Chatsworth House is a stately home in Derbyshire, England, in the Derbyshire Dales 3.5 miles northeast of Bakewell and 9 miles west of Chesterfield. The seat of the Duke of Devonshire, it has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. Standing on the east bank of the River Derwent, Chatsworth looks across to the low hills that divide the Derwent and Wye valleys; the house, set in expansive parkland and backed by wooded, rocky hills rising to heather moorland, contains an important collection of paintings, Old Master drawings, neoclassical sculptures and other artefacts. Chatsworth has been selected as the United Kingdom's favourite country house several times; the name'Chatsworth' is a corruption of Chetel's-worth, meaning "the Court of Chetel". In the reign of Edward the Confessor, a man of Norse origin named Chetel held lands jointly with a Saxon named Leotnoth in three townships: Ednesoure to the west of the Derwent, Langoleie and Chetesuorde to the east. Chetel was deposed after the Norman Conquest and in the Domesday Book the Manor of Chetesuorde is listed as the property of the Crown in the custody of William de Peverel.
Chatsworth ceased to be a large estate, until the 15th century when it was acquired by the Leche family who owned property nearby. They enclosed the first park at Chatsworth and built a house on the high ground in what is now the south-eastern part of the garden. In 1549 they sold all their property in the area to Sir William Cavendish, Treasurer of the King's Chamber and the husband of Bess of Hardwick, who had persuaded him to sell his property in Suffolk and settle in her native county. Bess began to build the new house in 1553, she selected a site near the river, drained by digging a series of reservoirs, which doubled as fish ponds. Sir William died in 1557, but Bess finished the house in the 1560s and lived there with her fourth husband, George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1568 Shrewsbury was entrusted with the custody of Mary, Queen of Scots, brought his prisoner to Chatsworth several times from 1570 onwards, she lodged in the apartment now known as the Queen of Scots rooms, on the top floor above the great hall, which faces onto the inner courtyard.
An accomplished needlewoman, Bess joined Mary at Chatsworth for extended periods in 1569, 1570, 1571, during which time they worked together on the Oxburgh Hangings. Bess died in 1608 and Chatsworth was passed to Henry; the estate was purchased from Henry by his brother William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, for £10,000. Few changes were made at Chatsworth until the mid-17th century. William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire was a staunch Royalist and was expelled from the House of Lords in 1642, he left England for the safety of his estates were sequestrated. Chatsworth was occupied by both sides during the Civil War, the 3rd Earl did not return to the house until the restoration of the monarchy, he reconstructed the principal rooms in an attempt to make them more comfortable, but the Elizabethan house was out-dated and unsafe. The 4th Earl of Devonshire, to become the 1st Duke in 1694 for helping to put William of Orange on the English throne, was an advanced Whig and was forced to retire to Chatsworth during the reign of King James II.
This called for a rebuilding of the house, which began in 1687. Cavendish planned to reconstruct only the south wing with the State Apartments, so he decided to retain the Elizabethan courtyard plan, despite the fact that this layout was becoming unfashionable, he enjoyed building and reconstructed the East Front, that included the Painted Hall and Long Gallery, followed by the rebuilding of the West Front from 1699 to 1702. The North Front was completed in 1707; the 1st Duke had large parterre gardens designed by George London and Henry Wise, appointed by Queen Anne to the post of Royal Gardner at Kensington Palace. William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire, made no changes to the house and gardens, but both contributed to the collection found at Chatsworth to this date. Connoisseur of the arts the collection include paintings, Old Master drawings and prints, ancient coins and carved Greek and Roman sculptures. Palladian furniture designed by William Kent was commissioned by the 3rd Duke when he had Devonshire House in London rebuilt following a fire in 1733.
Upon the sale and demolition of Devonshire House in 1924 the furniture was transferred to Chatsworth. The 4th Duke made great changes to gardens, he decided the approach to the house should be from the west and had the old stables and offices as well as parts of Edensor village pulled down so they were not visible from the house. He replaced the 1st Duke's formal gardens with a more natural look, designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown, which he helped bring into fashion. In 1748, the 4th Duke married Lady Charlotte Boyle, the sole surviving heiress of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Lord Burlington was an accomplished architect in his own right with many works to his name including Chiswick House. With his death, his important collection of architectural drawings and Inigo Jones masque designs, Old Master paintings and William Kent designed furniture were transferred to the Dukes of Devonshire; this inheritance brought many estates to the family. The 6th Duke was a passionate traveller, builder and collector who transformed Chatsworth.
