Chronicle of Queen Jane
“The Harleian MS. 194 is a pocket diary, extending from July 1553 to October 1554. It is written,
or rather scribbled, in so bad a hand that even (John) Stowe, who printed some passages from it,
has mistaken several words. In the Harleian Catalogue it is stated that ‘This book formerly
belonged to Mr. John Stowe, who took from thence many passages which may be found in his Annals,
at the reign of Queen Mary, and more yet remain by him untouched.’” John Gough Nichols, 1850
John Stowe (1525 - 1605) was a historian and antiquarian who published ‘The annales of England:
faithfully collected out of the most autenticall authors, records, and other monuments
of antiquitie, from the first inhabitation untill this present yeere 1592. London: by
Ralfe Newbery, 1592’.
In them he included excerpts from THE CHRONICLE OF QUEEN JANE AND OF TWO YEARS OF
QUEEN MARY AND ESPECIALLY OF THE REBELLION OF SIR THOMAS WYAT WRITTEN BY A RESIDENT OF THE TOWER OF LONDON.
As a member of the Guild of Merchant Taylors, Stowe presented to “the House” his
“Annals,” “as a small monument given in token of his thankfulness.” Thus, “at this Court
(5th July 1592), John Stowe p’sented to this Howse a Booke called the Annalles which is a
breife Chronicle of Actes and things sett downe and collected by him the said John Stowe,
the which he praieth maie be accepted as a small monument given to this Corporac(i)on by him,
in token of his thankfulness to this Companie.”
John Stowe was not a working tailor when he retired but received a pension under the deeds
of Robert Dowe’s Charity which describes him as “whoe yet notwithstanding in his begynnyng
was of the handycraft, and now for many yeres hath spent great labor and study in wryting of
Chronicles and other memorable matters for the good of all posterity.” The pension of £5-2s.
per annum was paid from 1602 until his death on the 5th April 1605 - extracts from: Memorials of the
Guild of Merchant Taylors - Of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London -
Memorial XXXIV edited by C.M.Clode published 1875.
John Gough Nichols (1806-1873) was an English printer and a distinguished antiquary, who edited The Gentleman’s Magazine
from 1851 to 1856, and the Herald and Genealogist from 1863 to 1874, and was one of the founders of the Camden Society.
The original diary, ref. Harleian MS. 194 seems to have disappeared. (June 2021)