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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 11/12/154

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 describing Leicester's entertainment of Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth in the summer of 1575

TNA PROB 11/14/56

Last will and testament, dated 19 August 1500, of Robert Harding, whose nephew, Robert Harding, was the maternal great-grandfather of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1515

TNA PROB 11/18/194

Last will and testament, dated 22 August 1515, of Robert Harding, maternal great-grandfather of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1516

TNA PROB 11/19/183

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 11/29/187

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 11/27/46

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

1538

TNA PROB 11/27/450

Last will and testament, dated 1538, of William Baldwin, only son of Sir John Baldwin, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and brother-in-law of Robert Pakington, great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee 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

1545

TNA PROB 11/32/39

Last will and testament, dated 17 April 1545, of William Castelyn, whose daughter was the stepmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter, and whose son married Humphrey Martyn's sister

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

1546

TNA PROB 11/31/79

Last will and testament, dated 20 January 1546, of Alice Baldwin, daughter of Sir John Baldwin, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and sister-in-law of Robert Pakington, great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter

1548

TNA PROB 11/34/176

Last will and testament, dated 24 July 1548, of Thomas Newport, whose daughter, Elizabeth Newport, married John Pakington, and was the aunt of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter

1549

TNA PROB 11/32/553

Last will and testament, dated 6 September 1549, of William Harding, great-uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1550

TNA PROB 11/34/266

Last will and testament, dated 27 February 1550, of Robert Crane, whose sister, Elizabeth Crane, married a first cousin of Sir Roger Martyn, father of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter

1551

TNA PROB 11/34/212

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 11/34/431

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

1553

TNA PROB 11/38/241

Last will and testament, dated 12 February 1553, of Sir John Gresham, whose wife was the half sister of Elizabeth Harding Pakington, grandmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1555

TNA PROB 11/38/212

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

1558

TNA PROB 11/42A/330

Last will and testament, dated 18 April 1558, of James Castelyn, whose niece was the stepmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter, and whose nephew married Humphrey Martyn's sister

TNA PROB 11/42B/454

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 Dallam Collier Pakington 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 11/47/103

Last will and testament, dated 26 April 1563, of 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, and aunt of Ellen Harding Knyvet Browne, whose second husband, Sir Thomas Browne, signed Lady Russell's petition against James Burbage's Blackfriars theatre

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

1564

TNA PROB 11/47/122

Last will and testament, dated 1 February 1564, of Edmund Style, brother-in-law of Lettice (nee Pakington) Martyn, mother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1567

TNA PROB 11/49/267

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

1568

TNA PROB 11/52/55

Last will and testament, dated 10 May 1568, of Edward Jackman, brother-in-law of Lettice Pakington Martyn, mother of Humphrey Martyn, the 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 containing annotations thought to be by Shakespeare, and brother of Elizabeth Newport, aunt of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1571

TNA PROB 11/53/397

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 11/55/374

Last will and testament, dated 22 April 1573, of James Bacon, brother-in-law of Sir Roger Martyn, and uncle of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter

TNA PROB 11/56/48

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

1575

TNA PROB 11/57/448

Last will and testament, dated 1 July 1575, of Robert Burbage of Hayes Park Hall, whose first cousin, Robert Burbage, married Margery Pakington, the aunt of Humphrey Martyn, the addressee of the Langham Letter

1577

TNA PROB 11/59/313

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 11/64/19

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 11/65/430

Last will and testament, dated 6 October 1581, of Elizabeth Martyn (d.1583), stepmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter, and investor in the Frobisher voyages in which Oxford also invested, and suffered heavy losses

1585

TNA PROB 11/72/212

Last will and testament, dated 3 September 1585, of Sir Lionel Duckett, uncle 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

1595

TNA PROB 11/86/392

Last will and testament, dated 7 November 1595, of Thomas Castelyn, whose sister was the stepmother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter, and whose brother married the sister of Humphrey Martyn

1596

TNA PROB 11/87/460

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

1599

TNA PROB 11/96/163

Last will and testament, dated 16 February 1599, of William Colles, uncle of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1601

TNA PROB 11/98/226

Last will and testament, dated 18 August 1601, of Ellen Harding Knyvet Browne, a first cousin of Lettice Pakington, mother of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1608

TNA PROB 11/138/191

Last will and testament, dated 12 September 1608, of John Castelyn, brother-in-law of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter, who was involved in the Frobisher voyage of 1577 and the Fenton voyage of 1582 in which Oxford invested and suffered losses

1621

TNA PROB 11/137/584

Last will and testament, dated 5 April 1621, of Joan Martyn Smith, half sister of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter

1625

TNA PROB 11/148/66

Last will and testament, dated 27 October 1625, of Martha Martyn Castelyn, sister of Humphrey Martyn, addressee of the Langham Letter