In 1811 he inherited eight major estates. These estates covered 200,0
James VI and I
James VI and I was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless, he continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58.
After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began. At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors, he achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie, The True Law of Free Monarchies, Basilikon Doron, he sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would be named after him: the Authorised King James Version.
Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch, he was committed to a peace policy, tried to avoid involvement in religious wars the Thirty Years' War that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain. James was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Both Mary and Darnley were great-grandchildren of Henry VII of England through Margaret Tudor, the older sister of Henry VIII. Mary's rule over Scotland was insecure, she and her husband, being Roman Catholics, faced a rebellion by Protestant noblemen. During Mary's and Darnley's difficult marriage, Darnley secretly allied himself with the rebels and conspired in the murder of the Queen's private secretary, David Rizzio, just three months before James's birth.
James was born on 19 June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, as the eldest son and heir apparent of the monarch automatically became Duke of Rothesay and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. He was baptised "Charles James" or "James Charles" on 17 December 1566 in a Catholic ceremony held at Stirling Castle, his godparents were Charles IX of France, Elizabeth I of England, Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy. Mary refused to let the Archbishop of St Andrews, whom she referred to as "a pocky priest", spit in the child's mouth, as was the custom; the subsequent entertainment, devised by Frenchman Bastian Pagez, featured men dressed as satyrs and sporting tails, to which the English guests took offence, thinking the satyrs "done against them". James's father, was murdered on 10 February 1567 at Kirk o' Field, Edinburgh in revenge for the killing of Rizzio. James inherited his father's titles of Duke of Earl of Ross. Mary was unpopular, her marriage on 15 May 1567 to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, suspected of murdering Darnley, heightened widespread bad feeling towards her.
In June 1567, Protestant rebels imprisoned her in Loch Leven Castle. She was forced to abdicate on 24 July 1567 in favour of the infant James and to appoint her illegitimate half-brother, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, as regent; the care of James was entrusted to the Earl and Countess of Mar, "to be conserved and upbrought" in the security of Stirling Castle. James was anointed King of Scots at the age of thirteen months at the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, by Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney, on 29 July 1567; the sermon at the coronation was preached by John Knox. In accordance with the religious beliefs of most of the Scottish ruling class, James was brought up as a member of the Protestant Church of Scotland, the Kirk; the Privy Council selected George Buchanan, Peter Young, Adam Erskine, David Erskine as James's preceptors or tutors. As the young king's senior tutor, Buchanan subjected James to regular beatings but instilled in him a lifelong passion for literature and learning. Buchanan sought to turn James into a God-fearing, Protestant king who accepted the limitations of monarchy, as outlined in his treatise De Jure Regni apud Scotos.
In 1568, Mary escaped from her i
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540, when he was beheaded on orders of the king. Cromwell was one of most powerful proponents of the English Reformation, he helped to engineer an annulment of the king's marriage to Queen Catherine so that Henry could lawfully marry Anne Boleyn. Henry failed to obtain the Pope's approval for the annulment in 1534, so Parliament endorsed the king's claim to be Supreme Head of the Church of England, giving him the authority to annul his own marriage. However, Cromwell subsequently charted an evangelical and reformist course for the Church of England from the unique posts of vicegerent in spirituals and vicar-general. During his rise to power, Cromwell made many enemies, including his former ally Anne Boleyn, he played a prominent role in her downfall. He fell from power, after arranging the king's marriage to German princess Anne of Cleves. Cromwell had hoped that the marriage would breathe fresh life into the Reformation in England, but Henry found his new bride unattractive and it turned into a disaster for Cromwell, ending in an annulment six months later.
