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Sir William Cavendish writes to his wife, Bess (Lady Cavendish), asking her to pay a London man for oats they bought from him.
Bess (Lady Cavendish) writes to her servant Francis Whitfield concerning the management of Chatsworth, and asks him to look after everything until her aunt (Marcella Linacre) arrives. Among her instructions to Whitfield are that he is to take only wooden 'cleats or boards' not needed for the ongoing building works at Chatsworth; to brew beer, especifically for her and her husband William Cavendish; to repair her bedroom; and to pay her midwife. She also reprimands him for not supplying her sister Jane (née Hardwick) with 'things needful for her'.
Mary Percy, widow of Henry, sixth earl of Northumberland, writes to Bess (Lady Cavendish) about land and cattle disputes involving the letter bearer and one of Bess's servants.
William Marchington, a servant, writes to Bess (Lady St. Loe) from Chatsworth with news about the children's health and education, building materials, the orchard, cattle, and other domestic matters. A postscript relates that James Crompe, another servant, is ill.
Bess (Lady St. Loe) instructs her servant James Crompe on the management of several builders; and perceives how 'Sir James is much misliked for his religion but I think his wisdom is such that he will make small account of that matter'. She also relates a message for her aunt Marcella Linacre about a garden for the new house, enclosing '3 bundles of garden seeds'.
Margaret St. Loe writes to her daughter-in-law, Bess (Lady St. Loe), regarding Margaret's son Edward's plot to poison Bess and Bess's husband, William St. Loe. Included is a detailed report of a conversation on this subject had between Margaret and an unnamed woman who came to visit her a month or more ago.
William St. Loe writes to his wife, Bess (Lady St. Loe), from Windsor asking after her well-being, as he has not heard from her for some time. Relates news of her friends at court; and how he gave his horse to the queen when she desired it of him. Also, the almoner (of Eton) has said that 'no gentleman's children in England shall be better welcome or better looked unto than our boys'.
William St. Loe writes to his wife, Bess (Lady St. Loe), in reply to a letter of hers, describing his suits in London and anticipating that he will be with her in the next week. He adds a flirtatious subscription.
Bess (Lady St. Loe) writes to her servant Francis Whitfield with instructions for the battlement at Chatsworth. A postscript asks him to 'tell Bess Knolles and Frank that I say if they play their virginals that they are good girls'.
William St. Loe writes to his wife, Bess (Lady St. Loe), from London, complaining of the cost of staying at court; asks her to send towels and other things; advises her on the use of horses at Chatsworth; and describes how the queen has complained about his previous absence from court. He mentions an 'extreme pain in my teeth'.
Sir George Pierrepont writes to Bess (Lady St. Loe) thanking her and her husband, William St. Loe, for the 'great pains taken with me at Holme'; further thanking Bess for her support in a suit of his; and expressing the desirability of a match between Bess's daughter Frances and his son Henry.
Sir George Pierrepont writes to thank Bess (Lady St. Loe) for wine received from her husband, William St. Loe, and for the 'bountious goodness' shown unto his son Henry at London. He apologises that he is not able to travel to Chatsworth due to illness but reiterates his liking for the match between his son Henry and Bess's daughter Frances. Adds some suggestions for arranging the marriage settlement.
Lady Frances Cobham writes to tell Bess (Lady St. Loe) about the expected delivery of her child. She sends sewing materials: a 'bassted' sleeve (that is, tacked to the right width) and material for a 'caylle' (that is, a caul, a kind of netted cap or head-dress worn by women) following a recent courtly fashion.
An unidentified author writes to Bess (Lady St. Loe), expressing assurance that the approaching completion of Chatsworth will further her good health; adding some advisement to do with her husband, Sir William St. Loe's finances.
James Hardwick writes to his sister, Bess (Lady St. Loe), a second time ('eftsones') concerning a mix-up in their letters; a recognisance; and his various ailments (haemorrhoids, headache and the effects of age). The postscript reports the marriage between Francis Willoughby (1546/7-96) and Elizabeth Littleton (d. 1595).
William Mouslo, a servant, writes to Bess (Lady St. Loe) to inform her that her friend Lady Frances Cobham has delivered a son; gives details of the christening; and suggestions for a pair of gowns to be prepared for Bess's husband, William St. Loe, for Christmas.
Elizabeth Leake asks her daughter, Bess (Lady St. Loe), to lend her son (Bess's brother, James Hardwick) money for the acquisition of land and thanks Bess for kindness shown towards her half-sister, Margaret (née Leche).
James Hardwick writes to his sister, Bess (Lady St. Loe), excusing himself for not coming to see her in person due to a painful 'cough of the lungs'; and asks her for money, offering to pay it back with interest.
Bess (Lady St. Loe) writes to Henry Babington of Dethick (Derbyshire) concerning lands, postponing a meeting on Babington's holdings until she receives further information regarding the lands' values. Babington forwards the letter (adding a postscript and second superscription) to one Alexander White and gives further instructions to fulfil Bess's requests.
James Crompe, a servant, writes to Bess (Lady St. Loe) regarding the education of her sons, the selling of sheep, and some previous letters passed between them.