KING HENRY VI.
FOR this fiction there is a slight foundation of fact. Stow, in his Chronicle (first published in 1565), says
that a chapel was built in memory of those who had fallen in the battle of Barnet, about half a mile from the
town. "It is now," he writes, "a dwelling-house; the top quarters remain yet." This somewhat obscure expression
possibly means that, while the chapel itself had been dismantled, the priests' chamber above still remained. It
has been conjectured that this dwelling-house still exists in a building known as Pymlicoe House, which stands
on the west side of Hadley Green, at about the distance from Barnet specified by Stow. The name occurs in the
register of Hadley parish, under date February 10, 1673-4, "a travelling woman from the
pymblicoe house." I have taken the liberty of treating this conjecture as if it were a fact.
The personages in this story are of course imaginary, but I have endeavoured to make their surroundings
The description of life at Eton is taken from a document dating from about the middle of the sixteenth century.
I have ventured to ante-date it by about a hundred years. In so conservative a school the customs of 1550 might
very well have been traced back for a century.
I have post-dated by about as long a time the armourer whom I describe as occupying the manor-house of the
There is no historical foundation for the description of the death of the Earl of Warwick; I fear that I cannot
even plead that it is probable. The details of the escape of the Duke of Exeter are imaginary, but the outlines
of the incident are real. This description of the election of an abbot has been transferred from John of
Wheathampstead to his successor.
I must apologize for having used a style more modern than the time to which it professes to belong. The "Paston
Letters" afforded me, indeed, a model which I might have imitated; but my English would have seemed
intolerably harsh to my readers, and I preferred to make my chantry priest write as he might have written had
he been born a century later.
I desire to express my obligations to the Rev. F. Cass, Rector of Monken Hadley, whose antiquarian knowledge
has been of the greatest service to me; to Mr. Falconer Madan, one of the sub-librarians of the Bodleian, whose
unfailing courtesy and kindness are known to all readers in that library; and to Mr. T. J. Jackson, of
Worcester College, who communicated to me some facts about the Benedictines of Gloucester College.
I am greatly indebted to the Rev. Henry Anstey's Preface to the Munimenta Academica in the Master of the Rolls'
Series; to Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy Hardy's Preface to the Descriptive Catalogue of Materials Relating to the
History of Great Britain and Ireland, in the same series; to the Rev.
Mackenzie Walcott's Church Work and Life in English Minsters; to the Rev. Sparrow Simpson's Chapters in the
History of Old St. Paul's; and to Mr. W. Blades' monograph on William Caxton. I have also drawn much from
Mr. Newcome's History of St. Albans.
PYMLICOE HOUSE, HADLEY,
October 18, 1884
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