Elizabeth Babington was the eldest daughter of Anthony Babington of Dethick, Derbyshire (d.August 23, 1536) and his second wife, Catherine Ferrers (d.1537). On November 26, 1532, she married Sir George Pierrepont of Whaley, Derbyshire and Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire (July 16, 1510-March 21, 1564). She was his first wife. One online genealogy says she had a daughter named Annora who married John Rossel of Ratcliffe while another calls her the mother of Lady Brett. The History of Parliament simply says they had one daughter. Portrait: brass in West Malling.

Jane Babington was the daughter of Nicholas Babington of St. Mary Ottery, Devonshire, and Joane Whiting. She married William Winslade of Tregarrick, Cornwall (c.1515-1590+), a recusant who fled abroad in about 1581 and died in Lisbon. During litigation in 1582, concerning whether or not her husband, and thus her son, inherited property from William’s mother, the accusation was made that Jane had been “a nun professed” before her marriage. This accusation was made in the hope that it would make her son Tristram (c.1550-1605) illegitimate. In actual fact, marriage to a former nun was legal under English civil law and would not affect matters of inheritance. Some accounts make William and Tristram the same person. She also had a daughter, Mary.


MADELEINE or MAUD BABINGTON (1569-March 19, 1608/9)
Madeleine Babington, sometimes called Maud and in one case, Mary, was the daughter of Sir Henry Babington of Dethick, Derbyshire (1530-1571) and Mary Darcy, although some genealogies give her mother as Babington’s first wife, Frances Markham. Mary Darcy was the daughter of George, Lord Darcy of Aston, who held lands in Meath, Ireland (d.1558) and Dorothy Melton. Mary married Henry Foljambe after Babington’s death. Young Madeleine lived with her brother, Francis Babington (1559-c.1622), in Nottinghamshire both before and after his marriage (license dated July 13, 1588) to Juliana Rowe, the daughter of William Rowe, Lord Mayor of London in 1592. On an occasion when her brother was absent from home and Madeleine was up late reading in her chamber, she noticed unusual activity in the house. Suspicious, she investigated and caught Juliana “in naked bedd” with James Skelton, a member of the household. Juliana begged Madeleine not to tell Francis what she had seen and Madeleine agreed, but later she did write to her brother and reveal the whole sordid story. The matter ended up in court in 1591. At that point, Madeleine, who had married Christopher Plunkett (c.1574-December 15, 1603) in the interim, gave a deposition in “careful chronological order, in which every event is linked to the next with none of the discontinuities of time and place that characterize so many depositions, and into which she introduces delays that shift the focus on to her own emotional reactions and her reflections on the discovery.” Further details from this deposition can be found in Laura Gowing’s Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London. According to Gowing, Francis and Juliana remained together. As for Madeleine, her husband was heir to the Irish barony of Dunsany, to which he succeeded in 1601. She had at least two children, Patrick (c.1594-1668) and a daughter who was still living in 1603. As the dowager Lady Dunsany, Madeleine remained in Ireland and it was there that she was murdered, although I have yet to find any information on why or how. A hired servant girl named Honora ny Caffry was accused of the crime and burned to death. Shortly thereafter, the real killer, a man, confessed to the murder at his own execution for another crime. So far I have not turned up his name or further details.




Elizabeth Babthorpe was the daughter and heir of William Babthorpe of Ellistown, Leicestershire. Her first husband was Thomas Essex  of Waltham Green, Middlesex (d. November 10, 1500), by whom she had a son, William Essex (c.1470-August 13, 1548). She brought an inheritance in five counties to her second marriage, although it was entailed on her son. Her second husband was Ralph Swillington (d.1525). Swillington moved to Coventry in 1515, when he took the post of city recorder. In 1524, in the year before his death, he was also Attorney General for King Henry VIII. Swillington made his will July 11, 1525 and it was proved February 14, 1526. He named his wife as executor. In 1544, Elizabeth, was living in the mansion house in Stivichall, an outlying part of Coventry about a mile and a half south of the city center. When she died, she left £140 for the support of the poor and to repair the roads running between Coventry, Stivichall, and Warwick. A tomb with three effigies, erected during her lifetime in St. Michael’s Church in Coventry, confirms that Elizabeth was married to both Essex and Swillington. However, Peter Sherlock, in Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England, identifies her as Elizabeth Nethermyl. There are other Nethermyl monuments in the church, in particular the tomb of Julian Nethermyl (d.1539), his wife Johanna and their five sons and five daughters in the Drapers’ Chapel. Julian was a former Lord Mayor of Coventry. Richard Nethermyl was vicar of St. Michael’s in 1535. Sherlock does not specify how Elizabeth might have been related to either of these men and I believe he is in error. The House of Commons 1509-1558 entries for both William Essex and Swillington identify the widow as a Babthorpe by birth.

ISABEL BABTHORPE (September 14, 1479-June 30, 1552)
Isabel Babthorpe was the daughter of Robert Babthorpe (d. before May 1496) and Katherine Hagthorpe. Her marriage contract with William Plumpton of Plumpton, Yorkshire (1485-July 11, 1547), was signed on May 11, 1496. She brought Sacombe, Hertfordshire and Waterton, Lincolnshire to the marriage. Her children were Robert (January 17, 1515/16-1546) and Dennis (October 9, 1519-June 4, 1596). Several letters written to Isabel are preserved in the Plumpton Correspondence and her will and that of her husband also exist. Isabel was left no specific legacy but was named executor, along with her surviving son, Dennis. In her own will, made on June 10, 1552 and proved on August 25, she left bequests to her late son Robert’s daughters, Anne, Mary, and Isabel, to their mother, Anne Norton (who had remarried and was now Anne Moreton), to her niece, Anne Plumpton, and to her kinswoman, Edith Swale. As was usual in wills of the time, there were conditions on some of the bequests. Edith was to receive £3 6s. 8d., “to be paid of my goods at such time as she shall go and keep house with her husband.” Her granddaughters were obliged to “order themselves honestly and after the good advice of such friends as I shall charge to appoint for their good direction and order.”

Margaret Babthorpe was the daughter of Sir William Babthorpe of Babthorpe, Yorkshire (1528-1581) and Barbara Constable (d. by 1558) and married Sir Henry Cholmondeley or Cholmley of Whitby, Yorkshire (1556-1616). The story goes that she was an ardent recusant, imprisoned for her faith for over a year but, after 1603, both she and her husband converted to Protestantism and embraced their new faith with as much zeal as they had previously shown for Catholicism. Her three sons and nine daughters included Richard (1580-1632), Mary (m. Henry Fairfax) and Margaret (m. Timothy Comyn). She is said by some sources to have taken a second husband, Thomas Meynell of Hawnby. For more information on the Babthorpe family, see the entry under Grace Birnand.

ANNE BACON (1572-June 5, 1624)
Anne Bacon was the eldest daughter of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave (1540-1624) and Anne Butts (d.1616) and was brought up as a Puritan. She married Robert Drury (1575-April 2, 1615) on January 30, 1592. His father had died £6000 in debt. Anne’s father took over management of the estate and Drury spent much of this time away from England as a soldier. Anne and Robert Drury had two daughters, Dorothy (d.yng) and Elizabeth (c.1596-December 1610). Drury House was a meeting places for conspirators in the Essex rebellion of 1601, but Drury himself was cleared of charges of treason. Lady Drury remodeled Hawstead Place. In 1610, the Drurys and their daughter Elizabeth journeyed to Spa and then to Paris, returning to London in December, just before Elizabeth’s death. After Anne’s husband died, she was very wealthy. She chose not to remarry, but rather supervised her estate and invested in additional property. Biography: Oxford DNB entry—included in “Drury family (per. 1485-1624).”

ANNE BACON (1573-November 1622)
Anne Bacon was the daughter of Sir Nathaniel Bacon of Stiffkey, Norfolk (1546-November 1622) and Anne Gresham (1549-1594).  Raised as a Puritan, Anne was sent at the age of eighteen to a Puritan boarding school in Dickleborough, Norfolk. She remained there until she married John Townshend of Raynham, Norfolk (1567/8-August 2, 1590) in December 1593. Some sources incorrectly say Sir Ralph but give the same life dates. Anne’s husband had an “aggressive and violent” nature, made worse by the fact that the young couple were obliged to live on the charity of their parents. John’s mother, Jane (née Stanhope) (1536-1618) held a life interest in the Townshend estates, even after her remarriage in 1598 to Henry, Lord Berkeley. The death of Anne’s mother and the possibility that her father would remarry and sire a son meant she was no longer certain to inherit her father’s properties at Stiffkey, Langham, and Morston. When John Townshend died in debt, having sold off most of his land to his mother, Lady Berkeley, she obtained the wardship of his heir, Anne’s oldest son, Roger (November 1595-January 1, 1637). Anne’s other children were Anne and Stanhope (c.1597-c.1620). In around 1605, Anne was being courted by Sir George Southcote (d. c.1638) but did not marry him. She was one of a number of puritan women who supported radical clergymen. The Bacon-Townshend Collection of letters written between 1550 and 1640 is at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Anne and her father were buried on the same day in November 1622. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Townshend [née Bacon], Anne.”



Elizabeth Bacon was the daughter of John Bacon of Hessett, Suffolk and London. She married William Breton of St. Giles without Cripplegate, London (d. January 12, 1558/9) in about 1545 and was the mother of Richard, Nicholas (1545-1626), Thamar, Anne, and Mary. Breton left his wife a considerable inheritance, including a house on Red Cross Street, on the condition that she not remarry. She seems, however, to have married not once but twice more, the first time by April 1558, within a few months of Breton’s death. This husband was Edward Boyes of Nonington, Kent, but there is some doubt as to the legality of the marriage. A 1566 court document refers to is as “a pretended marriage.” On November 23, 1561, while Boyes was still living, Elizabeth married George Gascoigne (1525-October 7, 1577), a debt-ridden poet, at Christ Church, Greyfriars. They seem to have lived in the house on Red Cross Street until 1563. In September 1562, Machyn’s diary reports “a great fray” in Red Cross Street between Boyes and Gascoigne and their men “for they did marry one woman, and divers were hurt.” In 1563, Gascoigne leased a manor in Willington, Bedfordshire, where he and Elizabeth remained until 1565. Several lawsuits stemmed from Elizabeth’s marriages and her inheritance from her first husband. In 1568, Elizabeth and Gascoigne were investigated for misuse of her Breton children’s inheritance, but apparently no wrongdoing could be proven. In February 1569, Queen Elizabeth removed the case from the court of wards and Gascoigne was granted the wardship of Elizabeth’s eldest son. Elizabeth had one additional son by Gascoigne, William (d.c.1585). The Oxford DNB says Elizabeth survived her husband by about eight years, basing this on the fact that her eldest son, Richard Breton, received letters of administration in 1585. Other sources give her date of death as 1569, but this cannot be correct because she and Gascoigne, living at Walthamstow, were listed as not attending church on Jun 19 and September 2, 1572 and July 11, 1575. In November 1577, a month after Gascoigne died, Elizabeth was listed as a recusant.

Elizabeth Bacon was the daughter of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave, Suffolk and Gorhambury, Hertfordshire (1509-October 11, 1579), Lord Keeper, and his first wife, Jane Fernley (d.1552). She had a younger sister who was also named Elizabeth. She married three times. A document dated May 9, 1571 concerns the payment of 1000 marks for the marriage of Sir Nicholas’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, on her marriage to Robert D’Oyly of Greneland, Buckinghamshire (c.1539-1577). In May 1578, she married Sir Henry Neville of Billingbear, Berkshire (1520-January 13, 1593), as his third wife. Her third husband was William Periam (c.1534-October 9, 1604). She was also his third wife. She gave birth to three sons, all of whom died young. David C. Price in Patrons and Musicians of the English Renaissance identifies her third husband as Sir Francis Periam (d.1621) and suggests she is the “Lady Periam” to whom Thomas Morley dedicated “The firste booke of canzonets” (1595). She is also famous in musical circles as the Lady Neville of “My Lady Neville’s Book,” a manuscript containing forty-two keyboard compositions by William Byrd. It was presented to her in 1591, probably because she was a skilled performer on the virginals and admired the collection, obliging the copyist (John Baldwin) to present it to her as a gift. Later the manuscript was given to Queen Elizabeth, according to a note made in 1668 “by Lord Edward Abergavenny, called the Deaf.” This was probably Edward Neville, 6th baron (c.1550-December 1, 1622). He was Sir Henry Neville’s nephew. Other possibilities suggested as “Lady Neville” are the 6th baron’s stepmother, Grisold Hughes, which does not make sense (see her entry), and his wife, Rachel Lennard (c.1556-1616), but the heraldic designs on the flyleaf argue for Sir Henry Neville’s wife as the correct choice.

ELIZABETH BACON (d. c.1604?)
Elizabeth Bacon was the youngest daughter (and the second to be named Elizabeth) of Sir Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave Suffolk and Gorhambury, Hertfordshire (1509-October 11,1579), Lord Keeper, and his first wife, Jane Fernley (d. 1552). She is incorrectly called Jane and the daughter of Bacon’s second wife in some genealogies, but the second Lady Bacon’s daughters died young. See the entry above for Bacon’s eldest daughter named Elizabeth. This younger Elizabeth was tutored in mathematics by Thomas Blundeville. The exercises he prepared for her later became the basis of his bestselling book The Exercises (1594). In 1570, Elizabeth married Francis Wyndham of Norwich and Beeston, Norfolk (d. June 18, 1592). Letters written by her father concerning this marriage are extant, along with several documents relating to the payment of dowries. On May 27, 1571, the last £400 of 1300 marks for Wyndham’s marriage to Sir Nicholas’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was paid. During his marriage to Elizabeth, Wyndham acquired property at Stiffkey, Ashwood, Pentney, and West Bilney, as well as a large dwelling house called the Committee House near St. Giles Gate, Norwich. They had no children. He left Elizabeth all his Norfolk property, including the site of the dissolved monastery at Pentney. The Norwich house was to be sold to pay his debts. When the will was proved on July 8, 1592, the executors disputed a nuncupative codicil leaving additional property to the widow. The codicil was declared valid in November 1594. A monument to Wyndham, with his effigy in his robes as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, was erected in St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich. In about 1593, Elizabeth married Robert Mansell (or Mansfield) of Penrice, Glamorganshire (c.1569-1656). They settled at Pentney, about eight miles from King’s Lynn, and also leased a house in Chapel Fields, Norwich. He was a naval commander and often absent from home. He was knighted on the Cadiz voyage in 1596 and served as treasurer of the navy from 1604-1618. Elizabeth had no children from this marriage, either. Mansell’s entry in the History of Parliament indicates that it was after her death that he returned to Wales and became a knight of the shire, but exactly when this was is not clear. He first represented a Welsh county in Parliament in 1604. Elizabeth died at some point before her husband made a second marriage, on March 11, 1617, to Elizabeth Roper (d.1658).

Elizabeth Bacon was the second daughter of Sir Nathaniel Bacon of Stiffkey, Norfolk (1546-November 1622) and Anne Gresham (1549-1594). Elizabeth married Thomas Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk (1560-1605) in 1592. Their marriage settlement led to a case in Chancery years later when Elizabeth’s father claimed that she should have received leases worth £300 from the estate of Sir Thomas Parry, Thomas Knyvett’s maternal grandfather. The judges decided that Thomas’s father would have to make up the jointure out of his own lands. The unpublished 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, lists Anne Bacon Knyvett as being at court in 1602-3 and says she was Anne Cooke Bacon’s niece. This may have been Elizabeth. It was certainly not Anne (see her entry), and both were step-granddaughters of Anne Cooke Bacon, not her nieces. Elizabeth’s children by Thomas Knyvett were Thomas (1596-June 30,1658), Nathaniel, Edmund, John, Ralph, Elizabeth, and Muriel.


Margaret Bacon was the daughter of John Bacon of Cambridgeshire. She was in the household of Princess Mary Tudor in the 1530s. She had been married since about 1505 to Sir William Butts (c.1485-November 22, 1545), one of the royal physicians. They had at least three children, Sir William (c.1506-1583), Thomas, and Edmund. Margaret survived her husband. Portraits: drawing and portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger in which the sitter is said to be age fifty-seven.

DOROTHY BADBY (d. April 16, 1594)
Dorothy Badby was the daughter of William Badby of Essex and was a maid of honor to Catherine of Aragon before she married Sir George Blage or Blagge (1512-June 17,1551) of Stanmore, Middlesex and Dartford, Kent in 1530. After his death, she married Richard Goodrich (Goderick/Goodrick) of Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire and London (d. May 1562), a lawyer and M.P., but there was a scandal involved with this match. In order to remarry in 1552, Goodrich divorced an earlier wife, Mary, daughter of John Blagge of London. After Mary Tudor took the throne and restored Catholicism to England in 1553, Mary Blagge Goodrich sued in the ecclesiastical courts for restitution of her conjugal rights and in chancery for the return of her dowry. Queen Mary’s death and the subsequent change in religion restored the status of Dorothy’s marriage to Goodrich. Goodrich’s will, made on November 14, 1556, left Dorothy a mansion and two houses in Whitefriars next to Fleet Street, London. Dorothy then married Sir Ambrose Jermyn (1503-1577). Her children were Judith (1541-1614), Hester, and Henry (1549-1596) Blagge and Richard and Elizabeth Goodrich. The History of Parliament says Richard and Elizabeth Goodrich were Mary Blagge’s children. Judith, Henry, and Richard Blagge married the children of Sir Ambrose Jermyn by his first wife. In 1580, Sir Robert Jermyn, Judith’s husband, settled Little Horningsheath, Suffolk on Dorothy. It went to her son Henry on her death. The family had strong Puritan leanings.

MABEL BAGENAL (1571-December 1595)
Mabel Bagenal or Bagnal was the daughter of an English father, Sir Nicholas Bagenal (1509-c.1590), marshal of Ireland and a Welsh mother, Eleanor Griffith (d.1573). At the age of twenty, she fell in love with Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone (1551- 1616). Her brother Sir Henry, who had replaced their father as marshal, disapproved of the match, calling it a “traitorous mingling of stock,” and sent Mabel from Newry to their sister, Mary, Lady Barnewall, in Turvey. From there, Mabel eloped with O’Neill, marrying him on August 3, 1591as his third wife. The marriage was tumultuous, and marred by O’Neill’s infidelity and violent nature. Mabel eventually left him and made a public complaint against him. The friction between the two families quickly became the stuff of legend. Mabel has been called the “Helen of Troy of Elizabethan Ireland.” Brian Friel’s 1988 play, Making History, is based on her elopement with O’Neill. In 2011, bones found at Castle Hill, Dungannon, were believed to be Mabel’s and a facial reconstruction was planned to be the centerpiece of a display.


