Poem about Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford

Scope and Content

A 54 line poem entitled 'The ultimum vale or last farewell of Thomas Earle of Strafford written by him selfe a little before his death', not in fact by Strafford, but copied, probably in or soon after 1641, on the verso of the front fly-leaf of the library's copy of The Historie of Philip de Commines (1601).

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Wentworth was of an ancient and wealthy Yorkshire family, and was born at London, in 1593. He studied at Cambridge, married in 1611, was knighted, and travelled on the continent. He was returned to parliament as member for Yorkshire in 1614, and the next year was named custus rotulorum for the West Riding. He sat in several parliaments for Yorkshire, and without going to extremes, took part with the opponents of the court. In 1628 he went over to the side of the king, and was created Baron Wentworth, then Viscount, Lord President of the Council of the North, and in 1629 Privy-Councillor. In 1633 he was made Lord-Deputy of Ireland (1632-1640), where his harsh government led to the rebellion of 1641. In 1639 Wentworth was created Earl of Strafford, and received the title of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Strafford took his seat in the House of Lords in November 1640 and was immediately impeached of high treason for attempting to raise Irish troops to fight the King's English enemies, and committed to the Tower. In March, 1641 his trial began - Strafford defended himself admirably and, as the impeachment seemed likely to fail, a bill of attainder was proposed. Though he initially refused his assent to the attainder, King Charles I finally gave way and his minister, who had trusted in his promise of protection, was beheaded on Tower Hill, May 12, 1641.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Copied onto the verso of the front fly-leaf of the University of London Library's copy of The historie of Philip de Commines (Ar. Hatfield, for I. Norton, London, 1601).

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Alternative Form Available

For a photographic facsimile of the poem see MS/F.121.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

11" x 7½"

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.


The poem was published as a broadside in 1641 (B.M.Lutt.II, 211).