Kathy Lynn Emerson
to update and correct
her very out-of-date
Wives and Daughters: The Women of Sixteenth-Century England (1984)
NOTE: this document exists only in electronic format
and is ©2008-14 Kathy Lynn Emerson (all rights reserved)
see ELIZABETH PAULET
see ANNE SEYMOUR
see CECILY BULSTRODE
CECILY UNTON (1564-June 16, 1618)
Cecily Unton was the daughter of Sir Edward Unton of Wadley, Berkshire (d. September 16, 1582) and Anne Seymour (1538-February 1587/8). From 1566, her mother, who was countess of Warwick by her first marriage, was "a lunatic enjoying lucid intervals." Upon the death of Cecily's father, her brother Edward took custody of their mother. On March 9, 1581 at St. Dunstan, Stepney, Middlesex, Cecily married Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield Hall, Essex (1564-February 10, 1614). Their children were Sir John (1583-October 3, 1631), Mary (b.1585), William (1588-1604), Anne (1590-July 6, 1633), Diana (b.1591), Cecily (1593-November 1642), Elizabeth (d.yng), and Catherine (b.1601). After the death of Cecily's brother Henry in 1596 without a will, her husband attempted to claim two Unton properties, Wadley and Faringdon, as did Cecily's brother-in-law, Valentine Knightley, on behalf of his three daughters. Faringdon went to Henry's widow (see DOROTHY WROUGHTON) for her life, with the reversion to Cecily and John. According to the History of Parliament entry for Wentworth, the dispute was over lands left to Cecily by her father, who had died with £23,000 in debt. Cecily remarried in 1614, taking as her second husband Sir Edward Hoby of Bisham, Berkshire (1560-March 1, 1617). Portrait: tomb at Aston Rowan, Oxfordshire.
see DOROTHY WROUGHTON
see ELIZABETH HYDE
Jane Upton was the daughter and coheir of Thomas Upton of Trelaske (Treslake/Treslaske), Cornwall (d.1542+) and Joan Palmer. In about 1525, she married Nicholas Lower (1499-1545). Her elder sister Margaret (or Margery) was married to his older brother, John Lower. With Nicholas, Jane had a son, Thomas (c.1529-September 2, 1603) and three daughters, Grace, Katherine, and Jane. The Upton inheritance was split between Margery and Jane, with John and Margery Lower getting Treslaske and Polscoe in St. Winnow going to Jane and Nicholas Lower. When John Lower died, Nicholas obtained the wardship of his nephew, John's son William, but the two did not get along. In 1540, Nicholas sold the wardship to Thomas Treffry of Fowey and St. Kew. The major disagreement between uncle and nephew was over the Upton inheritance. In September 1545, they quarreled openly in Lewannick Church. On September 30, 1545, William waylaid his uncle at Northill and they fought. Nicholas was wounded and subsequently died of his wounds. When the inquest ruled William had acted in self defense, Jane accused the coroner of bringing undue influence to bear on jurors, but the verdict was upheld.
see DOROTHY HOWARD
see MARY NORTON
ANNE VACHELL (1542-1612+)
Anne Vachell was one of the four sons and five daughters of Thomas Vachell of Coley, Berkshire (c.1480-December 9, 1553) and Agnes Justice (c.1500-1544). Only one of the siblings, Thomas, is mentioned in their father's will. This second Thomas Vachell was a recusant and much of his property was seized by the Crown. By 1609, he "had long been living at Ipsden (Oxfordshire) in the care of his sister Anne, widow of Edmund Montague" and he died there on May 3, 1610. His heir was a nephew, Sir Thomas Vachell. In 1612, this third Thomas Vachell charged Anne with exercising undue influence over her brother and with "retaining" his will. As is so often the case, no further details appear to have survived.
ELIZABETH VANBUREN (c.1533-1607)
Elizabeth VanBuren was an Antwerp gentlewoman with aristocratic connections. In about 1566, she married Jacob Verzelini of Venice (c.1522-1606), an expert in glass making. By 1571, the family was living in London and Verzelini took over operation of the glassworks in Crutched Friars on the death of Jean Carré. On December 15, 1574, he was granted a twenty-one year monopoly on making Venetian-style (cristallo) glass. The factory burned down in 1575, but he rebuilt. In 1576 he became an English citizen and acquired property in Westerham and Downe, Kent, but he spent most of his time in London supervising his glass works. It was moved to Winchester House, Broad Street. The family home was in Hart Street. Their children were Francis, Jacob, Mary, Elizabeth (c.1555-February 1634) , and Katherine. Portrait: memorial brass, St. Mary the Virgin, Downe, Kent.
DINGHEN VAN DEN PLASSE (d.1565+) (maiden name
Dinghen, Dingen, or Dingham Van Den Plasse, Van Den Passe, or Vanderplasse was born in Taenen in Flanders (some sources say Brabant), where her father was a knight, but his name has not been preserved. In 1564 or 1565, Dinghen and her husband, William Van Den Plasse, fled to England to escape religious persecution. To support her family, Dinghen set up as a starcher and soon set a new court fashion for starched ruffs. Her handiwork was first seen at the wedding of Ann Russell to Ambrose Dudley in November 1565. Starch soon replaced wire supports and was so popular that Dinghen could charge £5 to teach others the art of starching. For 20s more she would show them how to manufacture the starch.
JANE van KETHULLE (d.1610+)
Jane van Kethulle was the daughter of a Flemish count, François van Kethulle, Lord Rihoven, a former governor of Ghent. This entry was previously included in the Who’s Who under the name "Jane Rehora" and has now been updated based on information found online in "Disasters and Misfortunes: The Story of John and Jane Daniell" by Martin Taylor. Jane came to England as a Protestant exile and in around 1587 entered the service of Frances Walsingham, Lady Sidney. At that time, Lady Sidney was a widow but in1590 she married Robert Devereux, earl of Essex. On December 1, 1595, the bishop of London issued a general license for the marriage of "Jane Rehova, spinster, a foreigner and domestic servant of the countess of Essex, resident in the parish of St. Olave's, Hart Street" to marry John Daniell of Daresbury, near Runcorn, Cheshire (c.1545-1610), one of the earl's servants. The earl and countess had promised Jane a dowry, but it was never paid. Jane bore John at least four children, sons John, Devereux, and William and a daughter, Mary. On October 1, 1599, the earl of Essex was put under house arrest. On October 10, the countess gave Jane, who was already entrusted with the care of her jewelry, a casket of letters and asked her to hide it for her. Daniell found the casket under his bed and took some of the letters to have copies made. In January 1600, when the countess reclaimed the casket, she realized that there were letters missing. At first Daniell denied all knowledge of the letters, and chastised the countess for putting his wife in danger for hiding them. Lady Essex claimed the letters were only affectionate messages from her husband and that her only concern was that Essex might be angry with her for letting their contents be divulged, but it has always been supposed that they contained hints of something more dangerous, given that she was so desperate to get them back. Daniell next suggested that Jane's maid, who had recently been dismissed, must have stolen the missing letters. He offered to get them back for the countess and in March informed her that she would have to pay him £3000 for them. He later justified this on the grounds that Lady Essex had never paid the dowry she promised Jane. Lady Essex sold her jewels to raise part of the money and gave £1720 to Daniell, but he did not return her original letters, only the copies he had made. When Jane tried to persuade her husband to relinquish the originals, Daniell informed her that it was only his love for her that kept him from turning them over to the authorities. The letters from Essex do not appear to have survived, but court records and letters between Jane Daniell and her husband are quoted by Violet Wilson in Society Women of Shakespeare's Time. She gives The Egerton Papers and State Trials (edited by Jardine) as her sources. Wilson quotes one letter from Daniels, written from Richmond in reply to a letter from his wife: Jane, I am glad that the Countess of Essex made you acquainted where her letters are, which I was loath to have done. But now I think good to let you know that my decayed estate is more than I was willing you should be a partaker of; and although I meant to have delivered the Countess' letters to her Majesty, yet if I can recover myself by them that have wrought my decay, I will for your sake, forbear my purpose; hoping the Countess will deal well with me, and recompense all my losses sustained by her and her Lord, then I will willingly satisfy her request in that behalf; otherwise I will deliver her letters to the Queen, as I was before determined, and so do bid you heartily farewell. By February 11, 1601, when the earl of Essex was tried for treason, he had already informed the authorities of the theft of the letters. On June 17, 1601, John Daniell was tried before the Court of the Star Chamber and found guilty. He was to be fined, imprisoned, and pilloried— sentenced "to be set upon the pillory, with his ears thereunto nayled, with a paper on his head inscribed: For Forgery, Corrupte Cosenage, and other leude practises." He was fined £3000, £2000 of which was to go to Lady Essex. At this time, Jane and John and their children were living in Parsonage House in Hackney. Once John was imprisoned, Jane and her children and servants were moved to the gatehouse. On October 5, 1601, they were removed from there as well. They were not allowed to take their belongings with them. To support herself and her children, Jane once again entered service, although the name of the noblewoman or gentlewoman she served is not known. She was at court, where she had to endure taunts that she and her husband had caused Essex's downfall by giving the letters to his rivals. John was released from the Fleet in 1604. In 1606, the family was living in Great Sanctuary, Westminster, where one of their neighbors, Thomas Chamberlayne, broke into their house and threatened them. More than once, the family was turned out of a house they had rented. During this period, both Jane and John wrote their own accounts of the events of 1599-1601. The Misfortunes of Jane Danyell exists only in manuscript form. On April 30, 1610, John died in their lodgings in Tothill Street, Westminster. By then, Daresbury had been returned to him. Administration of his estate was granted first to his brother Geoffrey and then to Jane.
or ELIZABETH VARGAS
Isabel (later Elizabeth) Vargas or Vergas was one of Catherine of Aragon's Spanish ladies. So was Blanche Vargas, probably her sister. On October 18, 1511, she was listed as a chamberer to the queen, a position she still held on November 18, 1514. On January 3, 1517, she obtained letters of denizenation. At that time she was listed as one of the queen's gentlewomen. Isabel received several gifts from the royal wardrobe. On October 18, 1511 it was a gown of damask furred with "miniver pure" and edged with lettice. On November 18, 1514 she received russet damask with edge, cuffs, and collar furred with mink and lined with calabre. Also in 1514, "Mistress Vergas" bought clothing and/or cloth from the yeoman of robes. In January 1517 she was given a gown of tawny satin furred in the "vents, purfil and cuffs" with lettice and lined with "miniver gross," as well as a kirtle of green satin. Isabel and Blanche were both still with Catherine of Aragon when she died in 1536, along with Elizabeth Darrell. In her will, Catherine left Isabel £20, but it is doubtful she ever received this legacy. An aside here: Testamenta Vestusta (vol. 1, p. 37) transcribes this bequest as going to "the Sabell of Vergas."
ANNE VAUGHAN (c.1535-c.1595)
Anne Vaughan was the daughter of Stephen Vaughan (d. December 25,1549) and his first wife, Margery Gwynneth or Guinet (d.October 1544). Vaughan’s second wife (d.1557) was also named Margery. She was the widow of Henry Brinklow (d. c. January 20,1545/6), a London mercer who was also famous as an evangelist and as a pamphleteer. Both Margery Vaughans were royal silkwomen. Anne stepmother is generally credited with providing Anne’s education and influencing her religious beliefs. Anne married Henry Locke (Lock; Lok) (d.1571), another London mercer. They had three sons and a daughter, including Henry (1553-1608), Michael, and Anne. By 1552, both were followers of John Knox. When Mary Tudor became queen, Knox was concerned about their safety and urged them to leave England. Locke remained in England but sent his wife and two youngest children to Geneva. They arrived there in May 1557 and remained there until after Mary Tudor’s death. Some accounts say that her daughter died during their exile. Others indicate Anne Locke grew up and married, so perhaps it was the unnamed son who died. Thirteen letters from Knox to Anne Locke, written between 1556 and 1562 are extant. Later, when she provided printer John Field with Knoxiana, rumormongers claimed that Knox had lured her away from her husband. In 1560, Anne Locke translated John Calvin’s Sermons upon the Song that Ezechias made after he had been sick and afflicted by the Hand of God. After she was widowed, Anne Locke married a second time in 1572, taking as her husband Edward Dering (1540-June 26,1576), a preacher with Puritan leanings. In late 1573, Dering described his wife as “rich in grace and knowledge.” Dering died of tuberculosis at Thoby in Essex at the height of his fame. His widow had married a third time by 1583, this time to an Exeter merchant named Richard Prouze or Prowse (d.1607), by whom she had at least two sons. In 1590, Anne Prouze’s translation of John Taffin’s Of the Marks of the Children of God was published. Biography: There is more information on the Locke family in Mary Prior, ed., Women in English Society 1500-1800; Oxford DNB entry under "Locke [née Vaughan; other married names Dering, Prowse], Anne."
see ANNE PERCY; ANNE PICKERING
see ELEANOR SOMERSET
see ELIZABETH ROYDON
Frances Vaughan was the daughter of John Vaughan of Sutton-on-Derwent (d.1566+) and Anne Pickering (1514-1582) and a cousin of Blanche Parry. She was at court in 1578 as a maid of honor. In c.1582, she married Thomas, 5th baron Borough or Burgh of Gainsborough (1558-October 14, 1597). Their children were Anne (c.1583-before 1608), Frances (c.1586-before November 24, 1619), Robert (d. February 26, 1602/3), Elizabeth (d.1603+), and Catherine (d. May 1, 1646). Lord Borough was a soldier and served as Governor of Brill during the war in Flanders. When he fell ill, Frances petitioned Queen Elizabeth to allow him to return to England. A number of her letters to various correspondents are still extant, giving a clear picture of her "distressed condition." By the time Borough died, while serving as Lord Deputy of Ireland, he was deeply in debt. His family, Frances and their five young children at Starborough Castle, was left nearly penniless. Queen Elizabeth eventually granted the widow a pension of £400 a year. According to the unpublished PhD dissertation All the Queen's Women: The Changing Place and Perception of Aristocratic Women in Elizabethan England 1558-1620 (1987) by Joan Barbara Greenbaum Goldsmith, "Lady Burrow" was often at court during the last decade of Elizabeth's reign. She continued to petition for assistance. Letters she wrote to Sir Robert Cecil in 1599 and 1600 were preserved in the Cecil correspondence. In April 1608, she petitioned King James to recover £2000 to £3000 out of recusant lands. It was not the first time she had made such a petition and this one apparently fared no better than her earlier efforts. In 1625/6, she had to petition King Charles for redress when the pension Queen Elizabeth had granted her had not been paid for a year. Although Frances had a life interest in Starborough Castle, requiring the sale of ¼ of it and of several nearby manors in 1626 to revert to the buyer only after her death, she was unable to afford to live there. At some point in her widowhood, she moved to Westminster. She was buried in St. Margaret's, Westminster on July 19, 1647.
JANE VAUGHAN (d.1610)
Jane Vaughan was probably the daughter of Cuthbert Vaughan (c.1519-July 23,1563) and Elizabeth Roydon (1523-August 19, 1595), even though they were noted puritans and she was a recusant. Jane married Thomas Wiseman of Braddocks, Essex (1528-December 7,1585), by whom she had eight children: William, Jane (c.1570-July 8,1633), John (1571-1592), Thomas (1572-1596), Robert, Anne (d.1650), Barbara (d.1649), and Bridget (1582-1627). In January 1593, she was indicted for hearing mass at Braddocks in September 1592. She had had lived there with her son William (sometimes called Walter) and his wife for a time after her husband’s death. In December 1593, her own house at Bullocks was searched for evidence that she’d been harboring priests, and although none were found, it is likely that it is at this point that she was imprisoned. By July 1594, the authorities had learned that all four of her daughters had been sent to the Continent to become nuns. Anne and Barbara joined the Bridgettines and both became abbesses. Jane and Bridget entered St. Ursula’s in Louvain and Jane later became the first prioress of that convent’s English offshoot, St. Monica’s. Since the Jesuit John Gerard was the Wiseman family chaplain in 1591, there was no question of Mrs. Wiseman’s guilt. While in prison, she associated with the priests also being held there and in December 1595 gave first aid to one of them. Charged with “helping and maintaining” priests, she was sentenced to death on July 3, 1598. Reportedly, she was eager to become a martyr, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison and when James I took the throne she was pardoned. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Wiseman [née Vaughan], Jane.”
see JANE VERDON
MARGARET VAUGHAN (c.1540-1619)
Margaret Vaughan was the daughter of Charles Vaughan of Hergist, Kington, Hertfordshire and Elizabeth Baskerville of Eardisley. She was said to have been one of the women of Queen Elizabeth’s bedchamber but what position she held is not clear. Sometime after his first wife’s death in 1591, she married Sir John Hawkins (1532-November 12,1595). In March 1595, she sent for Simon Forman the astrologer. This was just before the voyage on which her husband perished. One wonders what the horoscope he drew up for her might have said. At the time Sir John died, his son, Richard Hawkins, had been a prisoner in Spain for some two years. His ransom had been set at £12,000 and Sir John left £3000 in his will to contribute toward that amount. Richard, still a prisoner in June 1602, accused his stepmother of interfering with the payment of this money. He returned to England in January of 1603. Lady Hawkins seems to have maintained her contacts with the court. In 1601, when Mary Fitton was about to give birth to an illegitimate child, she was sent to Lady Hawkins for keeping. The child’s father was sent to the Fleet. Lady Hawkins lived primarily in London, in Mincing Lane, although she had properties elsewhere. She made a detailed will on April 23,1619. It was proved on January 4,1620, indicating that she died between those two dates. She endowed a school, left money and jewelry to a considerable number of relatives and friends, including the countess of Leicester and Lady Mary Wroth, and asked to be buried in St. Dunstans in the East in London “near the monument there erected for my late beloved husband.”
see MARGARET MEYRICK
see MARGERY BRINKLOW; MARGERY GWYNNETH
see SUSAN CHAPLYN
Sybil Vaughan was the daughter of Watkin Vaughan of Hergest, Herefordshire and Elizabeth Baskerville. In 1511, she married John Scudamore of Holme Lacy, Herefordshire (d. September 25, 1571). They were the parents of William (1514-1560), Katherine, Joan, Sybil, Richard (d.1586), Elizabeth, Philip (d.1602), Jane, and John (d. January 29, 1599/1600). Portrait: tomb effigy in St. Cuthbert's Church, Holme Lacy.
see JACQUINETTA DUTWITE
Alice Vaux was the daughter of Nicholas Vaux (later baron Vaux) of Harrowden, Northamptonshire (c.1460-May 14, 1523) and Elizabeth FitzHugh. In 1501, she married Richard Sapcote or Sapcott of Elton, Huntingdonshire (1483-July 9, 1542), as his third wife. She was probably the mother of his younger of two sons, William, although some genealogies give her no issue. Alice is also sometimes called Anne, but Anne Vaux was her sister, who married Sir Thomas Le Strange. Alice Vaux may have been the Mrs. Sapcote in the household of Princess Mary Tudor in 1509.
Anne Vaux was the daughter of Nicholas Vaux (later baron Vaux) of Harrowden, Northamptonshire (c.1460-May 14, 1523) and Elizabeth FitzHugh. She married Sir Thomas Le Strange of Hunstanton Hall (1494-January 16, 1545) in 1501, when she was seven and he was ten. Her first son, Nicholas (d.1580), was born between 1511 and 1513. She had at least twelve more children: Richard, William, Roger, Henry, Thomas, William, Edmund, Elizabeth, Alice, Anne, Katherine, and Mary. In 1515, Thomas inherited Hunstanton Hall in Norfolk from a cousin. In 1519, when Anne gave birth to her third or fourth child at Hunstanton, her own mother was dead and her mother-in-law had remarried and moved away, leaving it to two of her husband's aunts, Lady Woodhouse (née Elizabeth Radcliffe, daughter of Sir Thomas's grandmother by her second husband) and Anne Banyard, to attend her for the three weeks leading up to the birth. After her eldest son's marriage to Ellen Fitzwilliam in 1528, Anne's daughter-in-law gave birth to all of her children at Hunstanton with Anne in attendance. When Sir Thomas was at court, where he was a supporter of the divorce of Catherine of Aragon, Anne remained in Norfolk to manage the estate. She did not travel far from home but she frequently entertained. Guests included a wide assortment of relatives and friends. Among her visitors in 1526 was Elizabeth Howard, Lady Boleyn, mother of the future queen, who accompanied her kinswoman, Anne Shelton Knyvett. Records of expenses at Hunstanton survive and can be found in Daniel Guerney's “Extracts from the Household and Privy Purse Accounts of the LeStranges of Hunstanton,” Archaeologia 24 (1834), 411-569. Details given here come from Barbara J. Harris's summary of this material in English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550.
Anne Vaux was the daughter of William Vaux, 3rd baron Vaux of Harrowden (August 14, 1542-August 20, 1595) and Elizabeth Beaumont (d. August 1562). From 1571, she and her siblings lived at Grace Dieu, Leicestershire with their maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Beaumont (née Hastings; d. 1588). By a deed dated in February of that year, their father agreed to pay £10 a year for the upkeep of each of his daughters for a period of ten years. A dedicated recusant, Anne used the alias “Mrs. Perkins” to hire houses for use as meeting places for missionary priests. She also occasionally impersonated her sister Eleanor Brooksby, to confront the authorities, as Eleanor was exceedingly timid. Anne was arrested when the Gunpowder Plot was uncovered but released soon after. At one point it was thought that she was the one who sent a letter to Lord Monteagle, warning him of the plot, but this is unlikely. She was arrested again the following March and this time confined in the Tower of London. She was released in August 1606. She and her sister, Eleanor (see below) lived quietly at Shoby, Leicestershire for some years but were arrested for recusancy in 1625. After her sister’s death, Anne moved to Stanley Grange, Derbyshire, which became a center of Jesuit activities in England and the site of a school for the sons of the Catholic gentry. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Vaux, Anne.”
Eleanor Vaux was the daughter of William Vaux, 3rd baron Vaux of Harrowden (August 14, 1542-August 20, 1595) and Elizabeth Beaumont (d. August 1562). From 1571, she and her siblings lived at Grace Dieu, Leicestershire with their maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Beaumont (née Hastings; d. 1588). By a deed dated in February of that year, their father agreed to pay £10 a year for the upkeep of each of his daughters for a period of ten years. In about 1577, Eleanor married Edward Brooksby of Shoby, Leicestershire (d.1581). They had two children, William (d. June 1606) and Mary (c.1579-1628) and Eleanor adopted a motherless cousin, Frances Burroughs (1576-March 3, 1637) shortly after her husband’s death. At that point she was living in the manor house of Great Ashby, part of her jointure. Her sister, Anne, lived with her. The third sister, Elizabeth, was smuggled out of England in 1582 and became a Poor Clare at Rouen. From 1586, Jesuit Henry Garnet was a regular member of Eleanor’s household, which by that time was situated in Warwickshire. After his arrest, Eleanor was in hiding. In 1625, Eleanor was convicted of recusancy at Leicester and fined £240, but she never paid the fine. She died later that same year. Her adopted daughter, Frances Burroughs, became a nun. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Brooksby [née Vaux], Eleanor.”
see ELIZABETH CHENEY; ELIZABETH HOWARD; ELIZABETH ROPER; ELIZABETH SHIRLEY
Elizabeth Vaux was the daughter of Thomas Vaux of Catterlen, Cumbria, comptroller of the household to Henry VIII. She married Henry Bowyer of Cuckfield, Sussex (d. September 1588), gentleman and ironmaster, and was the mother of Thomas, Francis, Henry (d.1606), Anne, and Mary. Her husband built Cuckfield Park between 1574 and 1581 and eventually held almost 1,000 acres in the area, as well as other properties. The family had Puritan leanings. Chapter Three of David Cressy's Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England is devoted to a case in which Elizabeth and her husband played major roles. In 1577, they had a domestic servant named Mercy Gould. She had formerly been a servant to Edmund Curteys, vicar of Cuckfield, and his wife Joan. Mercy became pregnant and by the end of March 1578 her condition was obvious. She was dismissed from service and taken in by a neighbor, Goodwife Boniface, who had also formerly been in service to the Bowyers. Goody Boniface sent her boy to Mrs. Bowyer to ask for some dragon water to treat someone who had fallen sick in her house and was feared to have the plague. This remedy, while believed to be a precaution against plague, also had side effects that could have caused the early delivery and death of Mercy Gould’s child. She was very ill when she gave birth on April 18, 1578. The child was born dead and buried in the fields by John Boniface. Several local women, including Elizabeth Bowyer, swore to the fact that the death of the child had been natural and this "confession of Mercy Gould" was sent to London. At about the same time, the Bowyers were attempting to get rid of the vicar, probably over religious differences. By March 1579, Secretary of State Sir Francis Walsingham had decided that Curteys should be replaced, but that same spring, conflicting testimony was gathered and submitted to the authorities concerning Mercy Gould and her bastard child. In this version, Elizabeth Bowyer was accused of poisoning Mercy Gould by giving her a potion intended to cause an abortion. Joan Curteys and her supporters had questioned Mercy and got her to name the father of the child—John Orgle, a servant to Henry Bowyer—and to state that the drink Mrs. Bowyer had given her "was a cruel hot drink . . . which provoked me oftentimes to be delivered of my child." Mercy claimed that no one else in the house except another maid named Agnes had been given this preventive for the plague. "These words with others unmeet to be set down, the said Mercy Gould spake, as the said women have witnessed, and also will testify their oaths whensoever they shall be called thereunto." As David Cressy summarizes it, "The Curteys group intimated that Mrs. Bowyer was a liar, an abortionist, and keeper of a disorderly household, while the Bowyer faction charged Edmund Curteys with disabling deficiencies as a priest." The dispute continued until July 1581. Although the Privy Council was told that Mrs. Bowyer was anxious to present written testimony and be cleared, by that time Curteys had been discredited and replaced as vicar and the matter was not pursued further. Portrait: memorial brass in Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield.
(c.1463-September 4, 1538)
Joan Vaux, better known as "Mother Guildford," was the daughter of Sir William Vaux (d. May 4, 1471) and Katherine Penyson (1440-1509+). She was a protégée of Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond (Henry VII's mother) and in 1489 married Sir Richard Guildford (1455-September 6, 1506) as his second wife. Both the king and queen attended the wedding. She was in the household of Elizabeth of York and by 1499 had become "lady governess" to Margaret and Mary Tudor. She met the great scholar and philosopher Erasmus when he visited the royal children and apparently impressed him during the two conversations she had with him. In 1519, he referred to Joan in a letter to her son, Henry Guildford, as "the noble lady your Mother" and wished her happiness and prosperity. Joan was again in Elizabeth of York’s service when Catherine of Aragon married Prince Arthur in 1501. Many years later, when Henry VIII was attempting to divorce Catherine, Joan gave a deposition concerning whether or not Catherine's marriage to Arthur had been consummated. She reported that they had spent their wedding night together in the same bed, from her personal knowledge, and that she had heard from Queen Elizabeth herself that Arthur and Catherine "lay together in bed as man and wife all alone five or six nights after the said marriage." Joan's husband, in a move most unusual at that time, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When he died there, he was deeply in debt. The previous year he had lost his post as controller of the king's household due to poor management of money and had spent six months in the Fleet before being released by the king's order. He was pardoned just before he left England. As his widow, Joan was again one of Margaret Beaufort's ladies in 1509. By 1510 she had retired and was living on a small pension in a house in Blackfriars. That same year she inherited a second house, this one in Southwark, "with my lease, which I have of my Lord of Winchester," along with lands in Norfolk and Suffolk, from Sir Thomas Brandon. The latter were "for life, she to pay my nephew, William Sidney, twenty marks a year." She leased the Southwark house back to Brandon's principal heir, Charles Brandon. Lady Guildford was called out of retirement to travel to France with Mary Tudor in 1514. Her dismissal by King Louis, along with most of Mary's English attendants, on the day after the French wedding ceremony, caused a furor. In particular, Mary objected to sending her "Mother Guildford" away. On October 12, in a letter to Cardinal Wolsey, Mary wrote "I have not yet seen in France any lady or gentleman so necessary for me as she is." Upon Lady Guildford's return to England, she resumed her retirement. In 1515, she was granted two pensions by the king totaling £60 per annum. In 1519, she was granted for life an annual gift of a tun of duty-free Gascon wine. She also received several New Year's gifts from the king, including a garter with a gold buckle and pendant in 1531/2. She may have remained at court as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine. Before February 20, 1522, she remarried, taking as her second husband Anthony Poyntz (c.1480-December 1532). After her second husband's death, Joan spent some of her time at the house of the black friars called Gaunts in Bristol (some sources call this the Hospital of St. Mark). A proposed injunction forbidding women to come within the precincts led to a letter from Lady Guildford to Lord Cromwell, written from Hill on September 6, 1535. Gaunts, she wrote, was where she had "a lodging most meetest, as I have chosen, for a poor window to serve God now in my old days." She asked for an exception to be made to the new rules for herself and her women. The reply is missing, but in 1536 the Hospital of St. Mark was suppressed. Joan’s primary lodgings continued to be in Blackfriars and she was one of the last people to be buried in the convent of the Blackfriars, on September 9, 1538. Joan's only child was Sir Henry Guildford (1489-1532) but in her will, dated August 30 and proved September 18, 1538, she also left bequests to, among others, a cousin, Sir William Penison, a niece, Bridget Walsh, her nephew, the Lord Vaux (she left him her book of French and her "hanging of tapestry that has his arms"), and Maud, her fool. Her ready money, plate, and jewels were valued at 12,000 marks.
KATHERINE VAUX (c.1489-1571)
Katherine Vaux was the daughter of Nicholas, 1st baron Vaux of Harrowden (c.1460-May 14, 1523) and Elizabeth FitzHugh. She married Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton, Warwickshire (d. August 6, 1552). Their nineteen children included Robert (c.1510-February 12, 1581), Kenelm (c.1512-c1587), Sir Nicholas (1515/16-1571), Clement (c.1516-1573), John (d. May 22, 1580), Elizabeth, Anthony, Mary, Anne (c.1532-December 21, 1553), George, Catherine, Margaret, and several others who died young. The couple spent years rebuilding their house at Coughton. In 1535, Sir George wrote to Thomas Cromwell that he and his wife had lived in Buckinghamshire for most of that year because "the great part" of Coughton was "taken down." A devout Catholic, Katherine ruled over the household at Coughton long after her eldest son succeeded to the property. Portrait: portrait, date unknown (formerly called Katherine Vaux but now National Trust names her an unknown lady; brass in Coughton church showing her with her eight sons and eleven daughters.
see KATHERINE PENYSON
see MARY THRESHAM
see AGNES CALVERLEY
ANN VAVASOUR (c.1560-c.1650)
Ann Vavasour was the daughter of Henry Vavasour of Tadcaster, Copmanthorpe, Yorkshire and Margaret Knyvett (b.c.1537). She came to court as a gentlewoman of the bedchamber, probably sometime in 1580, and on March 23, 1581 scandalized everyone by giving birth to an illegitimate child in the maidens' chamber. The father was Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604), who was married. The pregnancy had been hidden right up until the birth. The next day, together with the child, named Edward Vere (d.1631) after his father, Ann was imprisoned in the Tower. The date of her release is not known, but by 1588 she was free and had resumed her affair with Oxford. By 1590 she had married a sea captain named John Finch (d.1621+), about whom little is known, and had taken a second aristocratic lover, becoming the mistress of Sir Henry Lee (1533-February 12,1611). In Elizabethan Women and the Poetry of Courtship, Ilona Bell argues convincingly that Ann wrote the poem "Thoughe I Seame Straunge" to Henry Lee in 1590 to tell him she was ready to leave her husband and live with him. She had a second illegitimate child, Thomas Vavasour, alias Freeman, by Lee. In 1605, Lee pensioned off John Finch, granting him an annuity of £20. By all accounts, Lee looked on Ann as his wife, leaving her in his will an income of £700 a year, the use of a house, and money to pay for her burial with him at Quarrendon, Buckinghamshire. The tomb he erected there was for both of them. The church stepped in, however, to object to this plan. By 1618, Ann married John Richardson, but because John Finch was still alive, Ann was charged with bigamy and brought before the High Commission on August 8, 1618. This case dragged on until February 1,1622, when Ann was ordered to pay a fine of £2000. She should have been obliged to perform public penance as well, but was granted a dispensation. Ann is said to have been over ninety years old when she died. She did not marry Sir Richard Warburton (d.1610). He was the husband of another, younger Anne Vavasour, who was brought up in the household of Lucy Harington, countess of Bedford and then was a maid of honor from 1601-3. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under "Vavasour [married names Finch: Richardson], Anne." Portraits: attributed to John de Critz, c.1605; attributed to Robert Peake (National Trust, Hatchlands).
ANNE VAVASOUR (d.1610+)
Anne Vavasour may have been the daughter of Sir Thomas Vavasour of Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire and Ham, Surrey (1560-1620) and Mary Dodge and thus the niece of the more notorious Ann Vavasour (above), but her parentage is by no means certain and she is often confused with Ann. She was referred to by Anne Clifford as her cousin, but this covers a multitude of possible relationships. Anne Vavasour was brought up in the household of Lucy Harington, countess of Bedford, and from 1601 until the death of Queen Elizabeth was a maid of honor to the queen. She attended the queen's funeral and received a pension of £66 13s. 4d. from King James. In 1603, she married Sir Richard Warburton of Arley, Cheshire and London (c.1550-1610). They had at least one child, a son named Cecil. Anne was granted administration of Warburton's estate on January 27, 1610.
see DOROTHY KENT
FRANCES VAVASOUR (1568-c.1606)
Frances Vavasour was the daughter of Henry Vavasour of Tadcaster, Copmansthorpe,Yorkshire, and Margaret Knyvett (b.c.1537) and the younger sister of Ann Vavasour. Frances came to court as a maid of honor around 1590, when "our new maid, Mistress Vavasour" was said to "flourisheth like the lily and the rose." By 1591, she was romantically involved with Sir Robert Dudley. Later that year, he married Mary Cavendish while Frances secretly wed Sir Thomas Sherley or Shirley (1565-1633). Before the secret marriage was revealed in September 1591, Sherley publicly courted Frances Brooke, the widowed Lady Stourton, as if he were free to marry her. Sherley was imprisoned until the spring of 1592 as punishment for his deceitful behavior. In 1606, after Frances’s death, Dudley claimed he had married her around 1591 and thus had never been legally married to either Mary Cavendish or his second wife, Alice Leigh. Dudley was trying to free himself from this second marriage in order to wed his mistress, Elizabeth Southwell, with whom he had eloped to the Continent. A. L. Rowse, in Sex and Society in Shakespeare’s Age records a visit to Dr. Simon Forman the astrologer by a Frances Vavasour, age 29, in July 1600, to inquire who she will marry. This seems odd, since her husband was still living, but there does not seem to have been any other Frances Vavasour close to that age. If the date was July 1590, it would make more sense. Frances had at least three sons and four daughters with her husband (some sources say five sons),including Cheyney (d.yng.), Henry (d.1627), and Thomas (b. June 30, 1597).
ELIZABETH VENABLES (c.1525-1580+)
Elizabeth Venables was the daughter of Sir William Venables of Kinderton (1480-1541) and Catherine Grosvenor (d.1558). She was married to James Marbery (Marberye/Marbry/Marberry/Marbury) (d. July 25,1558) and both were members of Elizabeth Tudor’s household at Woodstock in 1554. When Elizabeth Sandes was sent away in June of that year, Marbery suggested that his wife be promoted to replace her instead of bringing in a new lady-in-waiting for the imprisoned princess. Elizabeth Marbery was granted a pension of £20 per annum for life at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign and received material for a livery gown (satin guarded with velvet) every Christmas. She served as a chamberer from 1558. In 1574, she resigned her pension in exchange for the lease on the manors of Warden and Southill, Bedfordshire, worth £9 10s. 4d. in rent, which she received with Thomas Marbery (d.1620), her son. She also had a son named George. Elizabeth was listed as one of the queen’s chamberers in 1570 and as a gentlewoman of the bedchamber in 1580. One genealogy has her remarried, to Christopher Davenport of Swettenham, Cheshire, by 1566, but others make him the second husband of another, later Elizabeth Venables.
VENEGAS (AGNES DE VANEGAS) (1475-1514)
Inez de Venegas was one of Catherine of Aragon's Spanish ladies and was with her from the time Catherine was eleven and was assigned six "damas" of her own. Inez's mother, also Inez (or Ynes) was governess to both Catherine and her sister Maria. Inez married William Blount, Lord Mountjoy (1479-November 8, 1534), as his second of four wives, on July 30, 1509 and at that time King Henry VIII wrote on her behalf to Ferdinand of Aragon to claim a legacy from his late wife, Isabella of Castile. Inez still had kin in Spain, but their names are elusive and it is not known if she ever received her legacy. She had no surviving children from her brief marriage.
JANE VERDON (d. February 1521+)
Jane (or Joan) Verdon (or Verdun) is listed on one genealogy site as the daughter of "Richard Verdun, lord Grey of Wiston," but this seems unlikely both because I can find no mention of this peerage and because her first husband was Thomas Ilam (d.1482), a London mercer. They had a daughter, Margaret (1467-1502+), who in 1479 married John Shaa, a goldsmith who was later Lord Mayor of London. Jane married second Sir Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers of Chartley (c.1432- August 22, 1485) as his second wife. There is a reference in a record in the PRO to "Jane, now lady Ferrers, late the wife of the said Ilam" in connection with an obligation given to Ilam when he was sheriff of London in 1479-80. After Ferrers was killed at Bosworth fighting for Richard III, attainted for treason posthumously, and stripped of all his possessions, Jane married Thomas Vaughan of Bredwardine, Herefordshire (d.1493). She continued, however, to call herself Lady Ferrers. According to one online source, the wedding took place at Weobley Castle, Worcestershire, in 1486. Another online source incorrectly states that Thomas Vaughan was executed on June 25, 1483, beheaded by Richard III for his services to Edward V [sic] and that he married Jane, widow of Lord Ferrers of Hereford and that he also married Jane Verdun, widow of Edward Blount and Thomas Poyntz, who married Walter Devereux after her husband was executed. This is an obvious confusion of husbands and dates and calls into question the daughter, Elizabeth Vaughan (d. January 15, 1515), assigned to Thomas and Jane in this account. Jane married, as her fourth husband, Sir Edward Blount of Sodington, Worcestershire (c.1454- July 6, 1499). They had no children. He was buried in nearby Mamble Church. In his will, he calls Jane "Lady Johane Ferres my wif." The manor of Sodington was settled on her at the time of their marriage. It appears to have passed to her brother-in-law, Peter, by the time Peter died in 1518, as he left it to his widow until her son attained the age of twenty-four. As her fifth husband Jane married Thomas Poyntz of Alderley, Gloucestershire, to whom she was wed before June 11, 1500. They were involved in several lawsuits during their marriage and were included on the pardon roll at the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. On October 19, 1520, they were both mentioned in the will of Robert Poyntz, brother of Thomas. The Gloucestershire archives contain a lease for the manor of Alderley dated 26 February, 12 Henry VIII (1521) by which Sir Anthony Poyntz of Frampton Cotterell was to pay an annual rent of £20 for four years, unless Lady Ferrers, wife of Thomas Poyntz of Alderley, died within that time. This indicates that both Thomas and Jane were still alive in early 1521.
ANN de VERE
see ANN CECIL
see ANNE HOWARD
de VERE (April 6,
Bridget de Vere was the daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604) and Ann Cecil (December 5,1556-June 5,1588). She was brought up by her grandfather, Lord Burghley, who intended, in 1597, when she was thirteen, that she marry William Herbert, heir to the earl of Pembroke. He refused the match when Burghley refused the immediate payment of an annuity. Bridget and her younger sister Susan lived at Theobalds until Burghley's death in August 1598 and remained there afterward until October. In April 1599 was at Chenies with Bridget Hussey, dowager countess of Rutland and Bedford, awaiting her marriage to the countess's grandson, Francis Norris of Rycote, Oxfordshire (July 6,1579-January 29,1622). There was discord between them as early as November 1599, but in March 1603 they went north together to greet the new queen, Anne of Denmark. They had one child, Elizabeth (c.1603-November 1645) and had separated by May 1606, when Bridget was living with Sir William Cope and his family in Kensington. She miscarried in June. Bridget afterward went to Lancashire to live with her sister Elizabeth, countess of Derby. In 1608, Norris tried to disinherit his daughter but Bridget's uncle, Robert Cecil, convinced him to abandon the plan. In 1621, Norris was created earl of Berkshire. He was contemplating divorce when he committed the crime of elbowing Lord Scrope in the presence of royalty and was sent to the Fleet. Upon his release, he went home to Rycote and killed himself using a crossbow. Or, he shot himself in the Fleet and went home to die. Sources do not agree. His estate was then forfeit to the Crown. Bridget died between December 1630 and March 1631. Portraits: effigy on the tomb of her mother and grandmother in Westminster Abbey.
see DIANA CECIL
de VERE (d.
February 7, 1526/7)
Dorothy de Vere was the daughter of Sir George de Vere (d. before 1513) and Margaret Stafford. Her brother succeeded their uncle as 14th earl of Oxford in 1513. Dorothy married John Neville (November 17, 1493-March 2, 1543), heir to the second baron Latimer, in about 1518, as his first wife. She is therefore likely to have been the Lady Neville at Richmond with Princess Mary in 1520 when most of the court was in France at the Field of Cloth of Gold. For other possibilities see EDITH SANDYS and CATHERINE STAFFORD. Her children were John, 4th baron (c.1520-April 22, 1577) and Margaret (c.1526-1546).
see ELIZABETH DENT; ELIZABETH SCROPE: ELIZABETH TRENTHAM; ELIZABETH TRUSSELL
Elizabeth de Vere was the daughter of Sir George de Vere, son of the 14th earl of Oxford (1447-August 1500) and Margaret Stafford. In 1508, she married Anthony Wingfield of Letherington, Suffolk (1485-1552), by whom she had seven sons and three daughters including Elizabeth, Charles, Sir Robert (1509-March 19, 1596/7), Richard (1515-August 1591), Anthony (d.1593), Henry, Mary, and Margaret. In her will, dated July 28, 1557 and proved November 13, 1559, she left various household goods to four of her children. The will can be found at oxford-shakespeare.com.
(1511-December 26, 1565)
Elizabeth de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 15th earl of Oxford (1490-March 21, 1540) and Elizabeth Trussell (1496-c.1527). She married Sir Thomas Darcy (1506-June 28, 1558) as his second wife. He was later created first baron Darcy of Cliche. Their children were John (1525-March 3, 1581/2), Constance, Robert, Arthur, Richard, Elizabeth, and Thomasine. Lady Darcy wrote her will, in her own hand, in 1564, and left it in a coffer in her lodging at Master Tuke's house in Layer Marney. She fell ill and died while visiting her daughter, Constance, wife of Edmund Pyrton. The will, which was proved December 29, 1565 mentions her children John, Robert, and Constance. She also left a number of bequests to Thomasine Darcy, who appears to be another daughter. Thomasine was to receive mourning apparel, 100 marks if she was still unmarried, a flower of diamonds, Lady Darcy's best edge of pearl, and several items of bedding.
de VERE (July 2,
Elizabeth de Vere was the daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604) and Ann Cecil (December 5,1556-June 5,1588). She was brought up by her grandfather, Lord Burghley and went to court as a maid of honor in 1590. Burghley wanted her to marry Henry Wriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton, whose wardship he held. When Wriothesley refused to wed her in 1591, he was fined £5000. That same year, a marriage was considered to the earl of Bedford and in 1592 the earl of Northumberland entered the running, but Elizabeth did not "fancye" him. On January 26, 1595, she married William Stanley, 6th earl of Derby (1561-September 29, 1642) at Greenwich in the presence of Queen Elizabeth. They had waited to be sure his sister-in-law’s posthumous child would be a girl, making his title secure, before they wed. This wedding, which is sometimes given the date of June 26, 1594, is a contender for the occasion of the first performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As early as May 1595, Elizabeth was rumored to be having an affair with the earl of Essex. The rumors flared up again in late 1596 and again in the summer of 1597. In August 1597, Lord Burghley intervened. By one account, Elizabeth and her husband separated in 1598 but were reconciled in 1599. Johanna Rickman in Love, Lust and License in Early Modern England has Elizabeth leaving court for Lancashire in July 1597 and remaining there for several years. According to her, Elizabeth arrived at Knowsley on July 28, and Derby receiving letters from court on August 8, telling him about her affair with Essex. He flew into a rage but, within a few days, loyal servants had prevailed upon him to reconcile with his wife. Lady Derby later returned to court. David C. Price, in Patrons and Musicians of the English Renaissance cites a 1602 letter from William Browne to Gilbert Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, in which he recounts that Lady Derby aroused the queen's jealousy by wearing a locket containing a miniature of Sir Robert Cecil around her neck and that Cecil had to write lyrics to a song to appease her. Robert Hayes, royal lutenist, wrote the music. Why this should make the queen jealous is unclear. Derby was the patron of a company of players and at one point c.1597-9 had Elizabeth write to her uncle, Sir Robert Cecil, asking that the company not be banned from playing in their usual places. Lady Derby went on to become a lady in waiting in Queen Anne of Denmark's "drawing chamber" by February 1604. She left before the birth of her son James, 7th earl of Derby (January 31,1606/7-October 15,1651) and did not return. Her other children were Elizabeth (d. yng.), Robert (d.1632), Anne (d. February 15,1657), and another Elizabeth, who also died young. Portrait: unknown artist; effigy on the tomb of her mother and grandmother in Westminster Abbey.
de VERE (1517-June
Frances de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 15th earl of Oxford (1490-March 21,1540) and Elizabeth Trussell (1496-c.1527). She had no fortune, but in April 1532, she married Henry Howard, earl of Surrey (1517-x.January 19,1547). They lived apart until 1535 because of their youth. Alison Weir in Henry VIII: The King and his Court, states that Anne Boleyn arranged the match over the objections of the duchess of Norfolk and that Frances was at court as one of Anne's ladies from 1533. She was also at court when Catherine Howard was queen, but not, apparently, afterward. Catherine gave her a brooch set with tiny diamonds and rubies. According to one of her grandsons’ biographers, Frances, in common with her more famous husband, wrote poetry. Her children were clever and well educated, although Frances did not have charge of their education. They were Jane (1537?-1593), Thomas (March 10, 1538-June 2,1572), Catherine (1539?-April 7,1596), Henry (February 1540-1614), and Margaret (January 1543-March 17,1592). Frances miscarried in 1547, the year her husband was executed for treason. She was ill for some time afterward. Alternatively, Robert Hutchinson in House of Treason states that Frances gave birth to daughter Jane three weeks after Surrey was executed and names Catherine as the eldest daughter. W. A. Sessions in Henry Howard The Poet Earl of Surrey gives the birth order as Thomas (March 12, 1536), Henry (February 25, 1538), Jane, Catherine, and Margaret (1547). By 1553, Frances had married Thomas Steyning (d. c. 1582). They lived at the manor of Earl Soham near Framlingham Castle, returned to her from her first husband’s estate by Edward VI. She was granted nine manors by the duke of Norfolk, her father-in-law, after his restoration in 1553. They were worth £353/year. In July 1554, Frances represented Queen Mary at the christening of the French ambassador's son and in December 1557 she was chief mourner at the funeral of her sister-in-law, Mary Howard. She was also chief mourner for her daughter-in-law, Margaret Audley, on January 17, 1563. In 1576, she received a valuable lease from Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, her grandson. Frances had two children by her second husband, Henry and Mary (d.1596). She died at Earl Soham. Portrait: sketch by Hans Holbein, 1535.
de VERE (c.1541-January
Katherine de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 16th earl of Oxford (1512-August 3, 1562) and his first wife, Dorothy Neville (1515-c. January 1548). On February 1, 1548, while still a child, she was promised in marriage to the duke of Somerset's son, Henry Seymour, age seven. This marriage contract was cancelled after Somerset's execution. Katherine instead married Edward, 3rd baron Windsor (1532-January 24, 1575) and was the mother of Frederick, 4th baron (February 2, 1559-December 24, 1585), Henry, 5th baron (August 10, 1562-April 6, 1605), Andrew (d.1598+), Edward (d.1598+), William (1566-before 1598), Catherine (c.1567-December 15, 1640), and Margaret (d.1598+). On her father’s death, Katherine brought suit against her half brother, claiming that his mother’s marriage to her father had not been valid because there had been a precontract between her father and Katherine’s lady-in-waiting, Dorothy Fosser. Her will, written February 14, 1598, can be found at Oxford-Shakespeare.com. She died at Hewell in Worcestershire and was buried at Tardebigge. Portraits: alone, 1567; with her family, 1568; both by the Master of the Countess of Warwick.
MARGERY de VERE
see MARGERY GOLDING
Mary de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 16th earl of Oxford (1512-August 3, 1562) and his second wife, Margery Golding (1525-December 2, 1568). She was sworn in as a maid of honor in January 1573/4. She was soon after reported to be headed for marriage with a "Lord Garrat," probably a member of the Fitzgerald family, but by July 1577, she was being courted by Peregrine Bertie (October 12, 1555-June 25, 1601). Both families objected to the match, but by December Bertie's mother, Catherine Willoughby, duchess of Suffolk, had been won over. The couple married early in 1578, as evidenced by a letter written by the duchess in March. There were some initial difficulties, but after Bertie succeeded his mother and became 11th baron Willoughby d'Eresby in 1580, they seem to have worked them out. They lived at first in the Barbican in London, but in 1582 Bertie went to Denmark as ambassador. Mary stayed behind in England. They had daughter who died young and sons Robert (December 16, 1582-October 23, 1642), Peregrine (d. November 13, 1639), Henry (d. November 21, 1655), Vere (1581-September 13, 1614), Roger (1584-1611), and Ambrose. Their second daughter (1586-February 15, 1610/11), was to be named Sophia after the queen of Denmark but there was some confusion over gaining permission for the name from Queen Elizabeth and the child ended up being given the name Sophia by one godmother and Katherine by the other. A number of letters from and about Mary are extant and several are reprinted in Cecily Goff's biography of Catherine Willoughby, A Woman of the Tudor Age. Mary had separated from her husband before his death and is not mentioned in his will, made in August 1599. After Peregrine's death, Mary married Sir Eustace Hart of Highgate, London (d. September 18, 1634) in 1605. They separated in 1622.
see MARY TRACY
VERE (May 24,
Susan de Vere was the daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604) and Ann Cecil (December 5,1556-June 5,1588). She was brought up by her grandfather, Lord Burghley, at Theobalds until his death in 1598. In 1599, she spent some time in the care of Bridget Hussey, dowager countess of Bedford and Rutland. In 1601, she may have entered the queen's service, where she is recorded as "of the privy chamber" in 1602. She also spent time with her sister, Lady Norris, and in 1601 was approached, without her uncle's permission, by Dorothy, Lady Morrison, about a marriage to her son. At fifteen, in 1602, she was the subject of a poem by Nathaniel Baxter that lamented her lack of a dowry. By February 1604, Susan was a lady-in-waiting in the queen's "drawing room" to Anne of Denmark. By the end of that year she had "privately contracted" a marriage to Philip Herbert (October 16,1584-January 23,1650), brother of the earl of Pembroke and a favorite of the new king. They were married at Whitehall on December 27, 1604 and the nuptials were celebrated with a masque at court. The king gave the newlyweds land at Shurland, Kent. Other honors and gifts followed. On May 4, 1605, Herbert was created, earl of Montgomery. Susan was at court that year to dance in The Masque of Blackness and both Susan and Philip danced in Hymenaei the following January. They had seven sons and three daughters, three of whom died young. Among the others were Anna Sophia (c.1610-1695), Charles (1619-1636), Philip (1621-1669), James (1623-1579), William, and John. The family was based at Enfield, where Montgomery was keeper, and their children were born there. In 1622, Susan's niece, Elizabeth Norris, her sister Bridget’s daughter, was living in the earl of Montgomery's house, giving rise to rumors that she was his mistress, but Elizabeth’s elopement with Edward Wray early that year tends to cast doubt on that allegation. Like her husband, Susan was a patron of the arts. Portraits: effigy on the tomb of her mother and grandmother in Westminster Abbey.
Ursula de Vere was the daughter of Sir George de Vere (d.c.1503) and Margaret Stafford. She was the sister and co-heiress of John de Vere, 14th earl of Oxford (August 14, 1499- July 14,1526) with her sister Elizabeth, wife of Sir Anthony Wingfield (1485-1552). Another sister, Dorothy, married to the 3rd Lord Latimer, died in 1527. Ursula had married first, at a young age, George Windsor, son of Andrew, Lord Windsor. Her second husband, by a marriage settlement dated November 16, 1620, was Sir Edmund Knightley of Fawsley, Northamptonshire (d. February 12, 1542/3). They had six daughters who died young. In 1528, Knightley and his wife petitioned Chancellor Wolsey over possessions claimed by the new earl of Oxford, Ursula's second cousin. There was no settlement but in October 1529, with her sister, Ursula made an agreement with Anne (née Howard), dowager countess of Oxford over claims submitted to abritrators. On April 28, 1540, Ursula's illness was an excuse for Knightley not to go to London. She survived him, however, by many years. In about 1546, a young woman named Mary Sheldon was placed in Ursula's household at Offchurch, Warwickshire. While there, Mary fell in love with one of Lady Knightley's servants, a man called Sylvestre. When her father died, Mary was sent to live at Balford Hall in Beoley but since she was by then pregnant by Sylvestre, she wrote to Lady Knightley, asking to be taken back into her household. She didn't want her mother to find out. Lady Knightley wrote to the head of the family, Mary's brother William Sheldon, telling him the whole story and asking for permission to take Mary in. William refused and sent his errant sister to relatives, John and Alice Fox. Mary ran away from the Fox house, returned to Offchurch, and married her lover. All this led to a complaint in the Star Chamber by William and his mother, Philippa Sheldon, against Lady Knightley. They charged her with abduction, claiming that Lady Knightley had been at fault for allowing Mary to become pregnant, that her tenants had ridden to John Fox's house and taken Mary away, and that she had persuaded Mary to wed Sylvestre. Lady Knightley countercharged that Mary was "unmannerly" and also claimed that Philippa Sheldon was guilty of cruelty. The results of the case are not known. Ursula's heirs were her sister and several of the Wingfield children. She wrote her will on January 20, 1558. It was proved November 29, 1558. The entire will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/documents.html. In particular, she looked out for her niece, Elizabeth Wingfield, widow of William Naunton. Ursula had already given her movables, chattel, and plate and now made Elizabeth Naunton executor of her will. In payment for this service, she was to have the use of certain lands for the next twenty years. Life interest in estates in Suffolk and Essex went to her sister, Elizabeth Wingfield, with the reversion to Elizabeth's eldest son, Sir Robert Wingfield (d.1597). To the four younger sons of Elizabeth and Sir Anthony Wingfield (Charles, Richard, Anthony, and Henry), Ursula left annuities to be paid for twenty years. Portrait: memorial brass at Fawsley.
see CATHERINE DAMMARTIN
Margaret Vernando or Fernandez was the illegitimate daughter of Peter Fernandez (d. June 1533), a Spanish physician living in London. He is referred to as a surgeon in his denization papers (CPR 1485-94, 258). Margaret married John Bruges (Bridges/Brigges), who appears to have been the son of Thomas Bridges, a merchant tailor and slave trader who lived in Seville from 1491 until his death. In 1528 he was granted the right to trade with the Indies. By Florentina Núñez, Thomas had two daughters and a son, John, who went to Peru (in the Indies) in 1534. In 1523 the family was living in a house in the Calley de Bayona. The John Bruges who married Margaret Vernando had a house in the Old Change, London by 1533 and it was there that his father-in-law was living when he died. Although Fernandez was married to Joan, widow of merchant tailor Thomas Pemberton, he left everything to his daughter, stating in his will: "my wife shall inherit nothing of me for she robbed me." Margaret Vernando is mentioned in two further wills. Robert Yaxley (d. October 1540), one of the six founder members of the College of Physicians in 1513, left her a silver cup. His widow, Margaret, who made her will two days after her husband did, left Margaret Vernando a gold ring with a table diamond, a scarlet petticoat, a nightgown of black chamlet, a velvet bonnet edged with pearl, and a bedcover edged with gold.
see ALICE TAME
see ANNE DANVERS; ANNE WESTON
see ELEANOR POLE
ELIZABETH VERNEY (c.1558-March 1592)
Elizabeth Verney, although said in some genealogies to have been the
daughter of Sir Henry Verney and have had Queen
Elizabeth as her godmother, was in fact the daughter of Hugh Verney of Fairfield, Somerset. Her first husband was
William Palmer of Parham, Sussex (c.1554-December 24, 1586). Although numerous
other children are listed online, they had only four: Thomas, (June 24,
1574-c.1605), Catherine (1579-September 30, 1609), William (1583-April 1585),
and Sarah (1586/7-1633). Elizabeth was never married to John Palmer, younger
brother of her first husband. To further confuse matters, in her widowhood she
corresponded with Richard Stephens and he referred to her as his sister. They
were not, in fact, related. They were both of the Puritan persuasion and she
was seeking spiritual guidance about the selection of her second husband. In
1589, she was considering Sir William Bowes of Streatlam,
Durham (d.1611) but on the advice of her correspondent she rejected him, even
though they shared a preference for the preaching of one Whitfield, for not
being strict enough in his religious beliefs. In June 1590, the earl of Essex
dined with her at Parham. He had two candidates for her to consider, Henry Savile of Oxford (1549-1622) and Henry Bromley of Holt
Castle, Warwickshire (March 9, 1556-May 15, 1615). In 1591, she married Bromley
as his second wife. One source gives the date of their wedding as November 21,
1592, but she was buried on March 17 of that year. She may have had a son by
Bromley. He married twice more. His third wife was Anne Knatchbull
(née Scott) and his fourth was Anne Offley (née Beswick). Portrait: c.1590, artist unknown.
see ELIZABETH BRAY; ELIZABETH BROUGHTON
JANE VERNEY (1532-1591+)
Jane Verney was probably the daughter of Sir Ralph Verney of Pendley, Herefordshire and Clayton, Buckinghamshire (1509-1546) and Elizabeth Bray, although one online genealogy says her father was Edmund Verney of Penley, Buckinghamshire. In 1558, she married Sir Francis Hynde of Madingley, Cambridgeshire (d. March 21, 1595). Their children were Jane (d. November 1633), William, Ursula, Edward, and John. Portrait: by Hieronimo Custodis, 1591.
MARY VERNEY (1516-1540+)
Mary Verney was the daughter of John Verney of Mortlake, Surrey (1488-1540) and his first wife. She married Lewis Reynolds before 1540. In a will dated July 22, 1540, Verney named his second wife, Dorothy, as his executor but made no mention of his daughter. Mary contested the will, and since Dorothy could produce no witnesses, the court overturned it and named Mary to administer the estate.
see MARY BLAKENEY
ANNE VERNON (d. 1570)
Anne Vernon was the youngest daughter of George Vernon of Hodnet, Shropshire (d.c.1554) and Mary Lacon (1506-April 27, 1563). She and her sister were left £400 toward their marriages by their father. Their mother increased that inheritance to 900 marks and specified that the two girls be governed by their half-sister, Joyce Lucy (née Acton) and her husband, Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Warwickshire. Her mother also left Anne a tablet of gold, a purse of tawny velvet containing 20 marks, her best gold bracelet and best gold billiment, together with half of her clothing. Anne made her own will on September 29, 1570. It was proved November 23, 1570. She styled herself Anne Vernon of Charlecote, gentlewoman. She left her half sister Lucy her upper billiment of goldsmith's work and a gold ring and her sister Dorothy all the money she did not bequeath elsewhere, along with her little chain of gold, two of her best gowns and kirtles, two of her best partlets, one pair of drawn sleeves unwrought, one new coif of drawn-work, her best petticoat, her cloak and safeguard, two little caskets, one coffer, certain samplers, two smocks, kerchiefs, and all the things that belonged to their late mother. The entire will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com.
DOROTHY VERNON (1545-1584)
The name Dorothy Vernon is known to many people otherwise uninterested in Tudor women. They have only to visit Haddon Hall in Derbyshire to hear the story of her elopement and see “Dorothy Vernon’s Bridge” in the garden. Dorothy was the younger daughter of Sir George Vernon (1508-August 31, 1565), known as “King of the Peak,” and his first wife, Margaret Talboys. There are various accounts of Dorothy’s elopement, and opinions differ as to exactly when it took place, but all agree that Sir George Vernon took a dislike to the man Dorothy wanted to marry. He was Sir John Manners of Shelford, Nottinghamshire (d. June 4, 1611), second son of the earl of Rutland. The story goes that the young man disguised himself as a minstrel during a gathering at Haddon Hall. It was either the wedding of Dorothy’s older sister, Margaret (b.1540) to Thomas Stanley (d.1576), second son of the earl of Derby, or a banquet at the end of a hunt, and took place either in 1558 or in 1563. The cruel stepmother of some versions of Dorothy’s elopement is also questionable. In fact, Maud Longford (d.June 14, 1596) was only a few years older than her stepdaughter. Sir George Vernon was more than twice Maud's age. According to her epitaph, Maud made a second match after Sir George’s death “by her own choice/Pleasing herself, who others pleased before.” She married Sir Francis Hastings (d.1610), a younger son of the 2nd earl of Huntingdon, in 1567, giving up her life interest in Haddon Hall to her stepdaughter, Dorothy. Dorothy's children were Sir George (1573-April 23, 1623), Grace, John (1576-1590), and Sir Roger (c.1575-1632). Portraits: Dorothy Vernon’s likeness is preserved in the effigy on her tomb in Bakewell, Derbyshire.
DOROTHY VERNON (d.1599)
Dorothy Vernon was the eldest daughter of George Vernon of Hodnet, Shropshire (d.c.1554) and Mary Lacon (1506-April 27, 1563). She and her sister were left £400 toward their marriages by their father. Their mother increased that inheritance to 900 marks and specified that the two girls be governed by their half-sister, Joyce Lucy (née Acton) and her husband, Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Warwickshire. Her mother also left
Dorothy a book of gold, a jewel of gold called a gargament, a purse of fine cheverel leather containing 20 marks, her second gold bracelet, her best white satin frontlet, and one half of all her clothing. On March 5, 1599, Dorothy made her own will. It was proved May 4, 1599. By that time, she was living, still unmarried, in Monmouthshire, Wales. She made bequests to cousins in the Leighton family and left Anne, her servant, twenty pounds and her second gown. Jane Gwillim, "being in the house with me," was to receive ten pounds and her fourth gown, and her man, Thomas Cooke, ten pounds and "one gown of mine that is in the hands of a tailor in London this three years or thereabouts." After several other bequests to cousins, she left the servant, Anne, and Jane Gwillum the rest of her clothing, both woolen and linen, to be equally divided between them. The entire will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com.
see DOROTHY HEVENINGHAM
ELIZABETH VERNON (1572/3-1655)
Elizabeth Vernon was the daughter of John Vernon of Hodnet (1546-1592) and Elizabeth Devereux (c.1541-c.1583). She came to court as a maid of honor, became pregnant, and secretly married Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton (October 6, 1573-November 10,1624) before August 30, 1598. The queen was not pleased. Their children were Penelope (November 1598-July 16,1667), James (1605-1624), Thomas (March 10,1608-May 16,1667), Elizabeth (b.1609), and Mary (1611-January 5, 1615). Southampton was involved in the earl of Essex’s treason in 1601 but escaped execution. He spent two years as a prisoner in the Tower of London. After his release, both he and his wife were high in favor at the court of James I. In 1647, King Charles took refuge with Lady Southampton at Titchfield in Hampshire after escaping from Carisbrook Castle. Portraits: There are five, including the most famous one, which shows her combing her hair, c.1595-1600. A full length portrait is dated c.1610. Another was painted by Paul van Somer c.1620 and a third by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger c.1622.
MARGARET VERNON (c.1475-c.1546)
Margaret Vernon is generally said to have been the daughter of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon Hall, Derbyshire (c.1441-April 13, 1515) and Anne Talbot (c.1445-May 17, 1494), but his will, dated January 18, 1515 and proved May 5, 1515 (transcript online at www.oxford-shakespeare.com) leaves his daughter Margaret 700 marks toward her marriage. By that time, the Margaret of this entry had been prioress of two different priories, Sopwell by 1509 and St. Mary de Pré by 1513. Both were near St. Albans. The Victoria County History (1905), online at British History Online, characterizes Margaret Vernon, prioress of Little Marlowe, as "a scheming and worldly woman with a keen eye for her own advancement and no real love for the little priory over which she ruled." Twenty-one of her letters to Thomas Cromwell have been preserved, several of them concerning Cromwell's son, Gregory, who was under Margaret Vernon's supervision at some point, although the letters to his father that mention him are not dated. Gregory had a schoolfellow, Nicholas Sadler, and their tutor, Mr. Copland, with him, and there was also a "little gentlewoman" with Master Sadler. Margaret asked permission to educate her. Gregory Cromwell is usually said to have been born around 1514, Usually young boys did not stay in nunneries past the age of ten, which would place this correspondence before 1524. Margaret was elected prioress of Little Marlow in Buckinghamshire in 1528. In 1529, she wrote to Cromwell to offer a bribe in return for the post of prioress at St. Helen's, Bishopsgate. She did not get the job. Another letter to Cromwell asks when he will be in the neighborhood, as she would like his counsel on several matters. In 1530, there were only six nuns at Little Marlow, including Margaret. In 1535, three of them were dismissed for being under twenty-four years of age (the minimum age at which one could take final vows). One of the nuns dismissed was Katherine Picard, who had complained to Bishop Longland in 1530 that Little Marlow had no sub-prioress. Margaret was left with only two men servants, two women servants, and two nuns, both of whom told commissioners that they wished to enter other houses of religion. Little Marlow was closed on June 27, 1536. By September 24, 1536, after a brief stay in Stepney, Margaret became abbess of Malling in Kent. She surrendered Malling on October 28, 1538. Her pension, had she been merely prioress of Little Marlow, would have been £4 or £5. As Abbess of Malling, she received an annuity of £40. She drew her pension as late as 1546. in 1539 and 1540 she appears to have been living with another Malling nun, Rose Moreton or Martyn. Both received capacities, a license to live without the habit. Biography: "Thomas Cromwell's Abbess, Margaret Vernon" by Mary C. Erler (History Today, February 2014, 23-29) and Erler's Reading and Writing at the Dissolution: Monks, Nuns and Friars 1530-1558, pp.86-106.
MARGARET VERNON (1540-September 9, 1596)
Margaret Vernon was the elder daughter and co-heiress of Sir George Vernon of Haddon Hall, Derbyshire (1508-August 31, 1565), known as "King of the Peak," and his first wife, Margaret Talboys. Between January and May of 1558, she married Thomas Stanley (1532/3-December 1576), second son of the 3rd earl of Derby. They had two sons, Henry (d. yng) and Edward (c.1563-1632). From her father, Margaret inherited Tong in Shropshire and properties at Marple and Wyberslegh, while her sister Dorothy inherited Haddon Hall. Thomas Stanley, who remained a Catholic after Elizabeth Tudor became queen, was arrested in 1571 for conspiring with Thomas Gerard and others to help Mary Queen of Scots escape to the Isle of Man, where he was governor. He was still in prison in 1572. His will, made on December 14, 1576, divided everything between his wife and his son. Margaret received letters of administration on December 22. One online source gives his date of death as November 17, 1577 and says it occurred at Clerkenwell, but clearly this is incorrect. The same source gives September 9, 1596 for Margaret. Other sources give 1610 and 1611 for her date of death. She remarried on November 1, 1579, taking as her second husband one William Mather of Harlaston. Portrait: effigy on tomb in St. Bartholomew's church, Tong.
see MARGARET BASSETT; MARGARET DYMOKE; MARGARET LITTLETON; MARGARET SWYNNERTON; MARGARET TALBOYS
see MARY LACON; MARY LITTLETON
see MAUD LONGFORD
see ELIZABETH VANBUREN
1536+) (maiden name unknown)
The name Mistress Victoria appears among the gentlewomen attending Catherine of Aragon at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 and Mary Victoria is listed in the household of Princess Mary in Wales in 1525 and was still with her in October 1533. She is listed as receiving £10/year in the household accounts for 1526. Joycelyne Russell, in The Field of Cloth of Gold, suggests she may be the wife of Dr. Ferdinand/Fernando Victoria/Vittorio, Spanish physician to the queen and this seems to be supported by an entry in the Letters and Papers, foreign & domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, Vol. II Part II which lists a payment of £66 13s. 4d. in February 1518 to Dr. Fernando for transporting his wife out of Spain. They had a son, who was the king's godchild. Plans were discussed in 1523 and 1524 to send him to Emperor Charles V as a page but it is not clear if he ever left England. Mary is probably the "Mistress Mary, my physician's wife," to whom Catherine of Aragon left £40 in her will. It is also possible there were two Mary Victorias, mother and daughter, with the daughter serving as one of Princess Mary's maids of honor in 1525-33.
LEONORE VIERENDEELS (d. September 5,1638)
Leonore Vierendeels was the daughter of Colonel Adrian Vierendeels of Antwerp. After his death, she came to England, where she married Abraham Tyron (Trion/Trioen) (d. December 29, 1607) in the Dutch church in Austin Friars on October 16, 1599. He was the eldest son of a Flemish Huguenot naturalized in 1563 and at the time of his death was a wealthy merchant. His will was dated May 25, 1605 and was proved January 7, 1607/8. Although his parents were both still living, he named two of his brothers as executors. The inquest post mortem was held July 23, 1608. Leonore claimed their house in St. Mary Aldermanbury in London but there was some dispute with his relatives over this during her second marriage to Gregory Donhault (Downhall/Downold) (c.1535-April 4, 1614). Donhault was in the service of Lord Keeper Egerton. In his will, he left his wife the lease of a house in Uxbridge, Middlesex, as well as her jewels, his coach and horses, and plate. He states in the will that he did not leave her more for reasons which "men of judgment, observing the practice of the time and common course of the world will easily discern and will allow." By 1617, Leonore had married a third time to become the third wife of Sir John Bennett (c.1553-February 15, 1627), judge of the prerogative court and chancellor to Anne of Denmark. The History of Parliament gives them four daughters. In 1617, Bennett was sent on a diplomatic missions to Brussels, accompanied by Leonore. She was described as "a domineering Flemish woman" and one contemporary letter reports that Bennett "carries his large wife with him" on the assignment. His fortunes suffered reversals after that and he spent 1622-3 in the Fleet. He died intestate. Leonore continued to live at Uxbridge, where she erected a monument to herself in Uxbridge chapel. Portrait: effigy of "Dame Leonora Bennet, " Uxbridge; portrait by Custodis c.1590.
see MARY BEAUMONT
see ANNE GRIMSBY
see JANE LYFIELD
(November 14, 1501-September 24, 1575)
Anna von Oldenburg was the daughter of Johann XIV, count of Oldenburg (1460-1526) and Anne of Anhalt-Zerbst (d.1531). On March 6, 1530, she married Enno II, count of East Friesland (d. September 24, 1540). They had six children: Elisabeth (January 10, 1531-September 6, 1555), Edzard II (June 24, 1532-September 1, 1599), Anna (January 3, 1534-May 20, 1552), Hedwig (June 29, 1535-November 4, 1616), Christoph (October 8, 1536-September 29, 1566), and Johann (September 29, 1538-September 29, 1591). After her husband died, Anna served as regent of East Friesland for her minor children, ruling alone from 1540-1561 and with her sons after that. It was during this period that she had dealings with English merchants. She was already inclined to be lenient with those of other faiths and dealt so generously with the Mennonites and the Anabaptists that she was censured in 1544 by Mary of Hungary, regent of the Netherlands. Emden, in East Friesland, was the nearest German port to London. After the loss of Calais in 1558 and the difficulties of trading in Antwerp under Imperial rule, the Merchant Adventurers were in desperate need of a new base on the continent. In 1560, Anna invited them to establish themselves in Emden. The English considered Emden second-rate compared to Antwerp, but agreed and a formal agreement was reached on February 20, 1564. Anna issued a grant of privileges on March 22, 1564 and the first English ships, a fleet of forty, arrived in Emden on May 23, 1564.
HELENA VON SNAKENBORG (1548-April 10,1635)
Helena von Snakenborg (Elin Ulfsdotter of Fyllingarum) was the daughter of Ulf or Wulfgang Henriksson Snakenborg or Snachenberg of Ostargotland (d.c.1565) and Agneta Knuttson (d.1568+). She came to England as a maid of honor to Princess Cecilia of Sweden on a state visit in the autumn of 1565, traveling some 400 miles by water and 750 miles on ice and snow in the process, and stayed on when Cecilia left in May 1566. She was being courted by William Parr, marquis of Northampton (August 14,1513-October 28, 1571), who had asked her to marry him, even though he was not legally free to remarry. He promised her a house of her own. At that point, Queen Elizabeth stepped in, taking Helena into her keeping at court, possibly as a maid of honor. Later she was a gentlewoman of the privy chamber, although without pay. Helena and Parr finally married in May 1571, after the death of his first wife, from whom he had been separated for decades. He died soon after, leaving Helena a wealthy widow and, as marchioness of Northampton, senior to every other lady at court save the queen and the queen’s cousin, Margaret Douglas. Around 1577 she remarried, taking as her second husband Thomas (later Sir Thomas) Gorges of Langford, Wiltshire (1536-March 30,1610). Helena was a patron of the arts, rebuilt Langford House in Wiltshire, and was chief mourner at the funeral of Elizabeth Tudor. Her children, all by her second husband, were Elizabeth (June 1578-1659), Francis (c.1579-c.1599), Frances (1580-1649), Edward (c.1582-c.1652), Theobald (1583-1648), Bridget (1584-c.1634), Robert (1588-1648), and Thomas (1589-1624+). Biography: Gunnar Sjögren, “Helena, Marchioness of Northampton,” History Today, September 1978; there is also an older full-length biography, C. A. Bradford's Helena, Marchioness of Northampton (1936), but I have not been able to find a copy; Oxford DNB entry under "Gorges [née Snakenborg], Helena." Portraits: c.1569 by the Master of the Countess of Warwick (identity unproven); c.1603 by Robert Peake; effigy in Salisbury Cathedral.
text ©2008-14 Kathy Lynn Emerson (all rights reserved)