ANNE BAGOT (May 11, 1555-August 30, 1619)
Anne Bagot was the daughter of Richard Bagot of Blithfield (December 8, 1529-February 2, 1596/7) and Mary Saunders (c.1533-1608?). On July 30, 1577, she married Richard Broughton (1524-1606), barrister and Welsh judge. Although she appears to have used an amanuensis to write letters for her, Anne carried on an extensive correspondence, especially with her father and her brother, Walter Bagot (October 26, 1557-March 1, 1622/3). Many of these letters are extant.



ANNE BAKER (1583-1615+)
Anne Baker was the only daughter of John Baker (c.1560-c.1590) and Dorothy Munnings or Monnings (c.1560-1600) of Kent. Anne (also called Jane and Joan) married Simon Forman (1552-September 8, 1611), physician and astrologer, on July 23, 1599. They had two children, Dorothy (b.1605) and Clement (1606-1628+). After Forman’s death, Anne was obliged to testify at the trial of Anne Norton and give up her husband’s notes on his clients. She seems to be identical to the Jane Baker who, on July 6, 1612, married Raphael Neale of Wollaston, Northamptonshire (1584-December 10, 1643) and had a son, James, born in London in 1615. For more details see A. L. Rowse, Sex and Society in Shakespeare’s Age and Judith Cook, Dr. Simon Forman and the entry for Simon Forman in the Oxford DNB.



CECILY BAKER (1525-October 1, 1615)
Cecily Baker was the daughter of Sir John Baker of London and Sissinghurst, Kent (c.1489-December 23,1558), attorney general, chancellor of the exchequer, and speaker of the house of commons, and Elizabeth Digneley (1502-1550). In 1555, she married Thomas Sackville of Buckhurst, Sussex and London (1536-April 19,1608), who was created baron Buckhurst on June 8, 1567 and earl of Dorset in 1604. They had four sons and three daughters: Robert (1561-February 27, 1609), Henry, William (1568-1591), Thomas (May 25, 1571-August 28, 1646), Anne, Jane, and Mary. Sackville left large bequests to Cecily as “a true token and testimony of my unspeakable love, affection, estimation, and reverence, long since fixed and settled in my heart and soul towards her.”

CHRYSOGNA BAKER (1571-August 8, 1616)
Chrysogna (or Chrysogona) Baker was the daughter of Sir Richard Baker of Sissinghurst, Kent (1546-May 27, 1594) and his second wife, Mary Giffard (1551-May 1609). The queen visited Sissinghurst when Chrysogna was two, in 1573. She had a dowry of £2,200 when she married Henry Lennard of Chevening, Kent and Hurstmonceaux Castle, Sussex (April 4, 1569-August 8, 1616) in 1589. He was knighted in 1596 and in 1612 succeeded his mother to become the 12th baron Dacre. Their children were daughters Pembroke (d.1643), Philadelphia, Barbara, and Margaret and sons Richard (April 1596-August 18, 1630), Fynes, and Edward. Portrait: at age six in 1579 (at The Vyne).


ELIZABETH BAKER (d. November 17, 1583)
Elizabeth Baker was the eldest daughter of Sir John Baker of London and Sissinghurst, Kent (c.1489-December 23, 1558), attorney general, chancellor of the exchequer, and speaker of the house of commons, and Elizabeth Digneley (1502-1550). She was the first wife of Thomas Scott of Scot’s Hall, Smeeth, Kent (d.1594) and probably the one who is credited with managing and preserving Romney Marsh. Their children were Thomas, John, Edward, Richard, Reginald, Charles, Robert, Elizabeth, Emelina, Anna, Mary, and six more who are unnamed. Scott was famous for entertaining. Elizabeth was buried in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Brabourne, Kent.

ELIZABETH BAKER (d. January 1606)
Elizabeth Baker was the daughter of John Baker of Cambridge (d.1579+) and Katherine Tylney. Her parents married at some point after 1542. Before her marriage, Katherine Tylney was implicated in Queen Catherine Howard’s disgrace. Elizabeth’s father was the half brother of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury. Elizabeth married Robert Norgate of Aylsham, Norfolk (d. November 2, 1587). He had been appointed as one of Parker’s chaplains by January 1573,when Parker presented him with the rectory of Latchingdon, Essex. It is not clear when Elizabeth and Robert wed, but they were the parents of Edward (1581-1650) and two other sons. Norgate was master of Corpus Christi College at Cambridge from August 1573 until his death. During that time he mismanaged both his own and the college’s finances. At the time he died, he owed about £600 and had assets valued at £86. 6s. 8d. Of this amount, £4. 12s. 8d. was set aside for his wife to provide “a bed for her and her children.” In 1588, Elizabeth married Nicholas Felton of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (August 3, 1563-October 5, 1626), lecturer in Greek at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He raised her sons and they had three, possibly four more sons together, including John (1592-1592), Nicholas (d.1626+), and Robert (d.1626+). Felton was a chaplain to Queen Elizabeth and King James and was at work on translations for the King James Bible when Elizabeth died. She was buried on January 9, 1606 in St. Antholin’s, Budge Row, London, where her husband was rector from April 1592 until he became bishop of Bristol in 1617. He was later bishop of Ely.







CHRISTINE BALDRY (d.1537+) (maiden name unknown)
Christine was the second wife of Thomas Baldry of Ipswich, Suffolk (by 1481-1524/5), a prosperous merchant whose property was valued at 1000 marks in 1524. His will, written on July 18, 1520, was proved May 27, 1525. He left his wife 100 marks in money, 100 marks in plate, 100 marks in good debts, and an annuity of £40. She also received a house and lands and her own plate and jewels “rather better than worse than it was when she and I married.” Christine then married Thomas Rush of Sudbourne, Suffolk (by 1487-1537), a widower. He was also very wealthy, his estate being valued at £1050 at his death. Records show that Christine claimed a flock of 500 sheep and a herd of 20 cows, valued together at £48. They lived at Snape, a manor Rush had leased since 1530.


Alice Baldwin was the daughter of Sir John Baldwin of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire (1468/9-October 24, 1545) and Agnes Dormer (d. before 1518). She became a nun and was elected the last abbess at the Augustinian house at Burnham, Buckinghamshire in 1536. It was dissolved on September 19, 1539, at which time Alice and nine nuns were in residence. She went to live with her father afterward. In his will, dated October 11, 1545 and proved October 27, 1545, she was named his executor. He left her a one third share for life of all he had. Her will, proved on March 2, 1546, specified that a marble tomb to her parents and their children be erected in Aylesbury church. This was done, but the monument no longer exists.



ELIZABETH BALL (1585-September 28, 1659)
Elizabeth Ball was the youngest of several children of Nicholas Ball (d. March 1586), merchant of Totnes, Devon, and Ann Cary (1564-1611). Her mother’s second husband was Thomas Bodley (March 2, 1545-January 29, 1613), to whom she was married on July 19, 1586. Bodley was English resident in the Hague from 1588-97. Elizabeth’s mother was with him during that time. Elizabeth’s whereabouts are not known, nor are the fates of her siblings. In July 1603, Elizabeth married Sir Ralph Winwood of Ditton Park, Buckinghamshire (1562/3-October 28, 1617) and went with him to the Hague, where he had succeeded to Bodley’s former post. They spent most of their time in Holland until after 1613. Their children were Richard (d.1688), Anne (d.1642). Frederick, Henry, and one other daughter. In London, the Winwood home was Mordant House in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Less, Smithfield. Elizabeth’s stepfather, Sir Thomas Bodley, died while staying with them there. Sir Ralph’s last years were marred by the scandal surrounding the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in 1612 (see FRANCES HOWARD) and he was blamed, after his death, for encouraging Sir Walter Raleigh to take up piracy after his release from the Tower. For details of Winwood’s career, see his entry in the Oxford DNB. His widow outlived him by more than forty years. In 1630, she purchased a grant in fee of Ditton Park. Two years later, her eldest son purchased the manor outright.

EMMA BALL (d.1592+)
That Emma Ball was a prostitute and probably the sister of a cutpurse known as “Cutting” Ball seems to be established. Her connection to two famous men, however, is open to interpretation. An Em Ball had a house in Holywell Street in Shoreditch and may have shared it with comedian Richard Tarleton (1530-September 3, 1588) at the end of his life. Others sources say he simply took refuge with her when he fell ill. Either way, he died there and she is described as “a woman of very bad reputation” in 1588. Tarleton had married Thomasyn Dunn in Chelmsford on February 11, 1577 and they had a son, Philip (b.1582). Thomasyn was buried in St. Martin’s, Ludgate on December 23, 1585. Emma Ball is probably the same woman of ill repute who later lived with playwright and prose writer Robert Greene (1558-September 3, 1592). If not Emma, then this was a close relative. Stories about Greene’s debauchery may have been exaggerated after his death by fellow writer Gabriel Harvey. Harvey is the source of the story that Greene and Emma had a son named Infortunatus. A Fortunatus Greene was buried in St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch on August 12, 1593. It is probable that Harvey used the name as a tasteless jest. Greene also had a wife, Dorothy (Doll), who survived him.

MARY BALLS (1575-1631)
Mary Balls was the daughter of William Balls of Hadleigh, Suffolk. Her fame comes from her marriage to Theodore Paleologus (c.1560-1636), who claimed descent from the emperors of Byzantium, the last of whom was deposed in 1453. In 1597 he was hired to assassinate an Italian living in England. He failed to do so and stayed on, eventually ending up in the service of the 2nd earl of Lincoln. A recent biography of Paleologus, An Elizabethan Assassin by John Hall, debunks several long-held beliefs: that Paleologus married a Byzantine lady, a story that dates from the 1860s; that he married Mary in 1591 or in 1617; and that Mary was a member of the gentry. William Balls appears to have been of the merchant class. It is not clear how Mary met her future husband, but she was only some six weeks short of giving birth when they married in the church of St. Mary in Cottingham, East Yorkshire on May 1, 1600. Their first child, a son named Theodore, was baptized on June 12 and died on September 1, 1600. After that, Paleologus appears to have been absent, possibly abroad, possibly to avoid being questioned regarding charges that the earl of Lincoln intended to have Paleologus assassinate his countess (see ELIZABETH MORISON). Paleologus had returned to England by late 1605 and the couple had a second child, Dorothy (1606-1681), who was baptized at Tattershall, Lincolnshire on August 18, 1606. Their other children to survive to adulthood were Theodore (1609-1644), John (bp. July 11, 1611), Mary (d.1674), and Ferdinand (1619-1670). Ferdinand was born in Plymouth, Devon, where the family lived throughout the 1620s. Mary was buried in St. Andrew’s, Plymouth on November 24, 1631. It was after that date that her husband moved to Cornwall, where he is buried. In 1820, Mary was immortalized by Nathan Drake in “Mary of Hadleigh,” a ballad with thirty-one verses that presents a highhly fictionalized account of her romance with Paleologus.

Dorothy Bampfield was the daughter of Sir Amias Bampfield of Poltimore and South (or North—sources vary) Molton, Devonshire (c.1560-1626) and Elizabeth Clifford and married Edward Hancock of Combe Martin and Exeter, Devon (c.1560-July 1603), who committed suicide after the fall of Sir Walter Raleigh, in whose service he had been since c.1590. On November 4, 1603, Dorothy was granted administration of the estate. Her second husband was Sir John Dodderidge/Doddridge/Dodderridge of Barnstaple, Devon (1555-1628), judge in the Court of the King’s Bench and it is as Lady Dodderidge that she is immortalized in the Lady Dodderidge Chapel in Exeter Cathedral. Her children were William Hancock (d.1625) and a son by Dodderidge who died before 1628. Portrait: effigy.




Katherine Banks was the daughter of Thomas Banks (c.1538-c.1598), a London barber-surgeon, and his wife Joan. She married first Bartholomew Soame (d.1596), a girdler of the parish of St. Mary Colechurch and second, in 1599, Thomas Barnardiston of Kediston, Suffolk (d. July 29, 1610). With her second husband and stepchildren, Katherine lived at Witham Place, Essex. In 1612, Katherine married a lawyer, William Towse (c.1551-1634), but since her second husband had been knighted, she continued to be known as Lady Barnardiston. She apparently had no children of her own from any of her marriages and devoted herself to the promotion of Puritanism, assisting clergymen of that persuasion. She wrote her will on February 25 and it was proved on March 19, 1633. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Barnardiston [née Banks], Katherine.” Portraits: effigy in St. Peter and Paul, Kedington; portrait painted after the monument.

THOMASIN BARDFIELD (d. January 13, 1568/9)
Thomasin Bardfield (Bardfeld/Bradfield) was the daughter of Thomas Bardfield of Shenfield, Essex. After the death of the last male heir of her uncle, John Bardfield (d.1497) in about 1514, she and her sister Margaret inherited his estate, including Margaretting, Essex. By then Thomasin was married to William Daniell of London. After his death, she married John Kekewich of Catchfrench (or Hatchfrench), Cornwall (d. October 31, 1541). They lived primarily in Essex but also had a town house in the parish of St. Mary le Strand, London by 1539. They had three children: George (1530-1582) and two daughter daughters who were both of marriageable age c.1542 when Thomasin took a third husband, Oliver Hyde of Banbury Court, Abingdon, Berkshire (c.1518-February 9, 1566), a man considerably her junior. One of her daughters then married Hyde’s younger brother, John Hyde. Thomasin brought a fortune to her third marriage, which Hyde used to buy the manor of Maiden Erlegh near Sonning, Berkshire in 1545 and the manor of Fulbrook near Burford, Oxfordshire in 1548. His entry in the History of Parliament describes Thomasin as “a woman of strong character, well able to defend her property in and out of the law courts.” With her third husband, Thomasin is commemorated on a memorial tablet in St. Helen’s parish church in Abingdon.



ALICE BARKER (c.1525-1604)
Alice Barker was the daughter of John Barker, alias Coverdale, of Wolverton, Shropshire and Elizabeth Hill, and the niece of Sir Rowland Hill of Longborough, Gloucestershire (d.1561), Lord Mayor of London in 1549. Most of Sir Rowland’s estate was entailed on Alice at her marriage in 1533 to Sir Thomas Leigh of Stoneleigh, Warwickshire (1504-November 17, 1571), a stapler and mercer who was Lord Mayor of London in 1558-9, to be inherited by their eldest son. The Oxford DNB entry for Leigh calls her Alice Coverdale. The Leighs had nine children: Rowland (d.1603) Isabel, Sir Thomas (d. February 1, 1625), Alice (d.1613), Sir William, Mary, Catherine, Richard (d.1570), and (possibly) Winifred (d.1621). The earl of Leicester stayed at Stoneleigh in August 1565. Leigh wrote his will on December 20, 1570. His widow remained at Stoneleigh, where she died a few months after her eldest son (see his entry in the History of Parliament). According to Anne F. Sutton, The Mercery of London, Appendix 2, Alice established almshouses at Stoneleigh in 1576.

ANNE BARKER (d. September 21, 1585)
Anne Barker was the only child of William Barker of Sonning, Berkshire and Chiswick, Middlesex (d. September 18, 1549), steward to the bishop of Salisbury, and Anne Throckmorton (d.1551+). The family lived at Holme Park in Sonning, a property owned by the bishop. In records at Sonning, Anne’s first husband is identified as one “Bridon of Ipswich,” but it seems likely that this was actually William Brydges (Bridges/Bruggs), younger brother of Sir John Brydges (1492-1557), who was created Lord Chandos in 1554. In a letter from T. Cantuarien to Thomas Cromwell, dated March 14, 1538, there is an account of how this Anne’s marriage to William came about. It appears that she was betrothed to one Simon Cornethwaite but chose to elope with Brydges instead. Here is what Cantuarien writes:
Symone Cornethwaite, dwelling with Lord Russell, did sue a cause of matrimony in the [court of] Arches against one Anne Barker, daughter of William Barker of Cheswicke, and brought the mother, and divers other witnesses, with the confession of the maid, to justify his intent; and then the maid was sequestered, lest any violence should be used toward her, unto the house of master Vaghan [Vaughan?] in Chepe side; and in very deed at the special request of my lord of Sussex, I heard the matter myself one day at Lambeth, and thought it necessary that this maid should continue still in the sequestration till the matter were tried. And this suit, depending, one William Bridges, brother to Sir John Bridges, took out the maid from sequestration and married her before day without any banns asked or any license or dispensation obtained, and in the time forbidden within three days afore Christmas last, and hath ever since lien by her, and keeps her in a secret corner in master Ambrose Barker’s house; and she is declared accurst for violating of the sequestration, and is so denounced at Paul’s Cross and at diverse other places, and so hath continued forty days, and this notwithstanding, he keeps her still, more like a rebellion than an obedient subject to the laws and good order of this realm; and swears great oaths that he will keep her in spite of any man. Now my desire is, for the zeal I do know that you bear unto justice and the evitation (sic) of notorious sin, it may please you to send for the said William Bridges by privy seal or otherwise, commanding him to bring the woman with him: and then you to sequester her to some honest indifferent house, till the matter be tried whose wife she is; and otherwise to correct him for his misdemeanor in this behalf, as shall be thought good to your lordship. In which doing, I doubt not but you shall please God highly.
Apparently the marriage was allowed to stand because it is as “my daughter Ann Bruggs” that she is mentioned in the will her father wrote on August 18, 1549 (proved June 4, 1551). He left all his plate to Anne and her mother. Anne is also mentioned in the wills of two of her uncles, Anthony Barker, vicar of Sonning (written August 4, 1551; proved June 20, 1553) and John Barker (written August 25, 1551; proved May 11, 1552). Anthony calls her “my cosyn Anne Bridges” but since he then mentions “my cosyn Anne Barker my brother John’s daughter” we may safely assume he used the word “cosyn” to mean niece. John Barker left a bequest to “sister Ann Barker, late wife of brother William and to my cosyn Bridge her daughter.” As her second husband, Anne married William Staverton of Wokingham, Berkshire c. 1555. They had four sons: Francis, William, George, and John. She was buried in St. Michael’s, Sonning where her effigy in brass is set into a slab of blue marble. It is inscribed “A friend to the widow, fatherless, sick and poor.”


