1633 letter in the South Barracks, Knole House (National Trust).
His real name is Jim Parker, but you can call him Jimdiana Jones.
Parker, an archaeology volunteer with the National Trust in England, recently discovered two letters written on rag paper, high quality parchment, in the attics of the historic Knole house in Kent, England. Formerly a medieval archbishop’s palace, the buildings of Knole House were renovated in the 17th century and now offer a fascinating glimpse into the past.
The letters, together with a third party found by a contractor in a ceiling void are almost 400 years old.
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The discoveries were to be seen on the website of the National Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
One of the letters, written in 1633, was an appeal on the domestic items are sent from London to Copt Hall in Essex. The writer, Robert Draper, is believed to be a good servant.
Mr. Bilby, I pray p[ro]vide for delivery tomorrow in ye Cart some Greenfish, The Lights of my Wife Cranfeild[es] Cham[ber] 2 dozen Pewter spoon[es]: a greate fireshovell for ye nursery; and thou, o[t]her which were sent to be exchanged for a number of a better way, a new frying pan together with a note of ye prices of such Commoditie as ye rest.
Your loving friend,
Many large items, including strains of bedding and furniture, were moved from Copt Hall to Knole 300 years ago, when the daughter of the Coptic Hall owner is married to the owner of Knole.
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“I was very excited to see that some of the pieces of paper hidden under the rush mats,” says Parker. “The first piece was folded and very dusty. We realized that it was a letter, and there was written that looked like a seventeenth-century hand. I was given the nickname ‘Jimdiana Jones’ after that!”
After the crumpled letters were photographed in their original state, they were cleaned with fine brushes, rubber powders, and archival document cleaners, then placed in a wet room to enjoy the paper fibers. When they were smooth in a paper press.
“The biggest challenge was the meaning of the letters,” said Jan Cutajar, the objects conservator. “I was aware the work had to be of the highest quality. When you think that you are reading someone’s handwriting of 400 years ago, sends chills down your back.”
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All three letters on the display at Knole to the visitor center.