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Speeches in Parliament, 1627-1628 [new style 1628-1629], created for Sir William Brereton (1604-1661)

 Collection — Volume: 1
Call Number: MS C311


Donated to the library as part of the Eliot S. Berkley collection, this 505-page manuscript volume titled Speeches in Parliament, 1627-1628 [new style 1628-1629] contains (according to the enclosed letter written in 1732 by Henry Richardson, who then owned the manuscript): “Speeches, Arguments & Debates in Parliament, chiefly relating to the famous Petition of Right, by some of the most eminent Men of that Time, Sir Edward Coke, Mr. Selden & many others.”


  • Creation: 1628-1629 or later


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of William Brereton

William Brereton (1604-1661), whose parents died when he was five or six, inherited several manors in Cheshire with lands totaling about 3000 acres. He matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1621 and went from there to attend Gray's Inn in 1623-1624. In 1623 he married Susanna, daughter of Sir George Booth, and, following her death in 1637, married again in 1641 Cicely Mytton, a wealthy Staffordshire widow. Both marriages produced issue. Brereton acquired a baronetcy in 1627 in exchange for maintaining soldiers in Ireland. At that time he did not openly oppose the taxation policy of Charles I, although he disliked it. He was elected to Parliament in 1628, and the volume of Speeches in Parliament, 1627-1628 [new style 1628-1628] dates from that year.

During the 1620s and 1630s Brereton was active as a businessman, magistrate, and traveler, keeping interesting journals of his trips to the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland. He was elected to Parliament again in 1640, by which time he had become an active supporter of the Puritan cause. In 1643 he commanded the Parliamentarian military forces in Cheshire and contributed to their first victory in 1644 at Nantwich. During 1644-1646 he led the successful siege of the city of Chester. After 1648 he continued to be active in civic and military matters. At the end of the first civil war he had acquired the archbishop of Canterbury's summer palace at Croydon, south of London. The palace was returned to the archbishop after the restoration of the monarchy in May 1660, and Brereton lived the last year of his life in shared lodgings in Whitehall, dying there in April 1661.


1 volume (505 pages) : Manuscript on paper, written in several hands, bound in full morocco leather with gilt ornament and initials W.B. Spine title gilt on red leather patch adhered to spine. Enclosed manuscript letter dated August 5, 1732 laid onto front endpaper, along with unidentified twentieth-century bookseller’s description. ; 21 cm

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Donated to the library as part of the Eliot S. Berkley collection, this 505-page manuscript volume titled Speeches in Parliament, 1627-1628 [new style 1628-1629] contains (according to the enclosed letter written in 1732 by Henry Richardson, who then owned the manuscript): “Speeches, Arguments & Debates in Parliament, chiefly relating to the famous Petition of Right, by some of the most eminent Men of that Time, Sir Edward Coke, Mr. Selden & many others.” The manuscript was created for Sir William Brereton, a member of the House of Commons 1628-1629, who later sided with Parliament and, from 1643-1646, played a significant military role in the first civil war. The contents of the volume were probably copied for Brereton by scriveners, but Richardson’s letter points out that “it is corrected & interlined in several places by his own hand.” This manuscript is a telling memorial of a year that must have influenced Brereton’s political sentiments. Together with similar accounts surviving in other libraries and archives, it provides an unofficial record of the activities of the historic Parliament of 1628-1629. After the Parliament was dissolved by Charles I, the king would not call a Parliament again until 1640.

Physical Location

MS C311

Other Finding Aids

A separate document is available providing the transcribed list of contents of Sir William Brereton's manuscript volume, Speeches in Parliament 1627-1628 [new style 1628-1629]. This list consists of two parallel columns of entries, the left column transcribed from the titles heading the speeches and the right column transcribed from the table of contents at the end of the volume. Vertical strokes indicate line breaks. The original spelling and punctuation, which vary within the volume and often differ from modern usage, have largely been preserved. Words that the transcriber could not decipher have been indicated within square brackets by the letter "x" repeated to indicate the approximate number of letters.

The volume's list of contents is available at (9 pages).

Custodial History

This manuscript was created for Sir William Brereton in 1628-1629 or later. It was presumably inherited on his death in 1661 by his only son, Sir Thomas Brereton, who died childless in 1673. Somehow the manuscript subsequently came into the hands of Henry Richardson, whose letter dated August 5, 1732 and addressed to William Wright, Esqr, at Offerton is attached to the front endpaper. Richardson offers the manuscript to Wright, saying “You have a sort of title to it, for it came formerly from Hanford, & now returns to the Owner of that Place.” Handforth (aka Hanford) Hall, a manor house in Cheshire, had been built in 1562 for Uriah Brereton, and Sir William Brereton lived there when in Cheshire. In about 1673 Handforth Hall was sold to Thomas Legh of Adlington, Cheshire. The Legh family sold it in 1716 to William Wright, and it belonged to the Wright family until at least 1880. In 1795 one of Brereton’s letter books (ending July 17, 1643) belonged to J. Wright of Stafford. Other Brereton manuscripts may have remained in the possession of the Wright family. Somehow during the mid-twentieth century this manuscript came into the hands of an unidentified bookseller, whose catalog description is pasted to the front endpaper. Eliot S. Berkley (1924-2012) purchased the manuscript from an unknown source during the second half of the twentieth century. It was the favorite item in his personal library, also including sixteenth-to eighteenth-century printed books that he accumulated during four decades of book collecting. The Eliot S. Berkley Collection, given to Kenneth Spencer Research Library in 2011-2013, includes this manuscript and more than 400 printed books. The topics of the books, reflecting his interests, include religion, philosophy, military and political history, geography, biography, social commentary, and science. A Kansas City native and Princeton University graduate, Dr. Berkley taught history and government at the University of Kansas City (now the University of Missouri-Kansas City) and social science at the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design, where he also served as vice president for development (1960-1961) and dean of the college (1961-1965). He was active in educational and social-action organizations, and founded the International Relations Council in 1954 with the aim of fostering understanding of international affairs among citizens of the greater Kansas City area.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Eliot S. Berkley, December 2013

Related Materials

Parliamentum, 17 Martij 1627. A collection of four texts of important speeches or documents delivered in Commons or Lords in the Parliament of 1628 (17 March-26 June). Special Collections Call number: MS P20.

A true survaigh of [lands in Creswell Manor, Blimhill, and Brineton, Staffordshire] belonging to Oliver Lord Fitzwilliam Earl of Tirconnel and Mrs. Mary Fitzwilliam, By John Wilson. Staffordshire, England, 1663-1667. A property survey of lands inherited from relatives of William Brereton. Special Collections Call Number: MS P449

Separated Materials

The collection of printed books donated with this manuscript has been cataloged separately. The printed books in the Eliot S. Berkley Collection can be found in the University of Kansas Libraries' online catalog by searching for the phrase “Eliot S. Berkley.”


  • Thrush, Andrew and John P. Ferris, eds., The House of Commons, 1604-1629, 6 vols. (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press for the History of Parliament Trust, 2010). Shelved at Watson Library: JN673 .H683 2010
  • Johnson, Robert C. et al., eds., Proceedings in Parliament, 1628, 6 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977-1983). Shelved at Watson Library: J301 .K16
  • Mckenna, Joseph, ed., A Journal of the English Civil War: The Letter Book of Sir William Brereton, Spring 1646. (Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland & Company, 2012). Shelved at Watson Library: DA 419 .B74 A4 2012
  • Morrill, John, “Brereton, Sir William, first baronet (1604-1661)”, accessed May 8, 2015, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004),
  • Journal of the House of Commons, vol. 1. (1547-1629), accessed May 8, 2015,
  • "The History of Parliament: British Political, Local, and Social History," History of Parliament Trust, accessed December 2, 2015,

Note on Names and Office Holders

Occasionally individuals found in the manuscript volume are mentioned by title of office only. Specific individuals include

Archbishop of Canterbury (1611-1633)
Abbot, George (1562-1633)
Archbishop of York (1632-1640)
Neile, Richard (1562-1640)
Bishop of Oxford (1618-1628)
Howson, John (1556/7-1632)
King of England, 1600-1649
Charles I
Lord Keeper (1625-1640)
Coventry, Sir Thomas (1578-1640)
Lord Mayor of London (1628)
Deane, Sir Richard (d. July 1635)
Mayor of Plymouth, Devon (1627)
Colmer (or Coleman), Abraham
Sheriff of York (1627)
Tompson, Henry
Vicar of Witney, Oxfordshire
Burgess, Richard


Other notable names included in the volume:

  1. Ashley, Francis, Sir, 1569-1635
  2. Coke, Edward, Sir, 1552-1634
  3. Cooke, John, 1587?-1626
  4. Creshald, Richard
  5. Digges, Dudley, Sir, 1583-1639
  6. Edmondes, Thomas, Sir, 1563?-1639
  7. Eliot, John, Sir, 1592-1632
  8. Finch of Fordwich, John Finch, Baron, 1584-1660
  9. Glanville, John, Sir, 1586-1661
  10. Goodwin, Robert, approximately 1601-approximately 1681
  11. Suffolk, Theophilus Howard, Earl of, 1584-1640
  12. Le Brun, Avery
  13. Littleton, Edward Littleton, Lord, 1589-1645
  14. Marten, Henry, Sir, 1562-1641
  15. Mason, Robert, 1571-1635
  16. Noy, William, 1577-1634
  17. Phelips, Robert, 1586?-1638
  18. Warwick, Robert Rich, Earl of, 1587-1658
  19. Warwick, Robert Rich, Earl of, 1587-1658
  20. Selden, John, 1584-1654
  21. Seymour, Francis, Baron Seymour of Trowbridge, 1590?-1664
  22. Buckingham, George Villiers, Duke of, 1592-1628
  23. Stafford, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of, 1593-1641



Guide to the Eliot S. Berkley Collection
Speeches in Parliament, 1627-1628 [new style 1628-1629], created for Sir William Brereton (1604-1661)
Finding aid prepared by ksc. Finding aid encoded by mwh.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Speeches in Parliament manuscript, MS C311, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States