ELIZABETH BARKER (d. January 12, 1594)
Elizabeth Barker was the daugher of Nicholas Barker of Sonning, Berkshire, Saffron Walden, Essex, and London, an armorer. In 1547, she married Leonard Barker (d.1551), a mercer. She had two children by Barker, Leonard and Thomas (d.1555). Barker left an estate valued at over £1000 and she received “a convenient sum of money” when he died—the third she was entitled to as his widow, half of what remained of another third after his debts were paid, and the lease of their dwelling-house in Ironmonger Lane and other London properties. By her marriage on October 6, 1552 to John Isham (1525-March 17, 1595/6), a mercer and Merchant Adventurer, she forfeited three tenements in the parish of St. Michael, Bassishaw, a tenement in White Hart Street, and the lease of a tenement in Ironmonger Lane to her sons, but all her sons’ property, in turn, would be managed by her new husband for many years afterward. In 1560, Isham bought Lamport, Northamptonshire, which was to become the family’s country seat. Elizabeth bore her second husband eight children: Thomas (September 11, 1555-December 3, 1605), Anne (1558-1584), Elizabeth (1560-1584), Henry (1561-1628), and Richard (1565-1618), and Christopher, Euseby, and Robert, who died young.

KATHERINE BARKER (1553-January 17, 1630)
Katherine Barker was the second daughter of William Barker of Sonning, Berkshire (c.1540-1575) and Anne Stoughton (d.1575+). Her first husband was William Yonge of Basildon, Berkshire (d.1584). They had a son, William (d.1618). She then married her cousin, Sir Christopher Lidcottt or Litcott (d.1599). In 1605, she surrendered the manor of Basildon to her son, to be settled on herself. In 1615, she made a further settlement of it on her daughter-in-law Anne (née Paulet). In 1622, she gave a rent charge of £5/year to the poor of Basildon. Her second widowhood lasted more than thirty years. She was buried in Sonning Church. The text beneath her effigy identifies her as formerly being of St. Sepulchre’s parish, London. Portrait: effigy

ANNE BARLEE (d.1558)
The details in this entry are taken primarily from W. H. Challen’s “Lady Anne Grey” in the January 1963 Notes and Queries, in which he sorts out the marriages of Anne Jerningham and Anne Barlee, both of whom were entitled to use the name Lady Anne Grey. Anne Barlee (Barley, Barlow, Barlie, Barleigh) was the daughter of William Barlee of Albury, Herfordshire (c.1451-1521) and Elizabeth Darcy. She was married three times and in each case was her husband’s second wife. Her first husband was Sir Robert Sheffield of Butterwick, Lincolnshire (d.1519). Her second was Sir John Grey, son of the first Marquis of Dorset, and she is the “Lady Grey, Lord John’s Wife” who attended the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. His date of death is unknown, but since he is mentioned in his mother’s will in 1528, he was apparently still alive then. The will of the second Marquis of Dorset in 1530, clearly identifies Anne as “my sister Lady Anne Grey, wife to my brother John Lord Grey and now wife to Richard Clemente,” but Collins’ Peerage listed her as the daughter of the first Marquis of Dorset and this mistake has been repeated ever since. Her third husband was Sir Richard Clement of Ightham Mote, Kent (d.1538). His will was proved December 2, 1538. His widow’s will is dated October 1, 1557 and was proved May 7, 1558. She asked to be buried at Albury with a tomb of marble or white alabaster.


Dorothy Barley was the daughter of William Barlee (Barley, Barlow, Barlie, Barliegh) of Albury, Hertfordshire (c.1451-1521) and Elizabeth Darcy. She became a nun and eventually was elected abbess of Barking in Essex. In his will, her brother Henry (1487-1529) left her a doublet and 40s. She used her influence to make the surrender of the nunnery as painless as possible. She was a personal friend of Sir William Petre, who received the deed of surrender. She had been godmother to his daughter in 1535 and his sister-in-law was one of her nuns. Dorothy’s pension was a generous one of £133 13s. 4d., one of the two largest awarded to the head of a nunnery.

Elizabeth Barley was the daughter of William Barley of Aspenden, Hertfordshire. She became the third wife of Sir Ralph Jocelyn of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire (d. October 25, 1478), a draper who was Lord Mayor of London in 1464-5 and again in 1476-7. In 1450, he bought Aspenden Hall. After his death, Elizabeth was left a wealthy widow and had many suitors. She chose to marry Sir Robert Clifford of Brakenborough (c.1448-1508), third son of Thomas, 8th baron Clifford. He was a supporter of Perkin Warbeck. In her second widowhood, Elizabeth erected the South Porch of the church at Aspenden, Hertfordshire and carved the arms of her two husbands on it. Portraits: with both husbands and two sons and two daughters by Clifford on a brass in Aspenden; with both husbands in a stained glass window in Long Melford, Suffolk.

Elizabeth Barley was the daughter of Henry Barley of Albury (1487-November 12, 1529). Her mother was either Elizabeth Northwood (d. before 1517) or Anne Jerningham (d. April 1559). She married Edward Leventhorpe of Shingey Hall, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire (1514-1551). They were the parents of a second Edward (c.1535-October 8, 1566), who in his will left instructions for a marble slab to be put over his father’s grave. This was not engraved until the end of the century and the epitaph was composed by their grandson. There is some evidence to suggest that Elizabeth and Edward were divorced by 1543. Accounts for that year include expenses toward that end. However, at that time there was no true divorce under English law. Essentially a couple could legally separate but neither could remarry while the other lived. It is also possible that it was someone else in the family who was attempting to secure a divorce. After her first husband’s death, Elizabeth married Edward Brocket (d.1584).


FRANCES BARLOW (c.1551-May 8, 1629)
One of five sisters all married to bishops, Frances Barlow was the daughter of William Barlow (c.1500-August 13, 1568), Bishop of Chichester, and Agatha Wellesbourne (c.1505-June 13, 1595). She married Matthew Parker (September 1, 1551-December 1574), the son of Archbishop Parker, and is listed as part of the Parker household in Lambeth in 1566. After his death she went to live with her sister, Elizabeth Barlow Day at Eton and there gave birth to a son, Matthew (July 1575-1576). In early 1577, Frances wed Tobie Matthew (1544-March 29, 1628), chaplain to the queen and later Archbishop of York, by whom she had three sons and two daughters. Those who survived infancy were Tobie (October 1577-1655), John (b.1580), and Samuel (d.1601).When Archbishop Matthew died, she donated his library of over 3000 books, said to be the largest private library in England, to the Cathedral at York. Their eldest son, Sir Tobie, fell out with his parents in 1604 when he announced that he intended to go to Rome. Fearing he would be seduced by Catholicism, Frances offered to settle her fortune on him if he would change his mind. He refused, and her worst fear came to pass. Although the younger Tobie Matthew was reconciled with his father in 1623, Frances never forgave him for becoming a Roman Catholic. After her death, Sir Tobie wrote that “she went out of the world calling for her silkes and toyes and trinketts, more like an ignorant childe or foure yeares than like a talking scripturist of almost fourscore.” Fuller’s Church History, however, memorializes her as a “prudent and provident matron.” Frances also fell out with her son John and, having already established a reputation in Durham for the education of young girls, she took over the upbringing of his two daughters, Frances and Dorcas. Her cash bequests in her will exceeded £2500. Biography: Peter Sherlock, “Monuments, Reputation and Clerical Marriage in Reformation England: Bishop Barlow’s Daughters,” Gender and History, Vol. 16, No. 1 (April 2004) pp. 57-83; Oxford DNB entry under “Matthew [née Barlow; other married name Parker], Frances.” Portrait: effigy on monument, York Minster.

MARGARET BARLOW (1515-January 19, 1559)
Margaret Barlow was the daughter of Ellis Barlow of Barlow, Chorlton, Lancashire and Anne Reddish. In 1547, she married Edward Stanley, 3rd earl of Derby (May 10, 1508-October 24, 1572) as his third of four wives. According to the History of Parliament entry for her stepson, Sir Thomas Stanley, she was a devout Catholic who referred to him as “the good Stanley” for his adherence to that faith. I have not been able to confirm this and question whether it was Margaret or her successor who made this remark. When Sir Thomas took a stand in 1571, his father was married to but separated from his fourth wife, Mary Cotton (see her entry). Margaret was buried on February 24, 1559 at Ormskirk.







ANNE BARNE (d.1564)
Anne Barne was the daughter of Sir George Barne (d. February 18, 1558), a haberdasher who was Lord Mayor of London in 1552-3, and Alice Brooke (1504-June 2, 1559). Her father was a founding member of the Muscovy (Russia) Company and active in promoting voyages of exploration. Anne married Alexander Carleill (d.1561), another founding member of the Muscovy Company and Master of the Vintner’s company in 1561, by whom she had Christopher (d.1560), Elizabeth, Anne, Alice (c.1535-1602) and a second Christopher (c.1551-November 11,1593). Carleill left the Sign of the Saracen’s Head in Bagshot and a house in the parish of St. Michael’s in London to Anne, with reversion to their son. In 1562 (Rachel Lloyd in Elizabethan Adventurer, A Life of Captain Christopher Carleill, says 1564), Anne married Francis Walsingham. The couple leased the manor of Parkerbury, near St. Albans in Hertfordshire, where Walsingham served as a justice of the peace. They had no children. Anne made her will in July 1564 and died within four months. She left her husband £100 and the custody of her son Christopher, asking that he be “virtuously brought up in learning and knowledge.” She left bequests of clothing to each of her sisters-in-law: a damask gown and a kirtle of satin to Christiana Walsingham, a pair of sables to Elizabeth Walsingham, and a purse of purple silk and gold to Mary Walsingham. Other bequests included a feather bed with bolster, blankets, a needlework valence, and curtains of red and green sarsenet, a diamond, a “book of gold” with a chain, and sums to purchase remembrance rings.

Elizabeth Barne was the daughter of George Barne (d. February 18, 1558), a member of the Muscovy Company who was Lord Mayor of London in 1552-3, and Alice Brooke (1504-June 2, 1559). In 1540, she married John Rivers of Fishall (c.1500-1583/4), a grocer who was Lord Mayor of London in 1573-4. They lived at Chafford House, near Penshurst, Kent and had a house in Tonbridge. Their children were George, John, Henry, Richard, William, Edward, Alice, Elizabeth, and Dorothy (or Dorcas). Since Rivers’s will mentions Elizabeth, she appears to have survived him. Portrait: effigy on monument in St. Mary’s Church, Hadlow, Kent.

Elizabeth Barnefelde was the second wife of Sir Thomas Frowyck of Finchley, Middlesex (1462-October 17, 1506), chief justice of common pleas. Sir Thomas was executor of the estate of his brother, Sir Henry Frowyck, in 1505. Sir Henry left Elizabeth 100s. “to be a good lady and aunt” to his two sons and three daughters. In 1506, Sir Thomas assigned the boys’ wardships to his wife. Together with Thomas Jakes (c.1466-1514), a justice of the peace for Middlesex, Elizabeth was executor of Sir Thomas’s estate. Elizabeth then married Jakes, who wrote his will on January 20, 1512. It was proved July 18, 1514 and once again Elizabeth was named executor. Somewhere along the line there were difficulties over the guardianship of Sir Henry Frowyck’s two sons, Thomas and Henry. Elizabeth and her successive husbands apparently arranged marriages for them without going through the proper channels. On August 16, 1515, Elizabeth Jakes, alias Frowyck, was granted a pardon by the king for  the abduction, as it was called, of Sir Henry’s sons, and granted a release from all fines for their marriage. Elizabeth’s will was made on December 1, 1515 and proved February 4, 1515/16. She had no children of her own and left the bulk of her estate to her stepdaughter, Frideswide Frowyck (c.1498-c.1528/9), daughter of Frowyck’s first wife, Joan Bardvil (c.1468-before 1500). Frideswide was already married to Sir Thomas Cheyne of Shurland. Also provided for in Elizabeth’s will is Sir Henry Frowyck’s daughter, Elizabeth, to whom she left the bed she slept in, clothes, and a gold chain. This Elizabeth was married to John Spelman. They had seven daughters and thirteen sons and Lady Frowyck was godmother to one of their daughters, to whom she left £20, a silver and gilt cup with a cover, two tablecloths, and a ring. Other smaller bequests went to a sister-in-law, Dame Isabel Haute/Hawte, and to Isabel’s daughter Elizabeth.


GRISELDA BARNES (1559-November 1, 1589)
Griselda Barnes (Barne/Barneis/Berners) was the daughter of William Barnes of Fryerning and Thoby, Essex (by 1533-July 14, 1559) and Elizabeth Eden. Her parents married in 1556. Her father’s will, dated July 7, 1559, entrusted the care of his sister, Elizabeth, to his neighbor, Lady Petre of Ingatestone Hall (see ANNE BROWNE) and Sir William Petre subsequently acquired the wardships of both Griselda and her brother Thomas (d.February 1561). She was treated as if she was Sir William’s daughter and one account even lists a Griselda as one of the Petre children. Griselda married Thomas Baker (1540-1625), a younger son of Richard Baker of Sissinghurst, Kent. They had a son, Richard, born in 1578 and aged eleven when his mother died. The Bakers were Catholics and probably built the two hiding places at Fryerning Hall. In about 1588, Griselda brought suit against Mary Berners/Barnes (née Gedge) over Mary’s dower lands, including Thoby and Fryerning. Griselda’s Inquisition Post Mortem indicates that at the time of her death she held twenty messuages, four mills, five tofts, twenty cottages, 150 acres of arable land, 300 acres of meadow, and 500 acres of pasture.



MARY BARNES (d. May 13, 1605)
Mary Barnes was the daughter of William Barnes of London and the sister and coheir of John Barnes, porter of the town and castle of Guisnes. In January 1547/8, she married William Dunch (c.1508-May 11, 1597). He bought Little Wittenham manor, four miles from Wallingford, and other properties in Berkshire in 1552. They had two sons, Edmund (c.1551-November 12, 1623) and Walter (c.1552-June 4, 1594). In his will, dated July 12, 1596 and proved three weeks after his death, William left £40 to buy plate and a diamond ring for the queen. Portrait: memorial brass in Little Wittenham Church.







JOYCE BARRETT (1516-1580)
Joyce Barrett was the daughter of John Barrett (or Belhus) of Aveley, Essex. By 1543, she married Sir James Wilford of Hartridge and Cranbrooke, Kent (d.1550). They had one son, Thomas, and two daughters. Wilford was wounded and taken prisoner in 1549 during military action in Scotland. When he made his will on November 18, 1550, he was “weak, feeble, and sick in body” and they were living in the Crutched Friars, London, at a house belonging to Sir Thomas Wyatt. Joyce was one of the executors of the will. By 1552, she married Thomas Stanley of Standon, Hertfordshire, Dalegarth, Cumberland, and London (c.1512-1571), a goldsmith and assay master of the Tower Mint. On July 1, 1553, he obtained the wardship of her son, Thomas Wilford. Together they had one daughter, Mary (d.1611+). Portrait: at 50 in 1566, artist unknown.






There is an intriguing mention in Remembrancia AD 1579-1664 (1878), edited by W. H. Overall and H. C. Overall, of one Agnes Bartlett and her father. Fourteen butcher stalls were bequeathed to them but not transferred. Two ladies in waiting to Queen Elizabeth took up the cause in 1595, complaining to the Lord Mayor

ELIZABETH BARTON (c.1506-x.April 20, 1534)
Elizabeth Barton, known as the Nun of Kent, was born at Adlington and was a servant to one Thomas Cobb, a steward employed by William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury. She fell ill in 1525 and when she recovered she believed she could talk to angels. A monk, Edward Bocking, was sent to investigate. Either he believed her trances to be genuine, or he saw an opportunity to exploit the situation. He arranged for Elizabeth to be admitted to the convent of St. Sepulcher at Canterbury as a postulant in 1526. She took her final vows the following year. At St. Sepulcher both her fame and the wealth of the convent increased. When Henry VIII began to contemplate divorcing Catherine of Aragon, Bocking used Elizabeth to stir up trouble. Granted an audience with the king, she warned him against putting his wife aside. When he did not heed her advice, she began to say, in public, that if the king married Anne Boleyn, he would die within a month. She was arrested in July 1533 on a charge of treason and taken to the Tower of London. All copies of an account of her early life and of writings about her by her admirers, as well as 700 copies of a newly printed volume of her prophecies called The Nuns Book, were seized and destroyed. Under the questioning of Thomas Cranmer, Elizabeth broke down, no longer sure of the validity of her visions. On November 23, 1533, she made a public confession at Paul’s Cross. Denounced as a harlot as well as a fraud, she was attainted for high treason and executed at Tyburn. Biography: Alan Neame, The Holy Maid of Kent; Oxford DNB entry under “Barton, Elizabeth”; Elizabeth Norton’s The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women.


ELIZABETH BARTON (d.1543) (maiden name unknown)
Elizabeth Barton, widow, made her will on September 30, 1543. It was proved October 10. At the time of her death, she was resident in the parish of St. Leonard, Shoreditch and was a servant to “the right honorable Ladye Semer. ” This was Mary, widow of Sir Thomas Semer or Seymour (see MARY SEYMOUR), a mercer who had been Lord Mayor of London in 1526/7. Elizabeth was married at least twice. Her surviving children were William, Thomas, and Philip Starlyng and George and Anne Barton. Anne was a servant of Joan Spicer and Joan was to have charge of her inheritance until Anne was old enough to inherit, and also to control what Elizabeth left to George Barton “until suche tyme as he do come home.” The will does not say where he was, but one presumes he had gone abroad. To her “suster Fysher” she left a pair of black beads and clothing. She also left bequests to Goodwife Byfyld, Margaret Edwardes, and Elizabeth White and noted that Lady Askew (see ELIZABETH HUTTON) owed her £20, which is quite a significant sum considering that the inventory of her goods and chattels, made on October 8, 1543, only totaled £14 6s. 2d. The most expensive item was a “a gowne of browne blew lyned wythe russelles worsted” worth 20s. She also had £9 in “redye monye” and owned a total of three gowns, two kirtles, two petticoats, three white caps, two partlets, nine rails, nine kerchers, and six smocks, a considerable wardrobe for someone in service, which suggests that she was a waiting gentlewoman rather than a simple maidservant.

