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The Source of Our Sorrows

Description of film

The clip opens with Jane Daniell writing a letter to King James I, Elizabeth I's successor, asking him to help her husband and her family. She then goes on to explain how life looked good four years ago but now things are very bad. She explains how she was a loyal servant to the countess of Essex, wife of the Earl of Essex. When Essex fell from favour she continued to support the countess. The Countess asked Jane to keep a casket safe for her. This turned out to be the source of their problems.


This is one of six clips that make up a play based on the story of the Daniell family in Tudor times. John Daniell was an ambitious gentleman from Cheshire. He had been a supporter of the powerful Earl of Essex, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. John hoped to gain power and wealth by serving a powerful patron like Essex. He moved to Hackney with his wife and children in 1600. However Essex fell from favour with Elizabeth in 1602. The Daniells suffered as a result. They had been asked to keep some letters for the Earl of Essex's wife and when Essex fell this put them in a difficult position. This play tells their story.

Interesting or important points about the film

This clip gives us an insight into how Tudor society worked. Families from the gentry often tried to ally themselves to more powerful families in the hope of getting important jobs or other rewards. The clip shows how the plan backfired for one family. The letter written by Jane is based on genuine documents in the Hackney Archives collection.

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Further information
CategoryPre 20th Century
Sub categoryTudors
FilmThe Source of Our Sorrows
ProducerThe National Archives and Hackney Archives
DateNot known