Kitchen Accounts of Sir William Fairfax


f [5v] (12 September) (Gilling)


Strangers           dynner           Mrs methame with others and the Earle of worsseters players


  • Endnote

    The Fairfax family was resident at Gilling Castle.

    William Somerset (c 1527–89), eighth earl of Worcester, was based at Raglan, Monmouthshire, but his well-known playing company played in York in 1584/5 (P&P).

  • Document Description

    Record title: Kitchen Accounts of Sir William Fairfax
    Repository: NYCRO
    Shelfmark: ZCV(F)
    Repository location: Northallerton

    For biographical information on the Fairfax family, see the Introduction. Sir William's steward John Woodward kept daily accounts of expenditures in the kitchen. The set is virtually complete from July 1571 to March 1582, with breaks between July 1572–October 1574, October 1575–November 1578, and October 1579–March 1580. In addition to expenditures on foodstuffs, the steward records on a daily basis the presence of 'strangers' at breakfast, dinner, or supper. Most of these are Fairfax family and friends, though there are some guests of a wider national significance, such as Walter Devereux (b. 1569), first husband of Margaret Dakins (later Lady Margaret Hoby) and brother of Robert Devereux (1565–1601), nineteenth earl of Essex, who visited on several occasions in 1579–80, and (occasionally) performers as well (P&P; Hoby, Diary, p 5). Catherine Metham, née Bellasis, was Sir William's daughter, who married Thomas Metham on 8 September 1553 (J.W. Clay (ed), Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire, with Additions, vol 3 (Exeter, 1917), 85). These lists are clearly not exhaustive, since most conclude with the phrase 'with others.' The Great Hall at Gilling, until 2018 the dining hall of Ampleforth Junior School, underwent extensive rebuilding c 1571–85 ('St Martin's Ampleforth, Wikipedia,, accessed 5 January 2021, Yorkshire Guide,, accessed 29 December 2020; Pevsner, North Riding, p 167).

    9–15 September 1571; English; paper; 8 leaves; 300mm x 215mm; unfoliated; repaired and mounted on modern paper with paper wrapper, titled '11th Book | 9 - 15 Sept. 1571' on front cover.

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