ELIZABETH BARWICK (c.1530-June 3,1569)
Elizabeth Barwick was the daughter of William Barwick and Elizabeth or Edith Cornwallis. On February 9, 1551, she married Robert Suckling (1520-October 1590), a mercer who was Lord Mayor of Norwich in 1572. She was the mother of four sons and five daughters, including Edmund, Dean of Norwich, Sir John Suckling (1569-March 27, 1627), and Maud (c.1566-May 10, 1633). Portrait: alabaster effigy on tomb in St. Andrew’s Church, Norwich, erected by her son, Sir John, in the early 17thcentury.

Margaret Basforth of Thornsby was a nun before the monasteries were dissolved. Afterward, she married Roger Newstead. When Mary Tudor became queen, however, and ex-religious were forbidden to marry, the two were forced to separate. Margaret was ordered never to speak to him again except in the company of others. After Queen Mary’s death, Margaret returned to her husband.




EMILIA BASSANO (1569-1645)
The argument that Emilia Bassano is the Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets was first advanced by Dr. A. L. Rowse in several of his books (Shakespeare the Man, 1973; Sex and Society in Shakespeare’s Age, 1974; Shakespeare the Elizabethan, 1977). Other scholars, notably Susanne Woods in Lanyer: A Renaissance Woman Poet, disagree with Rowse’s theory. Personally, I think Rowse’s reasoning makes sense, so I include his conclusions in what follows. Emilia Bassano was the illegitimate daughter of Baptista Bassano (d. April 10, 1576), a court musician, and Margaret Johnson (d.1587). She entered the service of Susan Bertie, countess of Kent, and it is possible that is how she met Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon (1524-1596). She became his mistress. Her son, Henry (1592-1633), probably Hunsdon’s child, was born after she married Alphonso Lanier (1573-1613), another musician, at St. Botolph Aldgate on October 10, 1592. Rowse dates Emilia’s involvement with Shakespeare, and with the earl of Southampton, just after this. Rowse maintains that this same Emilia, from 1597 until 1600, also had a sexual relationship with Simon Forman the astrologer. Forman’s records tell us that Emilia had several miscarriages and parish records reveal a daughter, Odillia (1598-99). Sometime in the early 1600s, Emilia spent time at Cookham, home of Margaret Russell, countess of Cumberland. Whether she was there as a servant or a guest is unclear. In 1609, Shakespeare’s sonnets were published for the first time. By then, Emilia had apparently developed Puritan leanings. In 1611 there appeared in print a feminist, religious poem consisting of 230 eight-line stanzas, prefaced by eleven metrical addresses to various great ladies, titled Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum. The author was identified as the wife of Alphonso Lanier. The text of this poem can be found online. Emilia was buried on April 3, 1645 in St. James, Clerkenwell. Biographies: an article in Margaret Hannay, ed., Silent but for the Word; two essays in David Lasocki and Roger Prior, The Bassanos:Venetian Musicians and Instrument Makers in England 1551-1665; Oxford DNB entry under Lanier [née Bassano], Emilia.” Portraits: two copies of a portrait miniature by Nicholas Hilliard in 1593, formerly identified as “Mrs. Holland,” may portray Emilia Bassano.

ANNE BASSETT (c.1521-before June 7, 1557)
Anne Bassett was the third daughter of Sir John Bassett (1462-January 21, 1528) and his second wife, Honor Grenville (c.1494-April 1566). Her stepfather, Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, was Lord Deputy of Calais and Anne was sent to a French family to be educated. In 1537 she obtained a post at court as one of Queen Jane Seymour’s six maids of honor, having been told in 1536 that, at fifteen, she was too young for the post. At the queen’s death, she was placed in the household of her cousin, Mary Arundell, countess of Sussex, to await the king’s next marriage. Later she resided with Peter Mewtas and his wife (Jane Asteley) and then with a distant cousin, Anthony Denny, and his wife (Joan Champernowne). The king took a particular interest in her, at one point giving her a gift of a horse and saddle. Upon his marriage to Anne of Cleves, Anne Bassett resumed her position as a maid of honor and she also held this post under Catherine Howard. After that queen’s disgrace, Anne was particularly provided for because at the time her stepfather, mother, and two sisters were being held in connection with a treasonous plot to turn Calais over to England’s enemies. This does not seem to have affected the king’s feelings for Anne. At a banquet held a short time later, she was one of three ladies to whom he paid particular attention and there was speculation that Anne Bassett might be wife number six. When King Henry chose Katherine Parr instead, Anne resumed her role as maid of honor. She left court during the reign of Edward VI with an annuity of forty marks for her service to Katherine Parr but returned as a lady of the privy chamber in 1553 when Mary Tudor took the throne. On June 11, 1554, Anne married Walter Hungerford of Farleigh (c.1526-1596) in the queen’s chapel at Richmond. The queen granted Anne a number of Hungerford properties lost when Walter’s father was attainted in 1540. Walter was knighted later that year. They had two sons who died young. Biography: Anne’s story is told and some of her correspondence reprinted in M. St. Clare Byrne’s The Lisle Letters.

CATHERINE BASSETT (c.1517-1558+)
The second daughter of Sir John Bassett (1462-January 2, 1528) and his second wife, Honor Grenville (c.1494-April 1566), Catherine was in competition with her younger sister, Anne Bassett, for one opening among Jane Seymour’s maids of honor. When Anne was chosen, Catherine joined the household of Eleanor Paston, countess of Rutland. There was some talk of placing her with Catherine Willoughby, duchess of Suffolk or Ann Stanhope, countess of Hertford, but Catherine apparently preferred Lady Rutland. Efforts continued to be made to win a position for her as a maid of honor but it was not until Anne of Cleves was no longer queen that Catherine was placed in her household. It was there, in 1541, that she got into trouble for wondering aloud how many wives the king would have. On December 8, 1547 she married Henry Ashley of Hever, Kent and Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset (c.1519-December 27, 1588). They had two sons, including Henry (1548-1605+), and probably a daughter, Margaret. After that, nothing is heard of Catherine Bassett. She was still alive in 1558 and had died before 1588, but exactly when or where is unknown. Biography: More details are given in M. St. Clare Byrne’s The Lisle Letters.

ELIZABETH BASSETT (1599-April 17, 1643)
Elizabeth Bassett was the daughter of William Bassett of Blore, Staffordshire (August 18, 1551-December 9, 1601) and Judith Austin or Ostern. Upon her father’s death she became a ward of the Crown. Her wardship was sold to Henry, Lord Cobham, who in turn sold it to Sir Walter Raleigh. At age four, Elizabeth was betrothed to Walter Raleigh, age ten. At the same time, an agreement was reached to return her custody to her mother until she was sixteen years old. This cost her mother an annual payment of £40 until Elizabeth was ten and after that 100 marks per annum. In 1603, however, both Cobham and Raleigh were attainted for treason and the wardship reverted to the Crown. In 1605, her mother was still trying unsuccessfully to acquire it for herself. Elizabeth married Henry Howard (c.1589-October 10, 1616), third son of the earl of Suffolk, in 1614. They had three children, James (October-December 1614), another son who died young, and a daughter, Catherine, born after her father died “suddenly at table” at Blore Hall in Staffordshire. A monument in the Bassett Chapel in St. Bartholomew’s Church in Blore was commissioned by Elizabeth’s mother and contains alabaster effigies of Elizabeth’s parents, Elizabeth and her husband, and their daughter. Their sons are represented by two caskets.In October 1618, Elizabeth remarried, taking as her second husband Sir William Cavendish (1593-1676). He was created earl of Newcastle in 1628. They had ten children. They entertained both King James and King Charles. Their houses at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire and Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire were famous as gathering places for writers, artists, and musicians. Portraits: by William Larkin, c.1614-1618; by Daniel Mytens, 1624; effigy at Blore.




JANE BASSETT (c.1485-1537+)
Jane Bassett was probably the eldest of the four daughters of Sir John Bassett of Umberleigh, Devonshire (1462-January 31, 1528) by his first wife, Elizabeth Dennis (d. before 1515). In spite of the claim in Mary Anne Everett Green’s Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies, Jane was not betrothed, on December 11, 1504, to Henry, son and heir of Giles Daubeney, later earl of Bridgewater, nor were extensive lands settled upon her. Her sisters, Anne and Thomasine, were sent to live in the Daubeney household and the plan was for one of them to eventually marry Henry Daubeney, who at that time was ten years old. Daubeney’s death four years later was probably the reason why no marriage ever took place. As for Jane, she was still unmarried in 1529 when her stepmother, Honor Grenville, remarried. Jane went with Honor, now Lady Lisle, to Soberton, Hampshire. Jane had a marriage portion of 100 marks but does not seem to have sought a husband. When the Lisles moved to Calais, Jane remained behind at Soberton for a time, then requested permission to live with her sister, Thomasine, at Umberleigh, Devonshire, a manor that had been settled on Honor for life. Jane removed there in July 1533. Jane and Thomasine each had an income of £6. 13s. 4d. provided by their father’s will and numerous family connections in the area. From Umberleigh, Jane paid visits to her two sisters, Anne Courtenay at Upcot and Margery Marres at Week St. Mary in Cornwall. Six of Jane’s letters to her stepmother, written in 1534 and 1535, are extant, as are letters from the local vicar, Sir John Bonde, complaining of her behavior. Jane’s letters were probably written by clerks, but they provide a picture of her as, in the words of M. St. Clare Byrne in The Lisle Letters, “a shrewd, managing, somewhat fussy, domineering, and crotchety woman . . . mildly eccentric . . . and entirely preoccupied with those of her stepmother’s affairs in which she had a chance to interfere and to criticize others for neglecting them.” In early 1536, Jane’s sister Thomasine left Umberleigh. She died at Dowland eighteen months later. Jane remained at Umberleigh, and probably died there, but there is no record of her death.


Margaret Bassett was the daughter of Ralph Bassett of Blore, Staffordshire and Eleanor Egerton. In about 1498, she married Thomas Kebell (c.1439-June 26, 1500), an important Leicestershire sergeant-at-law, aas his third wife. The match was arranged by her paternal grandmother, Joan Biron, after the death of Joan’s husband, William Bassett, in November, 1497. Upon Kebell’s death, the widow became a wealthy heiress. Until her death, she collected a jointure of £40 per annum from her first marriage. Margaret was abducted from Blore Hall, the home of her uncle, another William Bassett, on the first of February 1502 by a band a men brandishing swords. There were either a hundred or a hundred and twenty men in the party, led by Roger Vernon, son of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. Roger wanted to marry Margaret, even though she was already planning to wed Ralph Egerton of Ridley (c.1468-March 9, 1528), her mother’s half brother. Egerton and his father, Hugh Egerton (c.1425-1505) were at Blore  Hall, possibly to celebrate the betrothal. Margaret was hastily married to Vernon in Derby, much against her will, and afterward was sent to Vernon’s uncles at Netherseal in Leicestershire and then into the Welsh Marches, where Sir Richard de la Bere kept her confined at his manor house in Clehonger. Margaret’s mother, grandfather, and betrothed set off in pursuit of the abductors, but they were outnumbered and unable to rescue her. Margaret later managed to escape on her own and reach safety in London. The case ended up before the court of the Star Chamber, where changes and counter-charges kept the litigation active for the next seven years. Vernon was fined, but in December 1509, all those involved in the abduction were pardoned by the king. Margaret eventually married Ralph Egerton, who was knighted in 1515. They had three children, Richard, Ralph, and Elizabeth.

MARY BASSETT (c.1522-May 1598)
Mary Bassett was the youngest daughter of Sir John Bassett (1462-January 21, 1528) and his second wife, Honor Grenville (c.1494-April 1566). Mary was educated in France in the household of Anne Rouand, Mme. de Bours of Abbeville and Bours, from August 1534 until March 1538, when she returned to Calais suffering from a chronic fever. A number of letters from and about her are extant. In one, written from Abbeville on March 14, 1536 to her older sister Philippa, she writes: “I enjoy myself so much here in this country, that I should be very well satisfied, if I could only see my lady my mother very often, to return no more to England. I send you a green velvet purse, and a little pot to my sister Frances [her stepsister, Frances Plantagenet], and a gospel to my sister Catherine, and a parroquet to my lord my father [her stepfather, Lord Lisle] because he is very fond of birds.” Then she adds: “I owe a pair of shoes to the maid who attends my wants, which I lost playing against her.” During her time in a French household, Mary was taken to the French court by Jeanne de Saveuzes, Mme. de Riou, sister-in-law of Mme. de Bours, and presented to Queen Claude. This was in 1537, shortly after the death of Nicholas de Montmorency, Seigneur de Bours. His son and heir was Gabriel de Montmorency, the young man with whom Mary fell in love and to whom she secretly became betrothed. Mary was regarded as the prettiest of the sisters. An attempt was made in 1538 to find her a position in the household of Elizabeth Tudor but this came to nothing. When her stepfather, Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, Lord Deputy of Calais, was arrested in 1540 on suspicion of treason, all the family papers were seized by English officials. Mary attempted to destroy her love letters by throwing them down the jakes but this only made her look more suspicious. It was, in fact, a crime to contract a marriage to a foreigner without permission. Mary’s mother was confined to the house of Francis Hall in Calais but it is unclear where, or for how long, Mary and her oldest sister, Philippa (c.1516-1582) were held. Mary is next heard of on June 8, 1557, when she married John Wollacombe of Overcombe, Devon. They had five sons and two daughters: Honor (1558-1559), John (b.1559), Thomas (b.1561), Priamus (b.1563), Honor (b.1566), William (b.1570), and Henry (b.1571). Mary was buried on May 21, 1598 at Roborough, near Plymouth. Biography: More details are given in M. St. Clare Byrne’s The Lisle Letters.


The ecclesiastical records of Stondon, Essex, report the case of Sarah Bastwick who, “whilst she was in service with her father about Allhallowtide last in a merriment came on horseback in a cloak disguised and demanded of him if he had any good ale.” This was apparently a case of a woman wearing male attire, something frowned upon by both the church and society at large. Sarah was forbidden to receive communion until she sought her father’s forgiveness for her actions.

SARAH BAVAND (c.1574-before 1642)
Sarah Bavand was the daughter of Richard Bavand (d.1603), ironmonger and mayor of Chester in 1581 and 1582 and Jane Bannvile or Bamvill. She married Thomas Jones (c.1568-1642), a draper and the wealthiest man in Shrewsbury. His worth in the period from 1623-1638 has been estimated at between £30,000 and £40,000. In 1615, Thomas and Sarah had their portraits painted. It has been suggested that this was a wedding portrait but as she was forty-one at the time, this seems unlikely. Nor is she wearing some kind of mayoress’s costume. Her husband was mayor of Shrewsbury, but not until 1638. More likely, she is simply wearing clothing that reflects their great wealth. They had no children.

AGNES BAXTER (d.1593/4)
Agnes (or Anne) Baxter was the daughter of one Edmund Baxter. She married Henry Prannell (c.1531-October 22, 1589), a vintner and London alderman. They had one son, Henry, and two daughters, Joan and Mary. The family appears to have been both prominent and wealthy. The elder Henry Prannell purchased the manor of Newsells from the earl of Oxford while the younger Henry Prannell, early in 1592, married a daughter of Thomas Howard, Viscount Bindon. Agnes made her will March 13, 1593 and it was proved February 9, 1594. In it, she left numerous charitable bequests. Among the provisions made for her family, she left her daughter-in-law, Frances Prannell (née Howard) her damask gown and her velvet kirtle. Agnes had recently paid £800 for the lease of the manor of Leuesbarne, Hertfordshire and stated that she had assigned that lease to her daughter Joan, wife of Robert Brooke. Similarly, she conveyed the tavern called the Cardinal’s Hat in Lombard Street, valued at £200, to her other daughter, Mary Clerke. The entire will can be found at www.oxford-shakespeare.com. Agnes was buried in the south side of the chancel of the church of St. Michael le Querne in London but the monument erected there to her and her husband was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.





FRANCES BAYNHAM (d. December 1583)
Frances Baynham was the daughter of Sir George Baynham of Clearwell, Gloucestershire (c.1505-1546) and Bridget Kingston (d.c.1527). She has been identified as one of Mary Tudor’s ladies in 1536, although she would have been very young at that date. She also married young, wedding Sir Henry Jerningham (1509/10-September 7, 1572) between 1536 and 1543, after which she continued to serve Mary as Frances Jerningham, both before and after Mary became queen in 1553. This makes it questionable whether she was the “Baynam” referred to in a poem by R. E. if it was written c. 1553, about Mary’s ladies. The line reads: “Baynam is as beautiful as nature can devise.” It was her grandfather, Sir William Kingston, who arranged the match. Jerningham was his new wife’s son by her first marriage. Their children were Henry (d. July 15, 1619), Philip (d. yng), William (d. before 1582), Mary (c.1542-before 1582), Jemina (Jeronima/Hieronima) (c.1550-February 4,1627), and possibly Francis (d. yng). Frances, though her mother, was heir to Sir Anthony Kingston when he died in 1556. In her husband’s will, made August 15, 1572 and proved May 27, 1572, Frances received a life interest in his London property. She was named executor. In 1577, Lady Jerningham’s name appeared on a list of Norfolk recusants drawn up by the bishop. She kept a priest, Mr. Dereham, who had once been her son’s schoolmaster and was later called her surveyor. During Queen Elizabeth’s progress of 1578, the queen hunted in Lady Jerningham’s 1,000 acre deer park at Cossey/Cotesby/Costessey, near King’s Lynn in Norfolk in East Anglia, and had dinner at Lady Jerningham’s manor house, which had been a gift to her late husband from Queen Mary. Later that summer, Jemina’s husband, Charles Waldegrave, was summoned for recusancy but did not appear. Although Lady Jerningham’s religious sentiments were apparently well known, she was neither prosecuted nor persecuted for her faith. In 1561, she was present at mass in the household of Sir Edward Waldegrave (Charles’s father) in Borley, Essex. Sir Edward and his wife were sent to the Tower but Frances was not arrested. In addition to keeping a priest, Lady Jerningham also kept a fool named Joane, for whom she made provision in her will. This will was made on August 20, 1582 and proved February 15, 1583/4. Another provision was that her son Henry should build a tomb for his paternal grandmother, Mary Scrope, at Leyton, Essex. Frances left a ring with a ruby and twelve trencher plates of silver to her surviving daughter with the comment that they had been given to the same Mary Scrope Jerningham Kingston by Queen Catherine of Aragon. Her daughter was also to receive a pomander of gold enameled with roses and pomegranates, a saddle, and a grey nag. To her waiting gentlewoman, Anne Rokewood, Frances left a featherbed and bolster, £5, and an annuity of four marks to be added to the annuity of £4 Sir Henry had left Anne in his will. Frances’s will can be found in its entirety at www.oxford-shakespeare.com. Frances was buried at Cossey December 23, 1583.