Cromwell was arraigned under a bill of attainder and executed for treason and heresy on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540. The king expressed regret at the loss of his chief minister. Thomas Cromwell was born around 1485, in Putney, the son of Walter Cromwell, a blacksmith and cloth merchant, owner of both a hostelry and a brewery. Walter Cromwell is considered by some to be of Irish ancestry. Thomas's mother, was the aunt of Nicholas Glossop of Wirksworth in Derbyshire, she lived in Putney in the house of a local attorney, John Welbeck, at the time of her marriage to Walter Cromwell in 1474. Cromwell had two sisters: the elder, married Morgan Williams, a Welsh lawyer. Katherine and Morgan's son, was employed in his uncle's service and changed his name to Cromwell. Little is known about Cromwell's early life, it is believed that he was born on the edge of Putney Heath. In 1878, his birthplace was still of note: The site of Cromwell's birthplace is still pointed out by tradition and is in some measure confirmed by the survey of Wimbledon Manor, quoted above, for it describes on that spot'an ancient cottage called the smith's shop, lying west of the highway from Richmond to Wandsworth, being the sign of the Anchor'.
The plot of ground here referred to is now covered by the Green Man public house. Cromwell declared to Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer that he had been a "ruffian… in his young days"; as a youth, he left his family in Putney, crossed the Channel to the continent. Accounts of his activities in France and the Low Countries are sketchy and contradictory, it is alleged that he first became a mercenary, marched with the French army to Italy, where he fought in the Battle of Garigliano on 28 December 1503. While in Italy, he entered service in the household of the Florentine banker Francesco Frescobaldi, he visited leading mercantile centres in the Low Countries, living among the English merchants and developing a network of contacts while learning several languages. At some point he returned to Italy; the records of the English Hospital in Rome indicate that he stayed there in June 1514, while documents in the Vatican Archives suggest that he was an agent for the Archbishop of York, Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge, handled English ecclesiastical issues before the Roman Rota.
At one point during these years, Cromwell returned to England, where around 1515 he married Elizabeth Wyckes. She was the widow of Thomas Williams, a Yeoman of the Guard, the daughter of a Putney shearman, Henry Wykes, who had served as a gentleman usher to King Henry VII; the couple had three children: Gregory Cromwell, 1st Baron Cromwell, Elizabeth Seymour's second husband. Anne Cromwell Grace Cromwell Cromwell's wife died early in 1529 and his daughters and Grace, are believed to have died not long after their mother, their death may have been to Sweating sickness. Provisions made for Anne and Grace in Cromwell's will, dated 12 July 1529, were crossed out at some date. Gregory outlived his father by only 11 years, succumbing to sweating sickness in 1551. Thomas Cromwell had an illegitimate daughter, whose early life is a complete mystery. According to novelist Dame Hilary Mantel, "Cromwell had an illegitimate daughter, beyond the fact that she existed, we know little about her, she comes into the records, in an obscure way — she's in the archives of the county of Chester."
Jane married William Hough, of Leighton in Wirral, around 1550. William Hough was the son of Richard Hough, Cromwell's agent in Chester from 1534-40, it is unknown what role Gregory Cromwell played in her life. Jane and her husband William Hough remained staunch Roman Catholics, together with their daughter, her husband, William Whitmore, their children, all came to the attention of the authorities as recusants during the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1517, again in 1518, Cromwell led an embassy to Rome to obtain from Pope Leo X a papal bull for the reinstatement of Indulgences for the town of Boston, Lincolnshire. By 1520, Cromwell was established in London mercantile and legal circles. In 1523, he obtained a seat in the House of Commons as a Burgess, though the constituency he represented has not been identified. After Parliament had been dissolved, Cromwell wrote a letter to a friend, jesting about the session's
Suffolk is an East Anglian county of historic origin in England. It has borders with Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south; the North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich; the county is low-lying with few hills, is arable land with the wetlands of the Broads in the north. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. By the fifth century, the Angles had established control of the region; the Angles became the "north folk" and the "south folk", from which developed the names "Norfolk" and "Suffolk". Suffolk and several adjacent areas became the kingdom of East Anglia, which merged with Mercia and Wessex. Suffolk was divided into four separate Quarter Sessions divisions. In 1860, the number of divisions was reduced to two; the eastern division was administered from the western from Bury St Edmunds. Under the Local Government Act 1888, the two divisions were made the separate administrative counties of East Suffolk and West Suffolk. A few Essex parishes were added to Suffolk: Ballingdon-with-Brundon and parts of Haverhill and Kedington.
On 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, East Suffolk, West Suffolk, Ipswich were merged to form the unified county of Suffolk. The county was divided into several local government districts: Babergh, Forest Heath, Mid Suffolk, St Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal, Waveney; this act transferred some land near Great Yarmouth to Norfolk. As introduced in Parliament, the Local Government Act would have transferred Newmarket and Haverhill to Cambridgeshire and Colchester from Essex. In 2007, the Department for Communities and Local Government referred Ipswich Borough Council's bid to become a new unitary authority to the Boundary Committee; the Boundary Committee reported in favour of the proposal. It was not, approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Beginning in February 2008, the Boundary Committee again reviewed local government in the county, with two possible options emerging. One was that of splitting Suffolk into two unitary authorities – Ipswich and Felixstowe and Rural Suffolk.
In February 2010, the then-Minister Rosie Winterton announced that no changes would be imposed on the structure of local government in the county as a result of the review, but that the government would be: "asking Suffolk councils and MPs to reach a consensus on what unitary solution they want through a countywide constitutional convention". Following the May 2010 general election, all further moves towards any of the suggested unitary solutions ceased on the instructions of the incoming Coalition government. In 2018 it was determined that Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury would be merged to form a new West Suffolk district, while Waveney and Suffolk Coastal would form a new East Suffolk district; these changes took effect on 1 April 2019. West Suffolk, like nearby East Cambridgeshire, is renowned for archaeological finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. Bronze Age artefacts have been found in the area between Mildenhall and West Row, in Eriswell and in Lakenheath. Many bronze objects, such as swords, arrows, palstaves, daggers, armour, decorative equipment, fragments of sheet bronze, are entrusted to St. Edmundsbury heritage service, housed at West Stow just outside Bury St. Edmunds.
Other finds include traces of barrows. In the east of the county is Sutton Hoo, the site of one of England's most significant Anglo-Saxon archaeological finds, a ship burial containing a collection of treasures including a Sword of State and silver bowls, jewellery and a lyre; the majority of agriculture in Suffolk is either mixed. Farm sizes vary from anything around 80 acres to over 8,000. Soil types vary from heavy clays to light sands. Crops grown include:winter wheat, winter barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape and spring beans and linseed, although smaller areas of rye and oats can be found growing in areas with lighter soils along with a variety of vegetables; the continuing importance of agriculture in the county is reflected in the Suffolk Show, held annually in May at Ipswich. Although latterly somewhat changed in nature, this remains an agricultural show. Below is a chart of regional gross value added of Suffolk at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Well-known companies in Suffolk include Greene Branston Pickle in Bury St Edmunds. Birds Eye has its largest UK factory in Lowestoft, where all its meat products and frozen vegetables are processed. Huntley & Palmers biscuit company has a base in Sudbury; the UK horse racing industry is based in Newmarket. There are two USAF bases in the west of the county close to the A11. Sizewell B nuclear power station is at Sizewell on the coast near Leiston. Bernard Matthews Farms have some processing units in the county Holton. Southwold is the home of Adnams Brewery; the Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the United Kingdom. Other ports are at Ipswich, run by Associated British Ports. BT has its main development facility at Martlesham Heath. There are several towns in the county with Ipswich being most populous. At the time
Mary I of England
Mary I known as Mary Tudor, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She is best known for her aggressive attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII; the executions that marked her pursuit of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland led to her denunciation as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents. Mary was the only child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to survive to adulthood, her younger half-brother Edward VI succeeded their father in 1547 at the age of nine. When Edward became mortally ill in 1553, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession because he supposed that she would reverse the Protestant reforms that had begun during his reign. On his death, leading politicians proclaimed Lady Jane Grey as queen. Mary speedily assembled a force in East Anglia and deposed Jane, beheaded. Mary was—excluding the disputed reigns of Jane and the Empress Matilda—the first queen regnant of England.
