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Fourteen letters written from Cambridge by the poet Robert Herrick to his uncle, Sir William Herrick

 Single Item
MS. Eng. c. 2278
Held at the Weston Library

  • Request

The text of each letter, together with the endorsements, is printed in The Poetical Works of Robert Herrick, ed. L.C. Martin (Oxford, 1956), pp. 445-53. Martin omits the wording of the receipts on fols. 3, 13, 17, 20, 24, 33 and 37, and also pencil notes throughout by John Gough Nichols. The wrappers in which the letters were formerly kept at Leicestershire County Record Office (see below) have been preserved.


  • Creation: 1613-17, n.d.


48 Leaves

Language of Materials

  • English

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Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 2278, fols. 1-2].

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MS. Eng. c. 2278

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 7014


Fourteen letters written from Cambridge by the poet Robert Herrick to his uncle, Sir William Herrick.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Herrick (1591-1674) was a poet.

Custodial History

The Bodleian letters, corresponding to Martin's nos. I-XIV but not including XIIa, were formerly in the muniment room at the Hall, Beaumanor, Leicestershire, among the papers of Sir William Herrick. John Nichols (1745-1826) drew extensively on the Herrick family papers for his History and Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire (1795-1811). In 1843, William Perry-Herrick asked John Gough Nichols (1806-73; grandson of John Nichols) to arrange and conserve the collection. By 1858, Nichols had rearranged and bound nineteen volumes of loose Exchequer papers and repaired the Jacobean bindings of eight Exchequer ledgers. Eleven volumes of family and business correspondence were completed by 1862, Robert Herrick's letters having been removed from his mother's papers and bound separately.

The Exchequer papers and the Robert Herrick letters, together with a large collection of family muniments, were deposited by Lt. Col. A.P. Curzon-Howe-Herrick in Leicestershire County Record Office in 1947 when the Beaumanor estates were sold off. The eleven volumes of Sir William's family correspondence were not included in the deposit, having been separated from the other papers at some time during the period 1870-1947. These eleven volumes came onto the market in 1968 and were purchased by the Bodleian from the booksellers Hoffman and Freeman. In 1988, the Bodleian purchased the Exchequer papers formerly on deposit at Leicestershire Record Office (Sotheby's, 15 December 1988, lot 20). A note in MS. Eng. hist. c. 474, fol. 105, refers to the 'distinct binding' of the Robert Herrick letters.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Robert Herrick letters, originally lot 14 in the Sotheby sale, were purchased from Mr. Montagu Curzon Herrick in 1990, with the help of the V & A Purchase Grant Fund, Mr. J.P. Getty, the Friends of the Bodleian, the Pilgrim Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and the Friends of the National Libraries.

Related Materials

Other than these fourteen letters now in the Bodleian, two further Robert Herrick letters are known; a letter from the same series, c.1615-16, now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (Martin's letter XIIa), and an engraved facsimile reproduced by J.G. Nichols in his Autographs (1829), the original of which is now lost.

Eleven volumes of Sir William Herrick's family correspondence were purchased by the Bodleian in 1968. They are now MSS. Eng. hist. b. 216, c. 474-484. Sir William's Exchequer papers were purchased in 1988, and are now MSS. Eng. hist. b. 244-248(R), b. 249, c. 1292-1318.

Holograph letter from Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, to his sister Penelope, Lady Rich, c. 1590
EAD version 2018
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom