Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

January Books 17) The Treason and Trial of Sir John Perrot, by Roger Turvey

A brief book going in detail into the demise of the Elizabethan courtier John Perrot, of interest to me because of the supporting role played by my ancestor Sir Nicholas White. I had gone over some of this ground before with Hiram Morgan and Perrot's son, but this is a great little example of how to pull it all together, including even one of the surviving transcripts of Perrot's trial, the high point perhaps being the fatal moment when he was confronted with evidence that he had called the Queen a "bastard piskitchen woman".

I felt that Turvey's thesis that Lord Burghley Was Behind It All was not really borne out by the evidence. What seemed to me clear was that Perrot, having returned to London after his term of office in Ireland, was becoming an alternate power centre on Irish affairs much to the dismay of everyone else working on Ireland, and the leading faction in the Dublin administration decided to discredit him as best they could. But I doubt that Burghley jumped on the band-wagon until it was already rolling, though I agree that his decision would have been necessary for Perrot's trial and conviction for treason, a process in which the odds were stacked against the defendant procedurally. Even then, probably nobody anticipated Perrot's death from natural causes before a date for his sentence could be set. Turvey tracks Nicholas White and Richard Meredith to London as prisoners due to their support of Perrot, but unfortunately doesn't cover their trial in Star Chamber (though does cover the detail that White's son was prevented from access to the Queen).

The book helped me a bit - and certainly gave me a reading list - for understanding how the royal court functioned in Tudor times. It helped me rather more in understanding exactly how the Irish administration functioned. Apart from the official designation of roles and office-holders, there was a whole shadow politics going on behind the scenes, as the viceroy's decisions and policies in Dublin could always be overturned in London, and because many of the leading figures in Ireland had their own routes to the Queen's ear. White had always been close to Burghley, but obviously became collateral damage in the fall of Perrot. A good piece of work.
Tags: bookblog 2012, people: sir nicholas white, tudor history
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