LUCE BAYNHAM (1560?-1610?) (maiden name unknown)
By 1576, a woman called Black Luce was running a bawdy house in St. John Street, Clerkenwell and was married to a man named Baynham (Baynam/Baynams/Bayntham), possibly Henry Baynham. Whether she was actually a black woman, simply dark skinned, or only black-hearted, is unknown, but her nickname led Leslie Hotson (Mr. W.H.) to suggest she might be the dark lady who inspired Shakespeare to write his sonnets. Gustav Ungerer, in his “Prostitution in Late Elizabethan England: The Case of Mary Newborough,” and Duncan Salkeld in Shakespeare among the Courtesans identify Black Luce as Luce Baynham. While not completely discounting her connection to the players, they disprove the idea that she had been a gentlewoman at the court of Queen Elizabeth (see LUCY MORGAN). Shortly before January 2, 1576/7, Luce’s house was raided at midnight and the occupants forced to flee to another establishment in Westminster, where a Mrs. Stallis operated as a bawd. Luce occasionally entered into a partnership with Gilbert and Margaret East, who were running a brothel in Turnmill Street by 1576. Luce was a well-established underworld figure by 1595, when she entertained students from Gray’s Inn with her choir of “black nuns.” She is mentioned in records of the Queen’s Bench in 1596, but seems to have managed to avoided prosecution until, on January 15, 1600, she was committed to Bridewell for being a “notorious and lewd woman.” She was released on January 31st and was still in business in September 1601. Just after Christmas 1604, she was living in the Boar’s Head tenements on Bankside, apparently with Gilbert East, and paying an annual rent of twenty shillings. In the seventeenth century the career of Black Luce was celebrated more than once in print and one satirical epitaph, “On Luce Morgan,” reports that she became a Roman Catholic and that she died diseased.





MARY BAYNTON (1515-1533+)
Mary Baynton was the daughter of Thomas Baynton of Bridlington, Yorkshire. In the latter part of 1533, she was found wandering into houses in Boston, telling people she was Princess Mary. She claimed that her father, Henry VIII, had turned her out, forcing her to beg for alms in order to survive. The three gentlemen who examined her concluded that she was not part of any conspiracy and she was probably returned to her father, although there is no extant record of what happened to her after she was questioned.


MARY BEATON (c.1543-1597)
Mary Beaton was the daughter of Robert Beaton, 3rd Laird of Creich (1520-c.1567) and Jeanne de la Reinville, a French lady in waiting to Marie of Guise. Mary was chosen as a maid of honor for the five-year-old Queen of Scots when she was sent to France in 1548. In 1564, the English ambassador to Scotland, Thomas Randolph, called her the most beautiful of the queen’s ladies, Mary married Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Boyne (c.1530-before 1606), a match arranged by the queen. They had two sons, James (1568-1619) and Andrew (d.1620). Mary was not one of the attendants with the Queen of Scots in England and disappears from the public record after 1568. She has been suggested, on questionable evidence, as the forger of the Casket Letters. Portrait: school of Antonio Mor, dated in the 1560s, but this identification is tentative at best.

MARGARET BEAUFORT (May 31, 1443-June 29, 1509)
Margaret Beaufort was the daughter of John Beaufort, duke of Somerset (1403-1444) and Margaret Beauchamp. She married Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond (1430-1456) in 1455 and gave birth to the future Henry VII when she was fourteen. He was her only child, although she married twice more, to Henry Stafford (d. 1471) and then to Thomas Stanley, earl of Derby (1435-1504). Margaret was separated from her son when he was still quite young but she played an active role in asserting his claim to the throne. She is the one who negotiated with Elizabeth Woodville to secure the hand of Elizabeth of York in marriage, contingent upon Henry’s invasion of England and defeat of Richard III, who had usurped the throne from Elizabeth’s brothers. Once Henry Tudor was on the throne, Margaret remained influential. She was responsible for drawing up the rules by which his children’s nursery was governed, and she was widely known as a patron of the arts. She translated The Mirror of Gold of the Sinful Soul, published in 1507, and commissioned many other translations. She founded two colleges, Christ’s and St. John’s, and may also have served on the Council of the North. Her primary residence when not at court was at Collyweston. Biographies: Of Virtue Rare: Margaret Beaufort, Matriarch of the House of Tudor by Linda Simon; The King’s Mother Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby by Michael K. Jones and Malcolm G. Underwood; Oxford DNB entry under “Beaufort, Margaret.” Portraits: several portraits by unknown artists exist, as well as an effigy on her tomb in Westminster Abbey.



MARY BEAUMONT (1569-April 19, 1632)
Mary Beaumont was created countess of Buckingham in her own right on July 1, 1618. Her father, Anthony Beaumont of Glenfield, Leicestershire, was not even a knight. Her mother was Anne (Oxford DNB says Elizabeth) Armstrong of Corby, Lincolnshire. As a young woman, Mary was a waiting gentlewoman in the household of Lady Beaumont of Cole Orton, but by her first marriage, to Sir George Villiers of Brooksby, Leicestershire (d. January 1606), she had four successful children: John, Viscount Purbeck (c.1591-1657); George, duke of Buckingham (1592-1628), the king’s favorite; Christopher, earl of Anglesey (1593-1630); and Susan, countess of Denbigh (c.1591-1655). Mary lived at Goadby with her children after Villiers’s death but married twice more, first on June 19, 1606 to eighty-year-old Sir William Rayner (Raynor/Reyner) of Orton Longueville, Huntingdonshire (d.November 1606), and second to Sir Thomas Compton (d. April 1626). The last marriage was unhappy, as Sir Thomas was impoverished and rarely sober. The countess was buried in Westminster Abbey. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Villiers [née Beaumont], Mary.” Portraits: miniature; portrait, possibly by Daniel Mytens; engraving; effigy.









Audrey Beene was the daughter of Flemish artist Adrian Beene. She married painter Thomas Heron. She ran her own workshop in London at the end of the sixteenth century. She left a bequest to the Painters-Stainers Guild of London.


ALICE BELKNAP (c.1475-1537)
Alice Belknap was one of the six daughters of Henry Belknap of Crofton, Kent and Beccles, Sussex  (d. July 3, 1488) and Margaret Knollys (1432-October 7, 1488) and the sister of Sir Edward Belknap (July 30, 1473-1521). She married William Shelley of London, Michelgrove, Sussex, and Mapledurham, Hampshire (1476-1549). The date of their marriage settlement is July 10, 1511, but they appear to have married before that date. Some sources say as early as 1500. They had seven sons and seven daughters including John (d. 1550), Thomas, Edward (d. September 10, 1547), Richard (1513/14-1589), Elizabeth (d. December 25, 1560), James, Margaret, and Catherine. In London they lived in the parish of St. Sepulcre and Shelley was assessed at 300 marks in goods in the subsidy of 1523. His lands were valued at £140 a year. Alice had a servant named Jane Smith (d.1529) to whom she gave the manuscript known as the “Belknap Hours.” Jane married John Onley of Catesby Northamptonshire (d. November 22, 1537), who may have been brought up in the Belknap household and whose entry at the Inner Temple was sponsored by William Shelley. Portrait: tomb effigy with husband and fourteen children in St. Mary the Virgin, Clapham, Sussex.

Elizabeth Belknap was the illegitimate daughter of Sir Edward Belknap of Knoll, Warwickshire (July 30, 1473-1521). She married William (or Walter) Scott of Stapleford Tawney, Essex (d.1551). Her second husband was Thomas Bishop or Bishopp of Henfield, Sussex (d. January 6,1560), a lawyer, by whom she had one son, Thomas (1553-1626). Before 1549, Bishop had acted as feoffee to Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a recusant. By the will Bishop made on December 16, 1558, proved October 24, 1560, Elizabeth received 400 marks in cash, the plate which she had brought to the marriage, and a life interest in Henfield parsonage and park. She was one of his executors.

MARGARET BELKNAP (d. August 18, 1513)
Margaret Belknap was one of the six daughters of Henry Belknap of Crofton, Kent and Beccles, Suffolk (d. July 3, 1488) and Margaret Knollys (1432-October 7, 1488). In 1502, she was a gentlewomen attending Queen Elizabeth of York. She married John Boteler of Woodhall Watton, Hertfordshire (d. May 11, 1514). They had no children.

MARY BELKNAP (1472-c.1558)
Mary Belknap was one of the six daughters of Sir Henry Belknap of Crofton, Kent and Beccles, Suffolk (d. July 3, 1488) and Margaret Knollys (1432-October 7, 1488). In about 1502, she married Gerard Danet (Dannet/Dannatt/Dannett) of Danet’s Hall, Bromkinsthorpe, Leicestershire (c.1466-May 3, 1520) as his second wife. He may already have had a daughter, Elizabeth, and with Mary had eleven more children, including Alice, John (1503-1542/3), Thomas (March 23, 1517-c.1569), Elizabeth (d.1564), Jane, Mary (d. before 1562), and four who died young. Mary Belknap was the sister and coheir of her brother Sir Edward Belknap of Knoll, Warwickshire (July 30, 1473-1521), along with her sisters Alice (wife of William Shelley), Anne (wife of Sir Robert Wotton), and Elizabeth (wife of Philip Cooke). As a widow, she bought and sold land. She made her will on November 3, 1556 and it was proved December 15, 1558. She died possessed of land in Kent, Bedfordshire, Warwickshire, Surrey, and Leicestershire. Portrait: memorial brass, Tilty, Essex.

ANNE BELLAMY (1563-1593+)
Anne Bellamy was a member of a notoriously recusant family living in Middlesex. She was the daughter of Richard and Catherine Bellamy of Uxenden Hall near Harrow-on-the-Hill. There is some confusion between generations, since both her mother and her grandmother were named Catherine. As near as I can make out, her grandmother, Catherine Page Bellamy, was arrested in 1583 and died in prison in 1586. Three of this Catherine’s sons (Anne’s uncles) also died in prison: Jerome, executed in 1586; Bartholomew; and Robert (b.1541), who was in prison in 1586 but still alive in 1593. Anne’s father, although indicted in 1583, was not held. Her mother, the second Catherine, was apparently indicted for being a recusant in 1587 but does not seem to have been jailed at that time. Anne herself was arrested and charged with being a recusant on January 26, 1592, when she was twenty-nine. While a prisoner, she is said to have abandoned her virtue to the royal torturer, Richard Topcliffe. Other accounts say he raped her. Whatever happened, in May she provided evidence against the priest, Richard Southwell, that led to Southwell’s capture and eventual execution and the arrest of the rest of Anne’s family—her father, mother, two sisters, and two brothers. Bellamy and his wife were held at the Gatehouse, Anne’s sisters Audrey Wilford (b.1573), a widow, and Mary (b.1564/5), in the Clink, and her brothers Faith (b.1566) and Thomas (b.1572), both of whom had also been indicted in 1587, in St. Catherine’s. Anne was married in July to Nicholas Jones, underkeeper of the Gatehouse at Westminster, sometimes said to be Topcliffe’s servant. She gave birth to a child that Christmas, reportedly at Topcliffe’s house in Lincolnshire. Anne’s father refused to give her a marriage portion. By one account, he spent the next ten years in prison, but other sources place him in exile in Belgium in 1594, where he eventually died. Anne’s mother and two brothers conformed sometime in 1594 and were released but her sisters refused to give up their religion. Anne’s mother was still alive, widowed, in 1609, but no other details on the fates of individual members of the Bellamy family seem to have survived.


Elizabeth Bellingham was the daughter and coheir of Robert Bellingham of Burnehead Hall, Burneside, Westmorland and Anne Pickering. Around 1529, she married Cuthbert Hutton of Hutton John, Cumberland (c.1504-September 10, 1553). Their children were Thomas (d.1615+), John, Katherine, Anne, and Mary. Elizabeth Bellingham is said to have known Kathryn Parr when they were children in Westmorland. She came to court when Kathryn married Henry VIII to be one of her waiting gentlewomen. Alison Weir says she was Kathryn’s Mother of Maids, but I have not seen this elsewhere. One very garbled account in a book published in 1882 completely mixes up the generations, but it appears that Elizabeth’s youngest daughter, Mary, was born at court and her godmother was Princess Mary, Kathryn Parr’s stepdaughter. When Elizabeth left court, she returned to Hutton John, where she and her husband laid out gardens in the style of those at Hampton Court. The History of Parliament entry for Cuthbert reports that Elizabeth acquired the wardship of her son John in 1553, after her husband died, but other sources give his date of death as 1566.




MARGERY BENET (maiden name unknown) (d. 1541+)

A  young woman named Margery was one of the dowager duchess of Norfolk’s chamberers in mid-1538. According to Gareth Russell in Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII (2016), who sometimes calls her Margery and sometimes Margaret, she spied on Catherine Howard and Francis Dereham while they were engaged in sexual activities. She later married John Benet, another servant in the household. When Catherine was accused of adultery, Margery was one of those questioned about Catherine’s activities while in the duchess’s household. Margery was sent to the Tower of London on December 11, 1541 and arraigned for treason on December 22 but was later released.

LAVINA or LEVINA BENING or BENNINCK (c.1519-June 23, 1576)
The eldest of five daughters of Simon Bening or Benninck of Bruges (c.1483-1553/4), an illuminator, and Katlijne Scroo (d. before 1544), Lavina was born in Bruges. Another spelling of her name is Lievine Binnick. Between 1540 and 1542, she married George Teerlinc, Teerlinck, or Terling (d.1577/8) and as Lavina Teerlinc became well known as a limner and miniature painter. She and her husband arrived in England in early 1545 and she was sworn into the queen’s Privy Chamber. The following year, her husband became one of the king’s Gentlemen Pensioners and Lavina became one of the king’s artists at £40 per annum. She also received £20 a year from the queen’s privy purse. In 1549, the Teerlincs were living in Bride’s Lane, London with several Flemish servants. Under Mary Tudor, Lavina was to continue to receive the £40 annuity as a “paintrix” but this salary was not paid. Lavina continued to be a court painter under Elizabeth Tudor and in 1562 presented the queen with “the Queen’s personne and other personages, in a box finely painted” as a New Year’s gift. The Teerlincs had a son, Marcus (c.1548-1576) and all three became English subjects on March 25, 1566. At about that time they built a house in Stepney that cost £500. They may also have had a second chld. Lavina was buried in St. Dunstan’s, Stepney on June 25, 1576. Biographies: Oxford DNB entry under “Teerlinc [née Bening or Benninck] Levina”; Chapter Seven of Susan E. James’s The Feminine Dynamic in English Art 1485-1603; “Levina Teerlinc, Tudor Court Painter,” by Ilya Sandra Perlingieri (Antiques Journal, November 2010, pp.33-37); Louisa Woodville, “Lavina Teerlinc, Illuminator at the Tudor Court” (artherstory.net).

The portrait called “Eleanor Benlowes,” dated 1565 and containing the information that the sitter was twenty years old, is sometimes said to be Eleanor Palmer, second wife of William Benlowes or Bendlows of Brent Hall, Finchingfield, Essex (1516-November 19, 1584). However, Eleanor Palmer, apparently the youngest daughter of Sir Edward Palmer of Angmering, Sussex (c.1490-1517) and Alice Clement, was born c.1504 and was therefore much too old to have been the sitter. Eleanor Palmer was the widow of John Berners of Finchingfield, Sussex when she married Benlowes, having married Berners sometime after the death of his first wife (Elizabeth Wiseman) on January 23, 1523. Eleanor and William Benlowes are known to have had one son, William Benlowes (d.1613) and one daughter. It seems likely that the Eleanor Benlowes of the painting was either that daughter or their daughter-in-law. Portrait: attributed to Steven van der Meulen, 1565.

ANNE BENNETT (d.1609+)
Anne Bennett was the daughter of Richard Bennett of Weeks Green and Rye, Sussex (d. before 1604), a butcher, and his wife Anne (c.1550-1609+), a healer. Anne was also trained as a healer. On December 7, 1603, she married George Taylor or Tayler, a gentleman from Kent. They appear to have lived in her mother’s house. In about 1604, Roger Swapper, a sawyer, and his wife Susan rented part of this house. At Lent 1607, they were both ill. Susan later claimed that, during her illness, she was visited by four spirits who told her to go to “young Anne Bennett” for help. Modern scholars theorize that factionalism in Rye was behind the incriminating story Susan told to the authorities when she was charged with “counseling with wicked spirits,” a felony under a law passed in 1604. Susan was first questioned by the mayor of Rye, Thomas Higgons, on September 26, 1607. By that time, Anne had given birth to a son and a daughter and both had died. According to Susan, she and Anne Taylor followed the spirits’ instructions to dig in her garden—to plant sage in one version and to find treasure in another. Then, at Whitsun, Susan dug for treasure in the field at Weeks Green on property formerly owned by Anne’s father. She found no treasure, but she said she’d met the queen of the fairies there. She also, on December 3, 1607, claimed that Anne had foretold the death of Thomas Hamon or Hammond, the previous mayor of Rye. In the December sessions of 1607, following two testimonials by unknown parties, both women were charged. The charge against Anne was aiding and abetting Susan. Susan was found guilty of consulting spirits and sentenced to be hanged. Rather than appear in court, Anne fled to her in-laws in Kent and remained there for some six months. During that time, new charges were made. It seems that Thomas Hamon’s death, supposedly foretold by Anne, had been suspicious. He’d been taken violently ill on July 13, 1607 and died on the 27th of that month. By the time Anne returned to Rye, Hamon’s widow had accused her of procuring his death by diabolical means and of appearing at their door disguised as a beggar, at which time she’d been given one of Hamon’s old shirt sleeves. Other charges against her were that she’d bewitched Robert Burdett, a barber and Rye’s town gunner, causing him to be killed by an exploding cannon; that she’d poisoned a servant girl with deadly medicine; and that she’d murdered her own children. Anne was a prisoner by July 22, 1608 when her husband petitioned Henry Howard, earl of Northampton to intervene in the case, calling the charges against her the “unjust accusations of a lewd woman.” Taylor also argued that Anne should be released because she was pregnant. A letter from the mayor to Northampton informed the earl that Anne had confessed that she and Susan Swapper had conversed with spirits. It also complained that Taylor had previously promised she would appear in court when called but that she had fled the county. There is mention of  “outrageous behavior” toward her maidservant, but no details of this incident are given. Taylor bound himself in the sum of £100 for his wife’s appearance at the next sessions of the peace and Anne was tried in the summer of 1609, at which time she was acquitted of all charges. Susan, still in prison at that time, was later released under the general pardon of 1611. For the woman who accused Anne of murdering her husband, see the entry under MARTHA THARPE.

