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His account book for this period records collections and disbursements for the poor, and receipts from several counties for relief of those impover- ished by the sickness. This may also have been the occasion when Butts attempted to close most Cambridge drinking estab- lishments by pulling down their signs, a purge memorialized in satiric verse.

It was hard at any time to be a head of house, hard not to make enemies, especially when the politics of religion and preferment were so treacherous.

The two fell out over several matters, including which college had precedence in presenting enter- tainment when the king came to Cambridge. Comber may have been the more accomplished combination room brawler, and was more in tune than Butts with the religious politics of the developing Laudian ascendancy. The plague of dis- rupted the academic preparations of some candidates, while others were advanced by royal mandate.

R. A. Houston

The official list included three bachelors of law, five doctors of physic, eight masters of arts, twenty-three bachelors of divinity, and twenty-one doctors of divinity. There was bad blood and ill will behind the scenes. Ten days later, in a letter that could be read as a rebuke, the king instructed that all future candidates for degrees must fulfil their acts and exercises.

Most of this wealth was imperiled when his goods were forfeit to the crown as felo de se. He was not too old to imagine himself a bishop or otherwise overdue for reward. As plans developed for the royal visit to Cambridge the vice-chancellor looked to mount a memor- able entertainment, following the degree ceremony, and then to bask in its glow.

Though courtiers might be competent in Latin, the university offered easier fare for audiences that included court women. Reputation and reward could follow dramatic success.

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Profes- sional players also performed occasionally at the university, sometimes with patronage from the court. Rather than leaping at this chance to please the court, Butts and his fellow heads raised objections. Cambridge was conveniently close to Newmarket, the capital of early Stuart equestrian delights. It was a favourite destination for King Charles as it had been for his father, especially when free from plague. Originally scheduled for 7 March, the visit was postponed until 19 March to allow Holland to recover from a riding accident. Vice-chancellor Butts had everything under control.

When King Charles arrived in Cambridge from the east he found a city scoured clean and on its best behaviour. The public orator and college heads made speeches in Latin, while the king and queen sat in chairs of state. The king probably did not hear Sir Arthur George threaten to cudgel Mr. Theodore Kelly, but the dispute between them ended up in Star Chamber.

Butts the comedy that he had promoted, The Rival Friends, bombed badly.

Punishing the dead?: Suicide, Lordship, and Community in Britain, 1500-1830

In seemed to go on for hours some said seven hours, though this was probably exaggerated. The plot involved wooing and place-seeking, topics of interest to any collegiate audience, but its treatment was ponderous and uninventive, with more vulgarity than wit. The king and queen sat silently through the performance, though others did not hide their displeasure. Audience reactions to these two plays gives Henry Butts his small place in the history of early Stuart theatre. The lack of laughter made it seem more like a tragedy than a comedy. On top of other disappointments, the shame was too much to bear.

Butts] that the king and himself had more confidence in his discretion than they found cause, in that he thought such a comedy fitting. Soon after some say the same day he would have made away himself with a knife, but was hindered. Another time his wife urging him to eat. Five days after the performance Randolph was elected to a fellowship at Trinity, while Hausted and Butts licked their wounds. There were multiple dramas in Cambridge in spring , not all of them on stage.

The rival playwrights, if not friends, were exact contemporaries, both born in Northamptonshire in Randolph was educated at Westmin- ster school before going up to Cambridge, and quickly became known for his literary talent. Comber and verses in English and Latin congratulating Randolph on the delight he afforded the king. Determined to retrieve his reputation after the debacle at Trinity, he had his play printed in London. John Sym, the author of Lifes Preservative Against Self-Killing , could have had Vice-chancellor Butts in mind when discussing the torments that led some people to end their lives.

With royal guidance the college appointed Dr. Richard Love of Clare Hall to be master on 4 April. Love was a chaplain to Charles I and had proceeded D. Any will left by a suicide became null. Their bodies were subject to rituals of deg- radation, that might include dragging through the streets and hanging from a gibbet. Recent scholarship suggests that practices varied widely, allowing considerable discretion to neighbours and survivors. The bodies of some felo de se were infiltrated into Christian cemeteries, or buried hugger-mugger at the edge of consecrated ground, but others were handled profanely with anger and contempt.

In normal circumstances the university followed elaborate protocols at the funeral of a vice-chancel- lor, with orations in Great St. Butts all obsequies were set aside. This was an important distinction, on which hinged the disposal of his estate. Someone who was non compos mentis was not fully responsible for his actions, and therefore not subject to penalty. The parish registers of Birdbrook only survive from , and contain no record of her burial or re-marriage.

The descendants of Thomas Butts of Mendlesham, Suffolk, included clerics and academics, most notably the eighteenth- century bishop of Ely, Robert Butts. It makes no reference to any unpleasant- ness, or to Butts and his unfortunate play. Omer, , Frederick S. Bustes sic his hanging or murdering himself at Cambridge.

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Robert E. Moody, 2 vols, Boston, —4 , i. Houston, Punishing the Dead? BL, Add. Stokes, Corpus Christi Cambridge, , Lord Keeper Bacon had paid to rebuild the chapel at Corpus Christi and had established scholarships in his name. He named his second son Butts Bacon. Butts became rector of Birdbrook on 31 October at the presentation of Henry Gent, esquire, a local landowner and justice. Butts was the only early modern incumbent of Birdbook not to be ordained priest.

Unfor- tunately, no parish registers survive from his incumbency.

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Dorothy Gardiner ed. Arthur Searle ed.

Diary of John Rous, 55; By the King. Mullinger, University of Cambridge, iii. Masters, History of the College , Prince Charles was born at Whitehall on 29 May , and baptized on 27 June. Mullinger, University of Cambridge. Cambridge University Archives, Lett. See Calendar of State Peters, Domestic, —, 38, 63, , , , for routine letters and petitions of the vice-chancellor to government officials. Harley , fo. Robert S.

Kinney ed. See also G. On 3 March they performed at Norwich.

John R. Elliott, Alan H. Nelson, Alexandra F. John Nichols, The Progresses. Cooper, Annals of Cambridge 5 vols, Cambridge, —53 , iii. Bodleian Library, Oxford, Ms. There are numerous prints and illustrations throughout in blue ink. Only slight darkening on pages.