6.2.12

Oldest Love Letter in English






In 1477 Margery Brews wrote a letter to her love begging him not to give her up - despite the fact that her parents would not increase her dowry. 

Here's the story as reported by BBC: 


John Paston III tried until he was 33 to find the "right" wife: she had to be of a good family, reasonably good-looking, and above all, rich.
However, in later letters to his elder brother his standards have dropped - he would settle for "some old thrifty draff wife" (ale wife) if she had enough money.
But this all changed when he met 17-year-old Margery, daughter of Sir Thomas Brews. Although from a good county family, she was not an heiress and her father had other daughters, so her dowry would be small.
However, despite John's emotions being engaged, the Paston family demanded a higher dowry - a dispute which appeared to have reached stalemate until the couple's mothers intervened and the marriage went ahead some time in 1477.


I think it is wonderful to hear such a declaration of love and just as wonderful to hear a woman's voice in history. It is not very often you see documents written by women. 


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