ELIZABETH BENNETT (x.1582) (maiden name unknown)
In 1582, Mrs. Elizabeth Bennett, wife of a husbandman, John Bennett of St. Osyth, Essex, employed as a spinner by a local clothmaker, was accused of killing three people by witchcraft. She confessed to having two familiar spirits, Black Suckin and Red Liard and was executed by hanging.


MARION BENNETT (d. April 8, 1549) (maiden name unknown)
The inquisition post mortem for Marion Bennett, widow, was taken on June 28, 1549. Her first husband was Thomas Stoketon. On October 13, 1526, she married again, this time to John Bennet or Bennett of St. Sepulchre’s, London. Marion was listed as being of St. Giles without Cripplegate, a suburb of London, and until shortly before her death she owned two messuages in Grub Street in that parish. On January 4, 1549, she gave one of them to Marion Rolf or Roulf, wife of Jasper Roulf of London, yeoman, and to Marion’s children Thomas, George, and Isabella Roulf. This second Marion, who was aged thirty-three or more in June 1549, was the daughter of Thomas Stoketon’s sister. It appears that Marion Bennett had no surviving children from either of her marriages.

ANNE BENOLT (d. December 10, 1585)
Anne Benolt was the daughter of Thomas Benolt, Clarenceux King of Arms (d. May 8, 1534) and his second wife, Mary Fermor. Her father had houses in Bishopsgate and Chiswick, Middlesex and a manor in Gillingham, Kent. Anne is said to have been the wife of Mr. Fuller, a judge, before she married Sir John Radcliffe (December 31, 1539- November 9, 1568), a younger son of Robert, 1st earl of Sussex. She was buried December 18, 1585 in St. Olave, Hart Street, London. Portrait: effigy in St. Olave, Hart Street, London.


ALICE BENTLEY (d. September 1558)
Alice Bentley married first Richard Mody of London (d. January/February 1550) and second, as his second wife, John Rede of Westminster (d. September 27, 1557). Her second husband was keeper of the wardrobe at York Place (Whitehall). In his will, dated September 16, 1557, he left Alice his capital messuage near Charing Cross. It had formerly been the hospital of Our Lady of Rounceval. He specified that his three sons by his first marriage inherit tenements when they reached the age of twenty-one and that until then Alice, as one of the executors, spend the rent on their education. In 1558, she was sued for her failure to pay the first installment. Already “an aged woman,” she claimed her days were “like to be shortened” by this harassment but the case went against her and she was ordered to fulfill the terms of the will. She also lost a second suit over her inheritance and did, in fact, die that same year.


JANE BERINGTON (c.1556-January 12, 1647)
Jane Berington was the daughter of Thomas Berington/Burington of Streatley, Berkshire and Joan Wire. In 1583, when she married John Eyston of Hendred House, East Hendred, Berkshire (1532-March 3, 1590), he settled the Abbey Manor in East Hendred on her. She was his third wife but the only one to give him children. They were: William (1585- 1649), John (c.1587-1664), Thomas (1588-1689), Robert (b. 1589, a priest), and Margaret (1586-1641). In 1591, Jane married John Arderne or Arden of Tackley and Kirtlington, Oxfordshire. Portrait: memorial brass in East Hendred (also including her daughter, Margaret, who married Francis Perkins of Ufton).


Catherine Berkeley was the daughter of Sir William Berkeley of Stoke Gifford (1433-1501) and Anne Stafford (c.1447-1508+). She married Maurice Berkeley, Baron Berkeley (1467-September 12, 1523). The marriage contract is dated January 28, 1484/5. They had no children. By 1514, Catherine’s husband and Edward Stafford, duke of Buckingham, were feuding, although the cause of the rift is uncertain. At one point the burgesses of Tetbury, Berkeley’s men, refused Buckingham lodging in that town when he was en route from London to Thornbury Castle. Buckingham is recorded as calling Lady Berkeley “false chorle and wiche.”



ELIZABETH BERKELEY (1534-September 1, 1582)
Elizabeth Berkeley was the daughter of Thomas, 6th baron Berkeley (1505-September 22, 1534) and Anne Savage (1506-October 1564). In around 1559, she married Thomas Butler, 10th earl of Ormond and 3rd earl of Ossory (1532-November 22, 1614), who had been raised at the English court as one of Prince Edward’s schoolmates and returned to England when Elizabeth became queen. Elizabeth Berkeley was described as “the fairest that lived in the court,” but apparently the marriage was a troubled one. The earl accused his wife of writing love letters to three men—Morgan, Moore, and Mansfield—and the couple was living apart by the spring of 1564. In early 1565, Ormond obtained an Irish divorce, but the English Privy Council intervened, heard his wife’s appeal, and arranged a settlement in 1569 by which she remained his wife and was granted an allowance of £90/year for life. In the interim, Ormond was at the English court and high in favor with the queen. His countess was in Bristol when she died. She was buried in Westminster Abbey. They had no children.


FRANCES BERKELEY (c.1566-1595)
Frances Berkeley was the daughter of Henry, baron Berkeley (November 26, 1534-November 26, 1613) and Catherine Howard (1539-April 7, 1596). A marriage was proposed for her with one of the sons of Sir Henry Sidney, but her mother refused to allow the match because he was a nephew of Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester and there was enmity between Leicester and Lady Berkeley’s brother, the 4th duke of Norfolk. In 1587, Frances married Sir George Shirley of Breedon-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire (1559-1622). They had four sons and a daughter, including George (d.yng), Henry (1588-1633), Sir Thomas (1590-1654), and John (d.yng). After Frances died in childbirth, George commissioned a grandiose tomb for her which was completed in 1598. Portrait: tomb effigy in St. Mary and St. Hardulph, Breedon-on-the-Hill.


Joan Berkeley was the daughter of Thomas, 5th baron Berkeley (1472-January 22,1533) and Eleanor Constable (c.1485-1527). On June 24, 1527, she married Sir Nicholas Poyntz of Iron Acton, Gloucestershire (d.1556). They had five or six sons and three daughters, including Nicholas and Anne. In January 1559, Joan was named an Extraordinary Lady of the Privy Chamber. Her second husband was Sir Thomas Dyer of Sharpham and Weston, Somersetshire (d. 1565). They had three sons. According to Marion Colthorpe, “Women at Court: Royal Household” in The Elizabethan Court Day By Day (2017) (http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day), the queen sent Joan £30 for “apothecary stuff” on March 23, 1564. She is said to have died of her second husband’s ill treatment.

JOANNA BERKELEY (1555/6-1616)
Joanna (or Joan) Berkeley was one of the three daughters of Sir John Berkeley of Southover, Hampshire and Beverstone Castle, Gloucestershire (1531-October 18, 1582) and Frances Poyntz (d. 1576).  On the death of her mother, her uncle, Sir Nicholas Poyntz, wrote that her father “hath not the grace to show himself a natural father.” Joanna became a nun in 1581. She was at St. Peter’s abbey in Rheims when Lady Mary Percy asked to her become the first abbess of a new Benedictine house in Brussels. She was installed on November 21, 1599 and under her administration the abbey grew in both size and influence, attracting English Catholic girls forbidden to practice their religion in their homeland. Biography: Oxford DNB under “Berkeley, Joanne.”


LORA BERKELEY (c.1466-October 31, 1501)
Lora Berkeley was the daughter of Edward Berkeley of Beverstone Castle, Gloucestershire and Ibsey, Hampshire (c.1428-March 1506) and Christian Holt (c.1433-1468). She married John Blount, 3rd baron Mountjoy (1450-October 12,1485), by whom she had William (1479-November 8, 1534), Rowland or Roger (d.1509), Constantia or Constance, Sir John, and Lora (1475-February 6, 1479/80). In 1485 she married Sir Thomas Montgomery of Faulkborne, Essex (1460-January 2, 1494/5). They had no issue. By November 1496, Lora wed Thomas Butler, 7th earl of Ormond (1424-August 3, 1515). They had a daughter, Elizabeth. Lora was buried with her second husband in New Abbey, London.


MARY BERKELEY (c.1511-1586)
Mary Berkeley was the daughter of James Berkeley of Thornbury, Gloucestershire and Hilton, Cambridgeshire (c.1466-c.1515) and Susan Fitzalan (d.c.1521). Around 1526, Mary wed Thomas Perrott of Islington, Middlesex and Haroldstone, St. Issells, Pembrokeshire (1504/5-September 19,1531). The marriage was arranged by Mary’s uncle (Maurice, Lord Berkeley). Both Mary and Thomas were his wards and lived at Berkeley Castle before their marriage. The sum of 500 marks was settled on the couple. Mary had three children, Jane, Elizabeth, and John Perrott (November 1528-September 1592). The latter apparently bore a resemblance to Henry VIII, which led to speculation that he was the king’s illegitimate son. Philippa Jones, in The Other Tudors: Henry VIII’s Mistresses and Bastards claims that Mary was one of Catherine of Aragon’s ladies and states that her son was definitely Henry VIII’s bastard. The History of Parliament goes so far as to state that John Perrott’s mother was Henry VIII’s mistress, but offers no details or evidence. The story of a relationship between Mary and the king, however, appears to have been invented by Sir Robert Naunton, husband of John Perrott’s granddaughter, although Alison Weir (Mary Boleyn) says John himself made the claim in an attempt to save himself from execution. Weir also points out that nine months before John’s birth, King Henry was already involved with Anne Boleyn and that, furthermore, the king never traveled anywhere near Haroldstone St. Issells. Mary, as far as anyone can prove, was never at court. Mary married twice more. In about 1532, she wed Sir Thomas Jones of Llanegwad and Abermarlais, Carmarthenshire (c.1492-1559), by whom she had five more children—Sir Henry (d.1586), Richard (d.1577+), Catherine, James, and another daughter. Jones purchased John Perrott’s wardship in 1533 and settled at Haroldston. Mary and Jones made over a number of properties to her son John Perrott c. 1551 to help him pay off debts of over £7000.Weir also gives Mary a third marriage but does not identify this husband by name.


ELIZABETH BERNYE (1560-c.1603)
Elizabeth Bernye was the daughter of Martin Bernye of North Erpingham, Norfolk (d.1595+) and Margaret Flynte (d.1595+). She married Christopher Grimston or Grymeston of Smeeton, Yorkshire (b.c.1563/4) and they had nine children, only one of whom, Bernye, survived. For his benefit, Elizabeth wrote a guidebook published after her death as Miscelanea: Meditations: Memoratives. It was a collection of brief essays on religious topics, together with poems and moral maxims. One of the latter is “A fair woman is a paradise to the eye, a purgatory to the purse, and a hell to the soul.” Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Grymeston [Grimston; née Bernye], Elizabeth.”


see MARY de VERE

SUSAN BERTIE (1554-1611+)
Susan Bertie was the daughter of Catherine Willoughby, duchess of Suffolk (March 22, 1521-September 19, 1580) by her second husband, Richard Bertie (December 25, 1517-April 9, 1582). She spent her early years in exile in Poland with her brother Peregrine and her parents. The family returned to England in 1559. Susan was educated at Grimsthorpe with her brother and ten children of honor (nine boys and one other girl). In 1570, Susan married Reginald Grey of Wrest, Bedfordshire (d. March 17,1573), who was restored as earl of Kent, through her mother’s influence, in 1572. After his death, Susan obtained administration of his estate (he left no will) but was soon involved in litigation with the new earl, her brother-in-law. She spent several years at the court of Queen Elizabeth. As countess of Kent she was a patron of the arts (see the entry for Emilia Bassano). On September 30, 1581, at Stenigot, Lincolnshire, she married John Wingfield (d. June 21, 1596). Their marriage annoyed the queen. In March 1583, she still had not forgiven them for marrying without her permission. Susan brought Withcall, Lincolnshire to the marriage along with the use of property in the Barbican in London and dower rights worth up to £160/year. She and her new husband sold the dower rights to Henry Grey, the new earl of Kent, in November 1585 for £600. Wingfield was a soldier and Susan accompanied him to the Low Countries, giving birth to their son Peregrine there on July 15, 1586. Wingfield served as deputy governor in the Netherlands and in July 1588, based in Geertuidenberg, was made governor. When the city surrendered to the duke of Parma on April 17, 1589, he was allowed to leave with his family, but they were then imprisoned at Breda by the Spanish. There was a price put on their heads by the opposing side, claiming that they were traitors for letting the city fall into enemy hands. Susan’s son was held separately at Dordrecht as security for the family’s debts. Wingfield was still a prisoner in October. The date of his release is unknown. Susan and Peregrine may have been freed earlier. A second son, Robert, was born in July 1591 but died on August 18, 1592. Wingfield died at the battle of Cadiz, serving under the earl of Essex. He left behind over £900 in debts and when Susan renounced administration of the estate, she revealed that the family had been living on credit for the last seven years. Her only income was £70 a year. At the time Wingfield died, she had no money at all. The queen sent her £40 but that did not go far. Susan begged for an annuity and on July 9, 1597 was granted one of £100/year for her life and that of her son. Her brother, Peregrine Bertie, gave Susan a life estate in Willoughby Rents in his London mansion in the Barbican and in his will, dated August 1599 and proved September 12, 1601, left her son an annuity of £20. Susan was still living in 1611. Portrait: by the Master of the Countess of Warwick in 1567 when she was thirteen.

DOROTHY BERWICK (c.1509-1542+)
Dorothy Berwick was the only child of Alfred Berwick of Horsham, Sussex (d.1541+) and Agnes Bradbridge. By 1514, her father was in the service of the 2nd duke of Norfolk and at some point after that Dorothy entered the household of the duchess, Agnes Tylney. She was Chesworth House in Horsham as a chamberer to the dowager duchess and it was there that, in around 1536, she was enlisted by the young Catherine Howard to carry messages to and from Henry Manox, who was employed by the duchess to teach Catherine music. According to the History of Parliament entry for Dorothy’s father, Dorothy gave evidence after Queen Catherine Howard was accused of having taken lovers before she married the king. Dorothy testified that there had been a betrothal between Catherine and Manox at Horsham. Gareth Russell, in Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII (2016), gives Dorothy’s name as Dorothy Barwick, but later mentions a Dorothy Dawby, chamberer to the dowager duchess of Norfolk, as someone who carried messages and gifts between Catherine Howard and Francis Dereham in mid-1538. Since it was Dereham with whom Catherine might have made a pre-contract, it is possible they are the same person. To further confuse the issue, there is also mention of a Dorothy Baskerville in accounts of Catherine Howard’s early life.


ELIZABETH BESELLES (c.1475-c.1520)
Elizabeth Beselles was the only child and heir of William Beselles or Besseles of Besselsleigh, West Hall, Carewell, and Longworth, Berkshire and Grafton and Radcot, Oxfordshire (d. May 1515) and Alice Harcourt (d.1526). She married Richard Fettiplace of East Shefford, Berkshire (c.1456-1511), by whom she had John, Edward, Anthony, John, Thomas, Susan (d. September 23, 1540), Jane, Anne, Dorothy, Mary, Eleanor (d. July 15, 1565), and Elizabeth. Before 1515, she married Sir Richard Elyot or Eliot of Salisbury, Wiltshire (d.1522), Justice of Common Pleas. In 1515, she inherited the manors of Besselsleigh, West Hall, Carwell, and Longworth. In 1518, together with her husband and her daughter, Dorothy Codrynton, she sued Christopher Codrynton in Chancery over his refusal to settle certain lands on Dorothy when she married his son John. Elizabeth died before October 9, 1520, when Elyot wrote a will in which he requested he be buried with her in the Cathedral church of Salisbury.

ANNE BESWICK (1547- January 1,1628/9)
Anne Beswick was the daughter of William Beswick, draper and alderman of London. On February 11, 1565/6, she married William Offley (d. December 1600), a merchant taylor living in the parish of St. Lawrence Pountney. They had fifteen children, most of whom died in infancy. Those who lived longer were Anne (1569-1683), William (b.1570), Martha (1573-1583), Elizabeth (born 1579), Margaret (b.1582), Robert (1583-1623), and Mary (1586-1623). Offley had a black servant named Frances. In his will, dated December 21, 1600 and proved December 24, 1600, he left her ten pounds. The other maidservants received only fifty shillings apiece. According to Miranda Kaufmann, in Black Tudors, Frances remained with Anne for another twenty-five years. In March 1625, “a Christian negro servant . . . unto Lady Bromley” left a legacy of £10 to the poor of St. Mary’s Parish, Putney. Anne had married Sir Henry Bromley of Holt Castle, Worcester (c. 1560-May 15, 1615) on June 7, 1604. One source says they had a son, Henry, but also says he was baptized on May 23, 1600 and buried on August 14, 1604.  The History of Parliament lists Anne Beswick as Bromley’s third wife and gives him a fourth, Anne (d.1628), widow of William Appleby, a merchant of the staple. The Anne Bromley who made her will on December 1, 1628, died on January 1, 1628/9 at Holt Castle at the age of eighty-one years and nine months. She was buried there on January 2. Her will was not proved until February 20, 1629/30 and it makes no mention of John Thornborough, bishop of Worcester (1551-1641), to whom she was supposedly married on February 10, 1622/3.


MAUD BEVIL (d.1550)
Maud (or Matilda) Bevil was the younger daughter and coheir of John Bevil of Gwarnock, Cornwall. She married Sir Richard Grenville of Stowe, Cornwall (c.1494-March 15, 1550). Her sister Mary married John Arundell of Trerice as his first wife. Maud’s children were Roger (d. July 19, 1545), Margaret, John, Mary, and Jane. From October 1535 until October 1540, Sir Richard was marshal of Calais, where his uncle by marriage was governor. During most of that time Maud lived there with him. She is mentioned from time to time in The Lisle Letters, when various correspondents ask to be remembered to her. During a visit by Soeur Anthoinette de Saveuses to Lady Lisle, Maud apparently suggested that if the Frenchwoman sent her some coifs, she could resell them. In her letter to Lady Lisle on February 7, 1539, Soeur Anthoinette suggests that Maud might reimburse Lady Lisle for coifs Lady Lisle paid for but did not find up to her standards. Linen and fine thread were very dear at this time, and the suggested payment for future piecework by a skilled seamstress was five and half sous the piece for coifs for women and seven sous the piece for coifs for men. There is one letter from Maud to Lady Lisle, dated August 31, 1538 and written from Stowe. In a letter to his wife on November 15, 1538, Lord Lisle asks to be remembered to “my nephew Graynfylde and his wife,” indicating that Maud had returned to Calais. In 1549, during the Cornish uprising over the introduction of the new Prayer Book, Sir Richard and his wife and followers took shelter in Trematon Castle. The rebels besieged and then seized the castle. According to Richard Carew’s Survey of Cornwall, “The seely gentlewomen, without regard to sex or shame, were stripped from their apparel to their very smocks, and some of their fingers broken, to pluck away their rings, and Sir Richard himself made an exchange from Trematon Castle to that of Launceston, with the gaol to boot.” Both Richard and Maud remained in gaol until August. His will, made on March 8, 1550 and proved on November 8, 1550, left most of his property to Maud during the minority of their grandson, Richard (June 5, 1541-September 2, 1591). Maud was to have Buckland and the right to cut down as much timber as she pleased to build the “mansion place” there. She was also to have Stowe until Richard came of age. The estate was valued at £237/year. Maud at once preferred a suit to the Court of Wards for the wardship of her grandson, as was customary, but she died just five weeks after her husband. Sir Richard was buried at Kilkhampton on March 24, 1550. Maud was buried there on April 25, 1550.


Bridget Bickerdike was the sister of Robert Bickerdike the martyr (x. August 1586) and was born at Low Hall, Farnham, Yorkshire. She married Thomas Maskew (d.1594), an apothecary in York, by whom she had at least one child. She was in and out of prison for her faith several times and in 1596 was condemned to death but reprieved. She remained in prison until after Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603.



_____ BIGGS (d.1559+) (Christian and maiden names unknown)
The wife of John Biggs was, for a time, the proprietor of the George Inn in Stepney. In 1559, her first husband, Biggs, rented the inn and the ground adjoining it, with the Mill House, from John Field for twenty-one years at the rent of £7/year. When he died, his wife inherited the lease on the property, which had a frontage of 107½ feet. Her second husband was Reinold Rogers. He let the lease expire in 1580 because the property was badly in need of repair. It went next to John Brayne, a theatrical entrepreneur.

Elizabeth Birch was the daughter of Edward Birch of Sandon, Bedfordshire. In around 1550, she married Thomas Jenison or Jenyson (c.1525-November 17, 1587), by whom she had five sons and one daughter, including William (d.1634), John (d.1634+), and Elizabeth (d.1605+). They were living in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London on February 10, 1551 when Jenison was named auditor-general of Ireland for life and the family moved to Dublin. He was removed for misappropriation of Crown funds two years later, although he received a royal pardon in October 1553. From 1560-66 the family was in Berwick, but returned to Dublin when Jenison was restored to his old post in 1566. In 1579, Jenison purchased Walworth Castle, Durham as a family seat. Although Elizabeth’s husband was still auditor-general at the time of his death, he was once again suspected of misappropriating funds and was about to be replaced when he died. By then he held property in Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, and Caernarvonshire and had houses in Dublin, Berwick, and London. He had disowned their eldest son, William, for marrying into a recusant Irish family, and the bulk of his estate went to the second son, John, and to his widow. In 1601, Elizabeth founded a grammar school in Heighington, Durham. On May 14, 1603, during his journey south from Scotland, James I stayed at Walworth Castle. Elizabeth left an estate worth £954 10s. 1d. In her will, she left her disowned son William £20 and six cushions. Her copy of The Book of Martyrs was left jointly to her daughter, Elizabeth Freville, and her two sons.

JULIAN BIRLEY (d. c. 1609)

Julian Birley married William Byrd (d. July 4, 1623) on September 14, 1568 at St. Margaret in the Close. She is said to have been from Lincolnshire. Their children were Christopher, Elizabeth, Mary, Thomas, Edward, and Rachel. Byrd was appointed organist of the Chapel Royal in 1576 and it was probably his importance at court that saved Julian from arrest. Her name appears frequently on lists of recusants from 1577 through the 1580s. Biography: entry in Carole Levin, et al, editors, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen.

GRACE BIRNAND (1563-1635)
Grace Birnand was the only child of William Birnand or Byrnand of Knaresborough, Yorkshire, recorder of York, and Grace Ingleby (d.1563). She was raised by her maternal grandmother at Ripley Castle as a staunch Catholic. She married Ralph Babthorpe (1561-1617), brother of Margaret Babthorpe, in 1578. In 1592, a new campaign was begun against recusant wives of gentlemen who had conformed. On April 13 of that year, Grace was arrested. She appeared in court, together with Lady Constable (Margaret Dormer), Mrs. Metham, Mrs. Ingleby of Ripley, Mrs. Lawson of Brough (Dorothy Constable), and Mrs. Hungate. All had previously been placed with Protestant families in an attempt to convert them, but this ploy had failed. Now they were remanded to Sheriff Hutton Castle, a prison. In 1593, the authorities received a petition from several husbands, including Ralph Babthorpe, on behalf of their imprisoned wives, who had been held for the last eighteen months. At first there was resistance to releasing the women, but the first of them (Mrs. Metham) was freed that November and the others followed in 1594. Grace was the last to be released because she was their leader and because she had her daughter with her in prison and refused to allow the child to attend protestant services. As a result of the persecution suffered by her family for their religious beliefs, Grace and her husband finally left England for the Continent in 1613. He died in Louvain. After she was widowed, Grace and her granddaughter, Grace Constable, entered the Augustinian convent in Louvain. She took the veil in 1623. Grace’s children were Sir William (1580-1635; also forced into exile on the continent), Robert (a Benedictine monk), Ralph and Thomas (Jesuit priests), Katherine, Elizabeth, and Barbara (a nun in the Institute of the Blessed Virgin.) Portrait: Grace and her daughters are shown in one of the illustrations in an early seventeenth century biography of Mary Ward, who received her early religious training in the Babthorpe household.



MARGARET BLACKBORNE or BLAKBORN (d.1562+) (maiden name unknown)
In the 1520s, Margaret Blackborne was a gentlewoman in the service of Marie de Salinas, Lady Willoughby d’Eresby. She had charge of the Willoughby children, two sons who died young and a daughter, Catherine, who married Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. The will of William, Lord Willoughby d’Eresby (1526) calls her “Margaret Blackbourne, bringer up of my children” and leaves her 53s 4d/year, taken out of his lands at Elmham called Saunders, for life. By 1548, Margaret was governess to Catherine’s youngest son, Charles (1538-1551). In the 1540s, along with the duchess, she embraced the New Religion. In 1553, the duchess of Suffolk granted Margaret the wardship of Agnes Woodall or Woodhull, which Lady Suffolk had herself held until then. In 1555, Margaret accompanied the duchess and her second husband, Richard Bertie, into exile. As a result, she lost her property in England. They resided in Wesel, then relocated to Weinheim Castle in April 1556. When the Berties returned to England in 1559, Margaret once again served as governess, this time to the Bertie children, Susan and Peregrine. One of Margaret’s sons, Anthony, was one of the ten children of honor being educated with them in 1562. Although Blackborne seems to be Margaret’s married name and records indicate that she had more than one son, I have as yet found no information on either her husband or her parentage.

In 2007, John A. Clayton, in The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy, published his speculations about the identity of Elizabeth Southern or Southerns, also known as “Old Demdike.” He makes a strong case for her being the daughter of William Blackburn (d.1578) and his wife Elizabeth (d.1551) of Billington, Lancashire. Elizabeth Blackburn was baptized on April 18, 1541. She had a son named Christopher Holgate (c.1560-1611+). On June 15, 1563, she married Thomas Ingham (d.1573) in Whalley parish and they had a daughter, Elizabeth (b.c.1567), who married John Device (d.1600) in 1590. Elizabeth and John Device had five children: William (c.1633+), James (c.1590-1612), Alison (c.1593-1612), Henry (c.1595-1599), and Jennet (c.1600-1636?). Old Demdike was one of the twenty persons, accused of being witches, who were scheduled for trial on August 17-19, 1612. She had confessed to becoming a witch about 1560, when she met her familiar, Tib, at a stone pit in Goldshaw. Mrs. Ann Whittle (Old Chattox) was said to have joined her in practicing witchcraft in 1565. Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth Device, and her grandchildren, James and Alison Device, were also charged with witchcraft. Evidence in the case went back to the 1590s. Old Demdike died in prison before the trial and therefore was not one of those hanged on August 20. A chapbook and a play immortalized the case.




Margaret Blakborne was born near Kellet in Lincolnshire. She was married at least twice and was the widow of a man named Wright when she made her will in 1502. At that time, she ran a bakery from her house in the parish of St. Benedict’s Gracechurch, London, where she requested to be buried. From details in her will, included in Susan E. James, Women’s Voices in Tudor Wills, 1485-1603,it appears that she had no surviving children. She did, however, have apprentices and a half dozen servants. She left her house and bakery to two of the latter, Robert Chante and John Lacy. Other bequests included 10 marks to Annes Blakborne, prentice with Norton the draper, for her marriage; 20s and a fur-lined russet gown to blind Alice of Blakborne; 20s for repairs to London Bridge; and to each of six married women she chose to be beadswomen, one of her spoons with St. Anthony on the head.


Countless women made a career of marriage and of arranging marriages between their children and stepchildren, but Mary Blakeney was one of the few such mothers to be taken to a court of law over the matter at a later date. The daughter of John Blakeney of Sparham, Norfolk, she wed three times, first to Geoffrey Turville of New Park Hall, by whom she had a daughter, second to William St. Barbe of Broadlands, Hampshire (d.1588), by whom she had a daughter, Ursula (1587-1670), and third, c.1589, to Sir Edward Verney of Penley, Hertfordshire and Claydon, Buckinghamshire (1535-January 11, 1600). She had a son by Verney, Edmund (April 7, 1596-October 23, 1642), but Verney’s heir was an older boy, Francis (1584-September 6, 1615). Mary persuaded her husband to divide some property settled on Francis by his uncle with young Edmund and married Francis to her daughter in 1599. As soon as Francis came of age, however, he petitioned the House of Commons to overturn these arrangements. He lost the case, but rather than let his stepmother’s plan succeed, he sold his estates in 1607 and by 1608 had left England. He never returned to his homeland or to the wife who had been forced upon him.


ELIZABETH BLEDLOW (d. October 25, 1556)
Elizabeth Bledlow’s birthdate is given by many genealogies as c.1490 and by the Oxford DNB entry for her second husband as c.1504. She was the daughter of Thomas Bledlow of Bledlow, Hampshire and Elizabeth Starkey. Her inheritance included Sheddon or Sharing Hall and Manytree. Her first husband was Andrew Edmonds of Cressing Temple, Essex (c.1484-June 23, 1523). Her children by Edmonds were Christopher (1521-1569), Frances, and Elizabeth. She then married John Williams, 1stbaron Williams of Thame (1500-October 14, 1559). Their children were Sir Henry (1516-1551), Francis (d.1551), Isabella (d.1587), and Margery (d. December 1599). Elizabeth was buried in Rycote Chapel but her effigy is on her husband’s tomb in Thame Church. Portrait: marble and alabaster effigy, Thame Church.

ANNE BLENNERHASSETT (d. March 6, 1565+)
Anne Blennerhassett was the daughter of John Blennerhassett of Frenze, Norfolk (d. November 1510) and his second wife, Jane Tyndall (d. October 6, 1521). She married Sir Henry Grey (1494-September 24, 1562) and may have been the Lady Grey at Richmond with Princess Mary in 1520 when most of the court was in France at the Field of Cloth of Gold. The other possibilities are Margaret Sutton (1485-1525), widow of Lord Grey of Powis, or the wife of one of the brothers of the 2nd Marquis of Dorset (but not the wife of Lord John Grey, since she is listed sepatately as being present at the Field of Cloth of Gold). Richard Grey, 3rd earl of Kent, was Anne’s husband’s half brother. He had no other heir, but he disregarded their father’s wishes and disposed of his estate before his own death which, according to some sources, took place on May 3, 1523. G. W. Bernard, however, in his article in The Historical Journal Vol. 25 #3 (September 1982), pp. 671-685, “The Fortunes of the Greys, Earls of Kent, in the Early Sixteenth Century,” states that Richard died between March 31 and April 4 in 1524. Sir Henry Grey had difficulty claiming either the estate or the title. In spite of this, it appears that Anne must have been the Countess of Kent who was one of six peers and peeresses to carry Princess Elizabeth’s train when the princess was christened on September 10, 1533. The other possibility is that this was Margaret Finch, widow of the 3rd earl. According to the Bernard article, Sir Henry spent his life living “as a minor Midlands gentleman.” In his efforts to obtain his contested title, he described himself as a “poor younger brother” and his wife as “a poor gentlewoman” and referred to his “great charge of children.” Their son Henry (1520-1545) had three sons, each of whom was successively earl of Kent after the title was officially restored to the family in 1572. In an attempt to help her husband, Anne petitioned both the king and Thomas Cromwell, but by 1541, after Cromwell’s fall from power, there had been no progress in establishing Sir Henry’s right to the title.

JANE BLENNERHASSETT  (c.1473-April 27, 1550)
Jane Blennerhassett was the daughter of John Blennerhassett of Frenze, Norfolk (d. November 1510) and his second wife, Jane Tyndall (d. October 6, 1521). She married Sir Philip Calthorpe of Barnham Thorpe, Norfolk (c.1464-1535) as his second wife. Their children were Henry (1505-1532), Thomas (1507-1559), Anne (1509-between August 22, 1579 and March 28, 1582), and Catherine. Her last years were made difficult by the scandal involving her daughter Anne (see ANNE CALTHORPE). Jane’s epitaph reads as follows:
Here lieth hid und this stone
The wife of Sir Philippe Calthorpe, Knight,
And clepyd Dame Jane, the daughter of one
John Blenerhasset, dsquier he hight,
She loved God’s word, and lived likewise,
She gave to the poor, and prayed for the rich,
She ruled her house in measure and size,
She spent as it came and gathered not much,
The day of April twenty and seven,
God did her call from hence on to heavan. Anno 1550.


AGNES BLEWITT (1509-1578)
Agnes Blewitt (Bluwett/Bewitt) was from Holcombe Regis, Devon (or possibly Scotland). One source states that Agnes was the daughter of Thomas Bewpine and had a first husband named John Blewitt, but most say only that she married William Edwards of North Petherton, Somerset (c.1500-c.1547) by whom she had two sons, William and Henry. Another son, Richard Edwards/Edwardes (March 1525-1566/7), is said in a 1992 history of the Edwards family to have been the illegitimate son of Henry VIII. There is no contemporary evidence for this, but several versions of the story appear online and in the less reliable books on King Henry’s mistresses and bastards. In one account, Agnes becomes the king’s mistress while at court and then cohabits with him at the royal hunting lodge of Huntworth, near North Petherton. As Alison Weir points out in her biography of Mary Boleyn, King Henry is not known to have traveled to that part of England prior to 1535. There is also nothing to indicate that Agnes was ever at court, before or after her marriage to William Edwards. Another account gives the date of Richard’s birth as October of either 1523 of 1525. One genealogy says he was born in Cardiff, Wales. Some accounts say he was raised in Scotland by his mother’s family. One indicates that Agnes was granted land in Scotland by King Henry. Since the king of England owned no land in Scotland before James I took the throne and united the two kingdoms, this seems extremely unlikely. The claim that the king paid for Richard’s education is the most often repeated. The most preposterous story is that Richard Edwardes was murdered by Lord Hunsdon, the son of Mary Boleyn and therefore another possible royal bastard. There is no documentation for any of these claims, nor do I find any indication that, because of her relationship with the king, Agnes was allowed to use the Tudor rose as a personal device. The life dates for Agnes (again unsubstantiated) are from an online genealogy.



ANNE BLOUNT (c.1504-1580+)
Anne (sometimes called Agnes) Blount was the daughter of Sir John Blount of Kinlet, Shropshire (1484-February 14, 1531) and Katherine Peshall (1483-February 1, 1540/1). She married Richard Lacon of Willey, Shropshire (d.1542), her father’s protégé and a prosperous local landowner. Elizabeth Norton, in her biography of Anne’s sister, Bessie Blount, speculates that before Bessie went to court as a maid of honor to Catherine of Aragon, she may, as the eldest daughter, originally have been the one intended to marry Lacon. By Lacon, Anne had Rowland (1537-1608), William (c.1540-before 1609), Edward (1541-d.yng), Elizabeth, Eleanor, Olivia, Albora, and Catherine. Anne’s second husband, to whom she was married by 1554, was Thomas Ridley of Caughley, Shropshire (d.1580), by whom she had two children. Only one, Cecily (d.1595), lived to adulthood. Ridley was buried on September 1, 1580 at Stottesdon. Anne was one of the executors of his will. Portrait: effigy on her parents’ tomb at Kinlet, Shroprshire.

