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Escape from the Bastille, 1559

Joan Hasler describes how, as controller of Calais in 1558, Edward Grimston was captured when the town surrendered to the Duke of Guise and held to ransom in the Bastille.

A depiction of the Bastille and neighbouring Paris in 1575.An entertaining account of a 16th century prison-break is to be found in the report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission on the papers of the Earl of Verulam preserved at Gorhambury. This volume was published in 1906 and contains various documents upon the Bacon and Grimston families, mainly of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ralph Rowlatt had obtained the estate from St. Albans Abbey at its dissolution, and he sold it to Nicholas Bacon in 1555. Francis Bacon used it as his winter quarters, and the collection includes Charles I’s order to him to ‘expunge and reform’ the errors in Coke’s Reports, and the draft of a Parliamentary petition to Charles against the Spanish match. On Francis Bacon’s death in 1626, Gorhambury passed to his niece who married Sir Harbottle Grimston, Master of the Rolls, and the bulk of the documents belong to the Grimston family.

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