A royal demand from the first king Charles

I'm as guilty as anyone of thinking that "postage" = stamps. 

That's our obsession. 

But postal history is much older than the 1840 printing of that first Penny Black. 

And with this document you witness the British postal service moving from infancy to childhood.

It is becoming truly national. And is vital enough to justify considerable costs, trouble, and stern royal orders. 

This important piece of history is a document from Charles I's court that's coming up to 400 years old. 

It's the sort of piece you would expect to find in a museum or major archive. 

It is featured in the official catalogue of government documents of the period. 

What a thing to hold in your hand. 

Or hang on your wall. 

Anyone with a deep interest in British postal history needs to own this document. 

No alt text provided for this image

The 1633 warrant regarding the postmaster of St AlbansIf you're squinting at the picture above, you're not alone. 

That's Secretary Hand, the handwriting style that was most often used in the 17th century. 

Try zooming in to the first sentence. When you see what it says in plain text it becomes easier to make sense of those sweeps and curls:

"To all to whom these presents shall come Charles Lord Stanhope Baron of Harrington master controller general of all his majesty's posts sendeth greeting."

Lord Stanhope has a task for the responsible and moneyed citizens - or subjects - of St Albans. 

He goes on to order them to help one John Wells set up a postal service. 

"...bring in some 10 or 12 able and sufficient horses, mares, geldings or nags or such other number more or less as a service shall import with furniture convenient to be delivered unto the said John Wells...".

You can find this warrant, issued on May 7, listed in the  "State Papers Domestic" for May 1633. 

It's a piece with a claim to national importance. Plenty of historians would love to get their hands on this.

No alt text provided for this image

Charles Stanhope, 2nd Baron Stanhope

Before mass literacy, social media and more, most people made their way through life without making much of an impact on the written historical record. 

Documents like this are for important people. 

Like Charles Stanhope, 2nd Baron Stanhope. 

He was just the 5th man to run the royal mail, holding the post of Master of the King's Post from 1607 to 1635.

Following him was a line of Postmaster Generals that ran until 1968 when John Stonehouse MP (look him up!) became the first minister of posts and telecommunications. 

Stanhope inherited the job from his father, John. 

No alt text provided for this image

Can you make out Lord Stanhope's name across the 1st and 2nd lines of the warrant? 

This is an exciting period for postal historians. 

The 1st Governor of the King's Posts, Brian Tuke, created a tiny service focused almost entirely on Henry the 8th's court and its occasional military forays to France. 

Just over a century later, the postal service is becoming a national concern. The good people of St Albans are needed to support it.

The machineries of a centralised state are growing and spreading. 

International services are being set up to support what would become the British Empire. 

At the outbreak of the Civil War, just 9 years after this document was written, both sides set up their own postal services. 

Soon, spies and letter intercepts were part of the game of war. 

Though Stanhope had no part in it - he fled the country when war broke out. 

When this document was sent from the court to the country town, the seeds of that conflict were being sown. Just click here now to own this Royal warrant

Historical documents are notoriously hard to value. 

I think this is wonderful value. 

Its provenance is rock solid. 

And backed by my personal lifetime guarantee of authenticity. 

Which supplements the 28-day no-quibble returns policy. 

This is unique. The first person to contact me will have it. 

It would surely be the crowing glory of any stamp or postal collection.

It takes it it to another dimension in significance. 

Interested in the Civil War or Stuart England? 

Then you simply must have this. 

Pick up your phone now and dial +44 (0)1534 639 998, click through to order on the site, reply to this mail or write to info@justcollecting.com.

Until next time,

Paul Fraser, Chairman, Just Collecting

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock