complied by

Kathy Lynn Emerson

If you are new to this site, please take a moment to read the information on this page.

My name is Kathy Lynn Emerson. A Who’s Who of Tudor Women began as a project to update and correct my very out-of-date collective biography, Wives and Daughters: The Women of Sixteenth-Century England, published by a small scholarly press in 1984. It has been online at another location since 2010. There are well over 2000 women listed in these pages and I continue to add more, as well as to make corrections and additions to existing entries as I discover more about their subjects.

I write all the entries in A Who’s Who of Tudor Women myself. I don’t mind sharing this information. In fact, I’m happy to have it reach the widest audience possible. But I would appreciate being identified as the author of individual mini-biographies when they appear on other websites, preferably with a link to this page. All text on this site is © 2017 by Kathy Lynn Emerson.

The women in A Who’s Who of Tudor Women lived at least part of their lives between 1485 and 1603. Each must have done something during her lifetime that I find interesting. In some cases that something was simply having her portrait painted or holding a post in a royal household.

Entries are arranged alphabetically by the maiden name of the subject or by married surname if her birth name is unknown. Each entry is cross-referenced by married surnames. To find a subject by her husband’s title, consult the list of Titles Used in Tudor Times. To best use the search function, put the name in question in quotes (ie. “Elizabeth Howard”). You’ll be shown all the pages (by letter of the alphabet, in reverse order) on which that name appears. Click on the letter of the alphabet you want to go to that page and then use the “find” function on your browser to locate the name on that page.

I am not affiliated with any institution of higher learning, nor do I have a doctorate. If such things matter to you, you may call me an “independent scholar.” I earned my bachelor’s degree from Bates College and my M.A. (in English) from Old Dominion University. I make my living as a novelist and writer of popular nonfiction (click here if you want to know about that) but I do have a few scholarly credentials. I have had articles published in Renaissance Papers, First Person Female American (American Notes and Queries Supplement), and Notes on Teaching English and have read papers at the Southeastern Renaissance Conference and the Medieval Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

These pages are not meant to be scholarly or all-inclusive. They are set up to help identify women who lived during the Tudor era (1485-1603). The information in them has been accumulated primarily from a footnote here and a paragraph there in histories and in biographies dealing with better known people and events. No complete bibliography is possible, nor was it possible to give a specific source for every single detail in every single entry. Some details have multiple sources. Some come from undocumented sources. Some I found forty years ago and neglected to make a note of my source at that time. I also include information from sources that do not always say where their facts originated—online genealogies, family discussion groups and the like. Then again, some so-called scholarly tomes also fail in attribute information and, with appalling frequency, make careless mistakes when referring to minor historical figures.

The earlier online version included every photograph I could find of portraits and effigies. I have discontinued this feature, in part because so many identifications of sitters in portraits have changed over the years and in part because not all images are in the public domain. The entries state if likenesses exist.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not a genealogist. I will not do your research for you. All the information I currently possess about most of the women who have entries in the Who’s Who is already contained in those entries. If you have something to add, or a correction to make (with citations, please!) I am happy to hear from you. You’ll find a contact link in the drop-down menu.

Below is a list of sources that include information on a great many of the women in the A Who’s Who of Tudor Women:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Arnold, Janet, Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d (1988)

Bindoff, S. T., ed., The History of Parliament The House of Commons 1509-1558 (1982) (3 vols.)

Bynre, M. St. Clare, ed. The Lisle Letters (1981) (6 vols)

Colthorpe, Marion, http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day

Ford, David, http://www.berkshirehistory.com/

Goldsmith, Joan Barbara Greenbaum, All the Queen’s Women: The changing place and perception of aristocratic women in Elizabethan England 1558-1620 (unpublished PhD dissertation, 1987)

Green, Nina, transcripts of wills and other documents at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/documents.html

Harris, Barbara J. English Aristocratic Women 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers (2002) (and also numerous articles written by Harris and published in a variety of scholarly journals)

Hasler, P. W., ed., The History of Parliament The House of Commons 1558-1603 (1981) (3 vols.)

Hayward, Maria, Dress at the Court of King Henry VIII (2007)

Levin, Carole, et al, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen: Exemplary Lives and Memorable Acts, 1500-1650 (2017)

Merton, Charlotte Isabelle, The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth: Ladies, Gentlewomen and Maids of the Privy Chamber, 1553-1603 (unpublished PhD dissertation, 1991)

Norton, Elizabeth, The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women: A Social History (2017)

Richardson, Douglas, Magna Carta Ancestry (2011)