In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556. During her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions. After Mary's death in 1558, her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, at the beginning of the 45-year Elizabethan era. Mary was born on 18 February 1516 at the Palace of Placentia in England, she was the only child of his first wife Catherine of Aragon to survive infancy. Her mother had suffered many miscarriages. Before Mary's birth, four previous pregnancies had resulted in a stillborn daughter and three short-lived or stillborn sons, including Henry, Duke of Cornwall. Mary was baptised into the Catholic faith at the Church of the Observant Friars in Greenwich three days after her birth, her godparents included Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey. Henry VIII's cousin once removed, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, stood sponsor for Mary's confirmation, held after the baptism.
The following year, Mary became a godmother herself when she was named as one of the sponsors of her cousin Frances Brandon. In 1520, the Countess of Salisbury was appointed Mary's governess. Sir John Hussey Lord Hussey, was her chamberlain from 1530, his wife, Lady Anne, daughter of George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, was one of Mary's attendants. Mary was a precocious child. In July 1520, when scarcely four and a half years old, she entertained a visiting French delegation with a performance on the virginals. A great part of her early education came from her mother, who consulted the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives for advice and commissioned him to write De Institutione Feminae Christianae, a treatise on the education of girls. By the age of nine, Mary could write Latin, she studied French, music and Greek. Henry VIII doted on his daughter and boasted to the Venetian ambassador Sebastian Giustiniani, "This girl never cries"; as the miniature portrait of her shows, Mary had, like both her parents, a fair complexion, pale blue eyes and red or reddish-golden hair.
She was ruddy cheeked, a trait she inherited from her father. Despite his affection for Mary, Henry was disappointed that his marriage had produced no sons. By the time Mary was nine years old, it was apparent that Henry and Catherine would have no more children, leaving Henry without a legitimate male heir. In 1525, Henry sent Mary to the border of Wales to preside in name only, over the Council of Wales and the Marches, she was given her own court based at Ludlow Castle and many of the royal prerogatives reserved for the Prince of Wales. Vives and others called her the Princess of Wales, although she was never technically invested with the title, she appears to have spent three years in the Welsh Marches, making regular visits to her father's court, before returning permanently to the home counties around London in mid-1528. Throughout Mary's childhood, Henry negotiated potential future marriages for her; when she was only two years old, she was promised to Francis, the infant son of King Francis I of France, but the contract was repudiated after three years.
In 1522, at the age of six, she was instead contracted to marry her 22-year-old first cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. However, the engagement was broken off within a few years by Charles with Henry's agreement. Cardinal Wolsey, Henry's chief adviser resumed marriage negotiations with the French, Henry suggested that Mary marry the Dauphin's father, King Francis I himself, eager for an alliance with England. A marriage treaty was signed which provided that Mary marry either Francis I or his second son Henry, Duke of Orleans, but Wolsey secured an alliance with France without the marriage. According to the Venetian Mario Savorgnano, by this time Mary was developing into a pretty, well-proportioned young lady with a fine complexion. Meanwhile, the marriage of Mary's parents was in jeopardy. Disappointed at the lack of a male heir, eager to remarry, Henry attempted to have his marriage to Catherine annulled, but Pope Clement VII refused his request. Henry claimed, citing biblical passages, that his marriage to Catherine was unclean because she was the widow of his brother Arthur.
Catherine claimed so was not a valid marriage. Her first marriage had been annulled by a previous pope, Julius II, on t
Royal Library of the Netherlands
The Royal Library of the Netherlands is based in The Hague and was founded in 1798. The mission of the Royal Library of the Netherlands, as presented on the library's web site, is to provide "access to the knowledge and culture of the past and the present by providing high-quality services for research and cultural experience"; the initiative to found a national library was proposed by representative Albert Jan Verbeek on August 17 1798. The collection would be based on the confiscated book collection of William V; the library was founded as the Nationale Bibliotheek on November 8 of the same year, after a committee of representatives had advised the creation of a national library on the same day. The National Library was only open to members of the Representative Body. King Louis Bonaparte gave the national library its name of the Royal Library in 1806. Napoleon Bonaparte transferred the Royal Library to The Hague as property, while allowing the Imperial Library in Paris to expropriate publications from the Royal Library.
In 1815 King William I of the Netherlands confirmed the name of'Royal Library' by royal resolution. It has been known as the National Library of the Netherlands since 1982, when it opened new quarters; the institution became independent of the state in 1996, although it is financed by the Department of Education and Science. In 2004, the National Library of the Netherlands contained 3,300,000 items, equivalent to 67 kilometers of bookshelves. Most items in the collection are books. There are pieces of "grey literature", where the author, publisher, or date may not be apparent but the document has cultural or intellectual significance; the collection contains the entire literature of the Netherlands, from medieval manuscripts to modern scientific publications. For a publication to be accepted, it must be from a registered Dutch publisher; the collection is accessible for members. Any person aged 16 years or older can become a member. One day passes are available. Requests for material take 30 minutes.
The KB hosts several open access websites, including the "Memory of the Netherlands". List of libraries in the Netherlands European Library Nederlandse Centrale Catalogus Books in the Netherlands Media related to Koninklijke Bibliotheek at Wikimedia Commons Official website
A courtier is a person, in attendance at the court of a monarch or other royal personage. The earliest historical examples of courtiers were part of the retinues of rulers; the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, the social and political life were completely mixed together. Monarchs often expected the more important nobles to spend much of the year in attendance on them at court. Not all courtiers were noble, as they included clergy, clerks, secretaries and middlemen with business at court. All those who held a court appointment could be called courtiers but not all courtiers held positions at court; those personal favourites without business around the monarch, sometimes called the camarilla, were considered courtiers. As social divisions became more rigid, a divide present in Antiquity or the Middle Ages, opened between menial servants and other classes at court, although Alexandre Bontemps, the head valet de chambre of Louis XIV, was a late example of a "menial" who managed to establish his family in the nobility.
The key commodities for a courtier were access and information, a large court operated at many levels: many successful careers at court involved no direct contact with the monarch. The largest and most famous European court was that of the Palace of Versailles at its peak, although the Forbidden City of Beijing was larger and more isolated from national life. Similar features marked the courts of all large monarchies, including in India, Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Ancient Rome, Byzantium or the Caliphs of Baghdad or Cairo. Early medieval European courts travelled from place to place following the monarch as he travelled; this was the case in the early French court. But, the European nobility had independent power and was less controlled by the monarch until around the 18th century, which gave European court life greater complexity; the earliest courtiers coincide with the development of definable courts beyond the rudimentary entourages or retinues of rulers. There were courtiers in the courts of the Akkadian Empire where there is evidence of court appointments such as that of Cup-bearer, one of the earliest court appointments and remained a position at courts for thousands of years.
Two of the earliest titles referring to the general concept of a courtier were the ša rēsi and mazzāz pāni of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.. In Ancient Egypt we find a title translated as high great overseer of the house; the courts influenced by the court of the Neo-Assyrian Empire such as those of the Median Empire and the Achaemenid Empire had numerous courtiers After invading the Achaemenid Empire Alexander the Great returned with the concept of the complex court featuring a variety of courtiers to the Kingdom of Macedonia and Hellenistic Greece. The imperial court of the Byzantine Empire at Constantinople would contain at least a thousand courtiers; the court's systems became prevalent in other courts such as those in the Balkan states, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. Byzantinism is a term, coined for this spread of the Byzantine system in the 19th century. In modern English, the term is used metaphorically for contemporary political favourites or hangers-on. In modern literature, courtiers are depicted as insincere, skilled at flattery and intrigue and lacking regard for the national interest.
More positive representations include the role played by members of the court in the development of politeness and the arts. Examples of courtiers in fiction: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Sir Lancelot from Arthurian legend, Gríma Wormtongue from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Count Hasimir Fenring and Gaius Helen Mohiam from Frank Herbert's Dune. Petyr Baelish and Varys from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire. Ivan Vorpatril from Lois McMaster Bujold's series Vorkosigan Saga. Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. Brokerage at the Court of Louis XIV, by Sharon Kettering. 1, pp. 69-87.