Barbara Golde and the Duchess of Suffolk: the Sermons of Hugh Latimer (1549)




The Folger Library copy of the sermons of Hugh Latimer printed in 1549 (STC 15270.5; bound with 15274) bears traces of women’s book patronage and ownership: Katherine Willoughby Brandon, the Duchess (dowager) of Suffolk (1519-80) sponsored the book which was printed with her coat of arms on the verso of the title page; and an unknown woman, Barbara Golde, inscribed her name on the title page.

In 1549 the reformist preacher Hugh Latimer delivered seven high-profile sermons in front of King Edward VI and the court at the large outdoor pulpit at Westminster Palace (see Wabuda). Latimer ruffled feathers by lambasting some of his auditors for their moral failings, but he praised both the Duchess of Suffolk and Queen Katherine Parr as exemplary reformed Christians.

The sermons were printed with a dedication in which Thomas Some boldly aligned the duchess with the Old Testament prophetess, Huldah (3v). Suffolk’s coat of arms are found in at least 10 religious volumes printed between 1548 and 1549, and Nicholas Lesse praised her as one “at whose handes . . . the common people hath received already many comfortable & spiritual consolations, instructions, and teachings” (A5v-A6r).

The Folger library copy provides evidence of several readers who presumably received such “consolations, instructions, and teachings” from this Latimer-Suffolk collaborative volume. The volume was signed by Barbara Golde who placed her name in a prominent spot on the title page. Sadly there are no other records of Golde’s book ownership in the ESTC. The volume is also signed by R. Brown and R. Barker. There are a few marginal markings but it is impossible to determine who made them. Manuscript and printed waste (from 1548) were used as guards when the book was bound.


Hugh Latimer, The First Sermon of Master Hugh Latimer. John Day, 1549. STC 15270.5.

Nicholas Lesse, trans. A Very Fruitful and Godly Exposition upon the Fifteenth Psalm. John Day, 1548. STC 10429.

“Latimer, Hugh (c. 1485–1555).” by Susan Wabuda. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  September 23, 2004. Oxford University Press, Date of access 5 May. 2019.

Book Source: Folger Library, STC 15270.5; bound with 15274. Photos by Micheline White with permission from the Folger Library.