records contained in the British Library, National Archives (as it known today) and the Bodleian Library in Oxford to present a biography of a man who toured Europe over three years ending in 1581, as a diplomat and, of local interest to Blackmore, becoming Lord of the Manor at Smyths Hall upon his second marriage to Margaret Smyth, widow of Thomas Smyth, in 1593. His first marriage, to Elizabeth Woodhouse Hobart, had ended in tragedy in December 1590 with the death of twins in infancy and his wife nine days after their birth.

The titles of some of the Chapters give a indication to the wide ranging ability of this Elizabethan man and of the biography itself.

Travel: A Modified “Grand Tour”
Agent for Queen Elizabeth at Casimir’s Court
Agent for Queen Elizabeth in Italy
Interlude: Recovery from Tragedy.
Early Years in Chancery.
Recording the Essex Rebellion
Lord of the Manor of Smyths-Hall
Country Squire at Mylend
Sir Stephen Powle as ‘Adventurer’ in the Virginia Company of London
‘Indian Summer’ – A Third Marriage.

Clearly this is a specialist book written by an enthusiast whose curiosity was “whetted” by the life of this man and the numerous surviving papers.

‘Sir Stephen Powle of Court and Country. Memorabilia of a Government Agent for Queen Elizabeth I, Chancery Official, and English Country Gentleman’ by Virginia F. Stern was published in 1992 in the United States of America by Associated University Presses Inc.. It is available for purchase on Amazon.

For a summary biography of Stephen Powle go to http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/blackmore_powle.html

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