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Queen Elizabeth arriving at Kenilworth Castle in 1575.

 

 

 

 

The Langham Letter is a brilliant tour de force which describes Leicester's entertainment of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth in the summer of 1575. Its purported author is a bumptious court official, one 'Robert Langham or Lanham'. However, scholarly consensus now rejects the notion that the Letter was written by the fictitious Langham. Penny McCarthy, in Pseudonymous Shakespeare, has recently proposed Shakespeare as the author. In fact, the vocabulary of the Langham Letter is indistinguishable from Shakespeare’s, as has been established in a comparison of the Letter’s vocabulary to over 2100 lines from Shakespeare’s plays, in each of which a vocabulary word used in the Letter is used in the same sense, and as the same part of speech, as it is used in Shakespeare’s plays.

Click here for documents related to Humphrey Martyn, the real-life addressee of the Langham Letter. For a discussion of Oxford's authorship of the Langham Letter, see issues of the Edward De Vere Newsletter on this website.

 

DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THE LANGHAM LETTER

1500

TNA PROB 11/12, ff. 30-1

Last will and testament, dated 13 June 1500, of Richard Martyn of Long Melford, paternal great-grandfather of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1516

TNA PROB 11/19, f. 95

Last will and testament, dated 14 November 1516, of Lawrence Martyn (d.1518) of Long Melford, paternal grandfather of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1535

TNA PROB 11/29, ff. 75-8

Last will and testament, dated 20 April 1535, of Roger Martyn of Long Melford, paternal great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

TNA PROB 11/27, f. 32v

Last will and testament, dated 23 November 1535, of Robert Pakington, maternal great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1536

TNA PROB 11/25/531

Last will and testament, dated 29 April 1536, of Richard Patten, father of William Patten, who was responsible for the private printing and distribution of copies of the Langham Letter

1544

TNA PROB 11/30/136

Last will and testament, dated 17 February 1544, of Edward Borlase, brother-in-law of Robert Pakington, great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter describing Leicester’s entertainment of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth in the summer of 1575

1545

TNA PROB 11/30/580

Last will and testament, dated 11 October 1545, of Sir John Baldwin, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, father-in-law of Robert Pakington, great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter describing Leicester’s entertainment of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth in the summer of 1575

1546

TNA PROB 11/31/79

Last will and testament, dated 20 January 1546, of Alice Baldwin, sister-in-law of Robert Pakington, great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter describing Leicester’s entertainment of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth in the summer of 1575

1551

TNA PROB 11/34, f. 131

Nuncupative last will and testament, dated 11 July 1551, of Thomas Knolles, first husband of Elizabeth Martyn, the stepmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

TNA PROB 11/34, ff. 233-4

Last will and testament, dated 16 August 1551, of Sir John Pakington, maternal great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1555

TNA PROB 11/38, ff. 150-1

Last will and testament, dated 14 September 1555, of Humphrey Pakington, maternal grandfather of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1558

TNA PROB 11/42B, f. 318

Last will and testament, dated 25 December 1558, of Humphrey Pakington, brother of Lettice (nee Pakington) Martyn, mother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1562

TNA PROB 11/46/47

Last will and testament, dated 24 May 1562, of Katherine, Lady Dormer, second wife of Robert Pakington, maternal great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1563

TNA PROB 11/47, ff. 31-4

Last will and testament, dated 29 March 1563, of Dame Blanche Forman, whose niece, Blanche Watson, stepsister of the poet, Thomas Watson, was the second wife of John Lambert, uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

TNA PROB 11/47, ff. 73-5

Last will and testament, dated 26 April 1563, of Dame Anne Pakington, maternal great-aunt of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

TNA PROB 11/46/444

Last will and testament, dated 25 August 1563, of Elizabeth Pakington, maternal grandmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

TNA PROB 11/47/105

Last will and testament, dated 1 September 1563, of Humphrey Baskerville, uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1567

TNA PROB 11/49, ff. 191-4

Last will and testament, dated 31 March 1567, of Richard Lambert, uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1570

TNA PROB 11/53/456

Last will and testament, dated 11 September 1570, of Sir Richard Newport, owner of a copy of Hall's Chronicle, formerly Loan 61 in the British Library, now in the hands of a trustee, Lord Hesketh, containing annotations thought to be by Shakespeare, and uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1571

TNA PROB 11/53, f. 238

Last will and testament, dated 31 May 1571, of Sir Thomas Pakington, first cousin of Lettice (nee Pakington) Martyn, the mother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1573

TNA PROB 11/56, ff. 2-4

Last will and testament, dated 8 September 1573, of Sir Roger Martyn, father of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1577

TNA PROB 11/53, f. 238

Last will and testament, dated 30 April 1577, of Dorothy (nee Kitson) Pakington, wife of Sir Thomas Pakington, first cousin of Lettice (nee Pakington) Martyn, the mother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1580

TNA PROB 11/64, ff. 21-3

Last will and testament, dated 3 March 1580, of John Lambert, uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter, which includes bequests to Humphrey Martyn and his brother, Edmund

1581

TNA PROB 11/65, ff. 288-9

Last will and testament, dated 6 October 1581, of Elizabeth Martyn (d.1583), stepmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1589

TNA PROB 11/75/77

Last will and testament, dated 8 September 1589, of Jane Pakington Baskerville Duckett, aunt of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1596

TNA PROB 11/87

Last will and testament, dated 13 June 1596, of Edmund Martyn, brother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter