Sir Thomas Salusbury 2nd’s (1612-1643) Manuscripts and Fragments


  • Rebecca A. Bailey Liverpool John Moores University


This article examines several manuscripts by Sir Thomas Salusbury 2nd (1612-1643) of Denbighshire, North Wales, bound within ‘The Salusburies of Lleweni Manuscript’, housed in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. The manuscripts discussed comprise Salusbury’s complete comedy, ‘Love and Money’, together with an ‘Epilogue’ and ‘Prologue’ to Salusbury’s missing play, ‘The Sorrowful Ladie’, which was performed, in 1639, at Thornhill, Buckinghamshire; a playlet, “The Citizen and his Wife” (1642) which has been transcribed by Martin Wiggins; two unfinished works, due to Salusbury’s untimely death in 1643, consisting of three acts of a tragicomedy, ‘The Lady of Loreto’, and a poetic translation of ten chapters of the ‘Book of Wisdom’ entitled, ‘The Wisdom of Saloman’. Salusbury’s manuscripts add to our growing understanding of the vibrancy of Caroline literature and powerfully encapsulate and dissect the anxieties of the cultural moment in the lead up to, and during, the Civil War. Key themes include good queenship, wise government, and the dangers of martial law.  Additionally, these manuscripts give insight into the tastes of a provincial audience, demonstrate the dramatic interconnections between the provinces and London, and provide further evidence of the performance of seventeenth-century manuscript drama. The depth to Salusbury’s oeuvre is evident from his engagement with popular contemporary dramatic genres. Salusbury’s ‘Love and Money’ is a humours play indebted to Ben Jonson, whilst Salusbury’s neoplatonic tragicomedy, ‘The Lady of Loreto’, reflects the preferred theatrical experience of King Charles I’s exiled court, made fashionable by William Davenant and James Shirley.