12 APRIL 1935, Page 36


Codes Peace and the Queenes -(Oxford University Press, 8s. 6d.) is sub-titled " Vicissitudes of a House, 1539-1615." It is a book that no doubt was hard to compile and is certainly hard to read. It contains Star Chamber proceedings, lawsuits, genealogical tables, witnesses' testimonies, lists of names innumerable, a letter from Queen Elizabeth—every kind of documentary evidence. The house of the title was the Manor House of Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire. In 1589, when it was the property of one James Crofts, it was raided by the Earl of Lincoln, henry Norreys, who suffered from several sorts of mania of which one was a desire for other people's possessions. ' This story is told here from contemporary documents, with the witnesses' evidence (impressively different) on both sides before the Star Chamber afterwards. It is a good and lively story, and so is the one which follows it, the Dymoke Case, in which, in a stage play acted upon the Sabbath day, "Talbois Dimocke, beinge the then prineipall actor . . . , did firste . . . counterfeate the person of (the Earl) and his speches and gesture," continuing with other scurrilities. But the book is so full of sources, and references, and determina- tion to trace back to 1129 the events-of -1589 and leave-out no-c one of importance who existed in between, that only readers with leisure and stamina will feel able to make their researches in it. The description of the Manor House, for instance (the hero of the story), will be found on the last page of all. The Elizabethan spelling will be valuable to students—or would be, if one had not the author's assurance that it had " occa- sionally been modernized with a view to clarity." The volume, in fact, is a mine of information ; but mining is hard work.