Warburton's cook



  • The servant of the English antiquarian and book collector JohnWarburton (1682 - 1759), who was responsible for the destructionof some 60 unique manuscripts of Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, collectedby her master. Betsy Baker by name, she was clearly unaware or unheedfulof the value of the manuscripts assembled by Warburton, the Heraldof Somerset:
    After I had been many years collecting these MSS playes,through my own carelessness and the ignorance of my servant in whosehands I had lodged them, they was unluckely burnd or put under pyebottoms...
    Of the total collection only three plays and a fragment ofa fourth were saved from an ignominious fate at Betsy's hands andJohn Warburton has gone down in history as "the pie-eating herald".Although many of the lost manuscripts were probably of little interest,it has been conjectured that they may have included works by ThomasDekker, John Ford, Philip Massinger, Cyril Tourneur, and William Shakespeare.