ANNE BLOUNT (d. April 24, 1594)
Anne Blount was one of the four daughters of Walter Blount of Blount (or Blunt) Hall, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire (d.1543+) and Margaret (or Mary) Sutton. Anne was left a bequest of 100 marks by her brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Pope, in 1559. According to the will of Richard Blount of Williton, Somersetshire and Coleman Street, London (d. November 16, 1575) written on December 24, 1575, Anne Blount, his cousin, was living in his house in London. He left her a pair of gold bracelets. “Anne Blunt of St. James Clerkenwell” made her will on April 23, 1594. It was proved May 13, 1594. In it she leaves her sister, Lady Sydenham (Mary Blount), £20 and a “jewel with two agates and set about with pearl.” She also mentions her brother Walter and the children of a sister Ellyn (d.1577+). Anne was buried in Clerkenwell, where her date of death is, unaccountably, recorded as April 24, 1503. For the entire will, see http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com.


BARBARA BLOUNT (c.1538-February 28, 1563/4)
Barbara Blount was the daughter of Sir Richard Blount of Mapledurham, Oxfordshire and Dedisham, Sussex (d. August 11, 1564) and Elizabeth Lister (1520-1582). In about 1551, she married Sir Francis Shirley of West Grinstead, Sussex (d. March 20, 1578), by whom she had Thomas (1555-1606), Richard (d. yng), Francis (d.1559), William (d.1568), Richard (d.1614), Elizabeth (c.1555-1624+), and Philippa (d.1591). In 1557, when her husband was in the Fleet for debt, his mother died at West Grinstead. Shirley ordered Barbara to take their servants and enter the house there and hold it. She did so, and sold some of the plate to maintain her household. Her brother-in-law, William Shirley, who had been made administrator of his father’s will and of his mother’s estate, later sued Francis for theft and violence. Barbara was buried at West Grinstead.

CATHERINE BLOUNT (c.1518-February 25, 1558/9)
Catherine Blount was the daughter of William Blount, 4th baron Mountjoy (1479-November 8, 1534) and Alice Kebel (1482-June 8, 1521). She married Sir John Champernowne of Modbury Devon (c.1541/2), by whom she had a son, Henry (1538-1570). By 1547, she had married Sir Maurice Berkeley of Bruton (1508-August 11, 1581). Their children were Henry (c. 1547-1601), Edward (d.1596), Francis (d. December 20, 1615), Gertrude (d.1581+), Elizabeth (d.1581+), Margaret (d.1581+), Anne (d.1581+), and possibly Frances. Champernowne’s entry in the History of Parliament gives her date of death as March 1560. Berkeley’s entry confuses Catherine with Katherine Champernowne Astley, Princess Elizabeth’s governess. Portrait: effigy on Berkeley tomb in Bruton.

CATHERINE BLOUNT (April 11, 1563-1620+)
Catherine Blount was the daughter of Sir Michael Blount of Mapledurham, Oxfordshire (d. November 11, 1609) and Mary Moore (d. December 23, 1592). Her father was Lord Lieutenant of the Tower of London from 1590-95 but lost that post for saying he would support the earl of Hertford as successor to the queen. After that, he was held there for a time as a prisoner himself. He had a claim to the Mountjoy barony in 1606 but did not pursue it. Catherine married John Croke of Holborn, London and Studley, Oxfordshire (1553-January 20, 1619/20). According to his entry in the History of Parliament, they had five sons. Croke was knighted in 1603. After 1611, they made their home at Chilton, Buckinghamshire. After the death of her first husband, Catherine married William Dormer (d.1624), vicar of Olney. Portrait: double portrait with her first husband (note: some online sources create confusion by identifying her as “his wife, Katherine Dormer.”




ELIZABETH BLOUNT (c.1500-1540)
Better known as Bess or Bessie, Elizabeth Blount was the daughter of Sir John Blount of Kinlet, Shropshire (1484-February 14, 1531), and Katherine Peshall (1483-February 1, 1540/1). Most sources agree that she was at court as a “damsel of the most serene queen” Catherine of Aragon by 1513, and probably first arrived at court in March of 1512 when she was at least twelve years old and probably closer to fourteen. Twelve was the minimum age, at that time, that a girl could be accepted for a court position. It was sixteen under Jane Seymour. It is possible that Elizabeth’s father brought her with him to court when she was even younger. He was an esquire of the body to Henry VII and became one of the King’s Spears under Henry VIII in 1509. Bessie was a blonde with blue eyes and fair skin, fitting the Tudor ideal of beauty. On May 8, 1513, she was paid 100s, recorded in the King’s Book of Payments, half the annual stipend for a maid of honor to the queen. From Michaelmas 1513, she received full wages of 200s per annum. Just when she became Henry VIII’s mistress is uncertain. Some sources suggest that Bessie was replaced in a masque at Yuletide 1514 because the queen knew of the affair. Others believe that Bessie’s intimacy with the king did not begin much before July 1515, when her father was granted a two-year advance on his wages as a Spear. Dr. Beverly A. Murphy’s theory, in her biography of Henry Fitzroy, is that Henry did not become involved with Bess Blount until around April 1518 and that the affair lasted only until November. After Henry Fitzroy (June 18,1519-July 22,1536), was conceived, Bessie was lodged in a manor house belonging to the Priory of St. Lawrence at Blackmore, near Chelmsford, Essex, to await the birth. At some point after her son was born, she was married to Gilbert Tailbois or Talboys (d.1530). A daughter, Elizabeth Talboys (d.1563), was born c.1520. Two years later, an Act of Parliament granted Bess her father-in-law’s lands for life (he had been declared insane). In June 1529, even though his father was still living, Bess’s husband was called to take his place in Parliament as Baron Tailbois of Kyme. They had two sons, George, 2nd baron (1523-September 1540) and Robert, 3rd baron (1524-March 12,1541). During Bess’s widowhood, Lord Leonard Grey proposed marriage but she chose Edward Fiennes de Clinton (1512-January 16,1585) as her second husband, marrying him c.1534. They had three daughters, Bridget, Catherine (d.1621), and Margaret. The date of Bess’s death is unknown, but occurred between February 5, 1539, when she received a grant in relation to Tattershall Castle, and June 1541, when Clinton received a grant with his second wife, Ursula. A Lady Clinton was appointed to wait upon Anne of Cleves in late 1539 and early 1540. This may have been Bess, or her mother-in-law, or even Clinton’s second wife, Ursula Stourton. Bess’s most recent biographer, Elizabeth Norton, suggests that she died giving birth to her daughter Margaret. Biographies: Elizabeth Norton, Bessie Blount: Mistress to Henry VIII (2012); W. S. Childe-Pemberton, Elizabeth Blount and Henry VIII (1913); Oxford DNB entry under “Blount [married names Tailboys, Fiennes de Clinton], Elizabeth;” “Elizabeth Blount of Kinlet” by M Morton Bradley is a 26 page, privately printed pamphlet. Portraits: effigy on the side of her parents’ tomb in Kinlet Church; funeral brass from St. Mary and All Saints Church, South Kyme, Lincolnshire.

ELIZABETH BLOUNT (d. August 11, 1587)
Elizabeth Blount was the daughter of Sir Richard Blount of Mapledurham, Oxfordshire and Dedisham, Sussex (d. August 11, 1564) and Elizabeth Lister (1520-1582). She married Nicholas St. John of Lydiard House and Purley Manor, Wiltshire (d. November 8, 1589). Their children were John (d. September 20, 1594), Richard, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Oliver (1562-December 1630), and Catherine. Her son John erected a memorial to his mother in 1592. Portrait: effigy in St. Mary, Lydiard Tregoze, Wiltshire.

ELIZABETH BLOUNT (d. October 27, 1593)
Elizabeth Blount was the daughter of Sir Walter Blount of Blount’s Hall, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire (d.1543+) and Margaret (or Mary) Sutton. She married three times. Her first husband was Sir Anthony Beresford or Basford of Bentley, Derbyshire, by whom she had a son, John Beresford. On January 1, 1541, she became the third wife of Sir Thomas Pope of Tittenhanger, Hertfordshire (c.1507-January 29, 1558/9). According to Pope’s entry in the Oxford DNB, Elizabeth was “ambitious and intelligent.” In 1546, they were living in Bermondsey. In 1547, they moved to Clerkenwell. From 1556-1558, Sir Thomas was the guardian of Elizabeth Tudor, Queen Mary’s sister and heir, at Hatfield. At first, he entertained the princess with masques, pageants, and plays, but the queen put a stop to these amusements, calling them “follies.” By 1555, Sir Thomas had begun planning what was to become Trinity College, Oxford and after his death his widow continued to be influential during the foundation’s early years. Shortly after Pope’s death, she was courted by Francis Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury. He visited her at Tittenhanger in 1559 but in December she sent back the ring he had given her. He agreed he would no longer court her, but when he was ill in April 1560, she wrote to him and the negotiations for marriage resumed. She demanded her own way concerning furniture, household stuff, and jewelry. Her late husband’s debts complicated matters. In the end, there was no wedding. Shrewsbury died on September 25, 1560. As her third husband, Elizabeth married Sir Hugh Paulet of Hinton St. George, Somerset (1500-December 6, 1573). The marriage settlement is dated November 12, 1560. She was his second wife. After Paulet died, Elizabeth openly practiced her religion and was presented as a recusant and accused of harboring Jesuits in her house in Clerkenwell. Richard Blount, overseer of Paulet’s will and, apparently, Elizabeth’s nephew, held various chests and goods for her, probably to protect them from being seized by the government. In his will in 1575, which named her as one of the overseers, he gave instructions for their return and also left her a cross of gold with four diamonds and a portique of gold. Portraits: alabaster effigy on tomb in Trinity College Chapel; portrait at Trinity and copies elsewhere.


ELLYN BLOUNT (d.1577+)
Ellen Blount (sometimes spelled Blunt) was the daughter of Sir Walter Blount of Blount’s Hall, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire (d.1543+) and Margaret (or Mary) Sutton. She was a maid of honor to Princess Mary before February 22, 1545/6, when she married her first husband, William Goodwin of Bermondsey, Surrey (d. November 30, 1554), auditor to the queen. They had four children, Thomas (b. 1546), Elizabeth (bp. September 4, 1550), Walter (bp. August 6, 1552) and Pope (d. 1594+). This last child was named after her brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Pope. Ellen’s second husband was John Felton (d.1570). There are two records of this marriage, one on June 22, 1557 in Pentlow, Essex and the other on July 30, 1557 in St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, where the family occupied the former Bermondsey Abbey. Three daughters in succession, in 1560, 1564, and 1565, were baptized Frances Felton in St. Mary Magdalen. Ellyn had at least two other children, an older daughter, Johanne (d.1594+) and a son, Thomas (c.1567-1588). In 1568, Felton is mentioned in records in connection with the sale of £265 worth of ingots for an alchemical fraud. He appears to have been quite wealthy, but he was also a radical in religion. On May 25, 1570, he nailed a copy of the papal bull excommunicating Queen Elizabeth to the door of St. Paul’s. He was arrested, charged with heresy and treason, and executed in St. Paul’s Churchyard on August 8, 1570, thus becoming a Roman Catholic martyr. Joan’s daughter Frances, in 1627, claimed that after Felton’s death her mother found favor with Queen Elizabeth, having been her childhood playmate, and was granted permission to keep a priest in the house. This seems unlikely. Joan’s third husband was John Strangman, another recusant. She brought £50 per annum, a relatively small sum, to the marriage. Her son Thomas, who later became a Franciscan friar, served as a page to a Catholic gentlewoman, Elizabeth, Lady Lovell, when he was a boy (see ELIZABETH PARIS). This same Lady Lovell helped arrange his release when he was imprisoned for his faith in the late 1580s. He was executed on August 28, 1588, following in his father’s footsteps to become a Catholic martyr. It is likely that his mother had died before then, although he still had several maternal aunts and a maternal uncle living. She was definitely deceased by April 23, 1594, when her sister Anne made her will.

GERTRUDE BLOUNT (d. September 25, 1558)
Gertrude Blount was the daughter of William Blount, 4th baron Mountjoy (1479-November 8, 1534) and Elizabeth Say (1477-July 1506). On October 25, 1519, Gertrude married Henry Courtenay (1496-December 9, 1538), who was created marquis of Exeter in 1525. King Henry provided jousts at Greenwich to celebrate the wedding at a cost of £200 4s. 9d. Gertrude had two sons, Henry (d.yng) and Edward Courtenay, earl of Devon (1526-September 18, 1556). She spent most of her life on the brink of being charged with treason because of her husband’s claim to the throne and her own devout Catholicism. She has been described as both a “pathetic, ailing, devout, rather silly woman, with the credulous faith of the women of her kind” who “sought consolation in the compromising visions and prophesies of the ridiculous Nun of Kent” (A. L. Rowse) and as an “energetic, high-spirited woman” who was the first to speak openly to Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, of rebellion (Garrett Mattingly). In 1532, she was forbidden to visit King Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary Tudor, for fear she would encourage Mary’s defiance of her father. After she was named in the indictment against Elizabeth Barton (the Nun of Kent), Gertrude admitted she had gone to see her once, in disguise, and had later received her in her home at Horsley. Gertrude wrote an abject letter of apology to the king and was pardoned. In 1535, Gertrude was visiting Chapuys in disguise and promised him the support of her Blount connections in any attempt to make Mary queen. In 1537, at the same time she was carrying Prince Edward to his christening, she was also establishing contact with her husband’s cousin, Cardinal Pole. In the fall of 1538, her plotting came to light. Gertrude, her husband and son, and the entire Pole family save for the Cardinal, who was not in England, were arrested in November. The inventory taken in November 1558 lists five gentlewomen in the household: Constance Bownetayne (50; unmarried), Margaret Brewne (56; unmarried), Joan Grasgon (Spaniard; 30; unmarried; good needlewoman and honest), Joan Cotton (23; unmarried), and Anne Browne (22; unmarried; plays virginals and lute). Elizabeth Darrell (see her entry) was also part of that household. So was a fool named William Tremayle. Incriminating letters were found in a coffer belonging to Gertrude. Exeter was executed. Gertrude and her son were attainted in July 1539, but eventually she was pardoned. She was released in 1540. Her son remained in the Tower until Mary Tudor became queen in 1553. Under Mary, Gertrude was a lady of the bedchamber and was granted all of her husband’s impounded goods as well as several estates. Her son, who was created earl of Devon, was considered for a time to be a candidate to marry the queen. When Mary expressed a preference for Philip of Spain, Devon aligned himself with the rebels of 1554 and was returned to the Tower for a time before being transferred to Framlingham Castle and then released. When he went abroad, his mother temporarily gave up her post at court, but she had returned by August 5, 1555, when her son wrote to her to ask her help in defending him from rumors that he was again involved in treason. He died in Padua in 1556. Gertrude did not survive the reign of Queen Mary, dying just two months before her former mistress. A monument in Gertrude’s memory was erected in Wimborne Minster, Dorset. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Courtenay [née Blount], Gertrude.”



KATHERINE BLOUNT (c.1565-1629)
Katherine Blount was the daughter of Edward Blount. At some point after August 1573, she married, as his second wife, Sir James Croft of Croft Castle, Herefordshire (c.1518-September 4, 1590), comptroller of the royal household. He had three sons and four daughters by his first wife but no children by Katherine. Although Croft was granted lands in Hereford and Kent, by 1583 he was pleading poverty. On June 10, 1581, Katherine served as one of the godmothers to Katherine, daughter of Dr. John Dee. Croft was buried in Westminster Abbey.




MARGARET BLOUNT (October 3, 1474-June 1509)
Margaret Blount was the daughter of Simon Blount of Mangotsfield and Bitton, Gloucestershire (1452-1477) and Eleanor Daubeney. By August 1492, and possibly as early as 1490, she married Sir John Hussey of Sleaford, Lincolnshire (1465/6-June 29, 1537), later created Baron Hussey. Their children were Sir William (c.1493-January 19, 1556/7) and Gilbert, and possibly one other son. See also ANNE GREY (1493-1545).



SARAH BLOUNT (1580-December 3, 1655)
Sarah Blount was the daughter and heir of William Blount, Esquire, not to be confused with William Blount, 7th Lord Mountjoy (1561-1655). She married first, as his third wife, Sir Thomas Smythe of Westenhanger or Ostenhanger Castle, Kent (c.1558-September 4, 1625). They had four children, Sir John, Margaret, and two sons who died before 1625, when Smythe died of the plague. Sarah’s second husband, to whom she was married early in 1626, was Robert Sidney, earl of Leicester (November 19, 1563-July 13, 1626). She was his second wife and her son, John Smythe, later married one of his daughters. Portrait: painted in 1599 when she was nineteen.



SYBIL BLYCKE or BLIKE  (1554-February 1575/6)
Sybil Blycke or Blike was the daughter and heir of Gabriell Blycke of Twyning, Gloucestershire and Massington, Herefordshire (c.1520-c.1592) and Margaret Morton (d.1592+). In 1572, she married Francis Clare of Ludlow. She died a fortnight after giving birth to a stillborn daughter. Portrait: mother and daughter are shown in effigy on their tomb in Twyning, erected by Francis Clare in 1577.


ANNE BLYTH (d. April 1,1615)
Anne Blyth was the daughter of Dr. John Blyth or Blythe, first regius professor of physic at Cambridge (1506-1568), and Alice Cheke (d. February 22, 1549). She married Peter Osborne of Tyld Hall, Lachingdon and South Fambridge, Essex and Chicksands, Bedfordshire (1521-June 7, 1592). They lived in Ivy Lane, London, where Sir John Cheke (June 16, 1514-September 13, 1557), tutor and close friend of King Edward VI and also Anne’s uncle, lived with them after his release from prison in 1557. When Mary Tudor became queen in 1554, Cheke fled the country, leaving his family behind. In the spring of 1556, he journeyed to Brussels at the invitation of Sir John Mason. On May 15, he was kidnapped and sent back to England to stand trial for heresy. He was in the Tower on June 1. It was after his release that he moved in with the Osbornes. He died at their house. His widow left her sons—Henry (c.1548-1586), John (1549-1580), and Edward (1550-1563)—with Osborne to be raised. They became part of a family that was already large and growing larger. Anne and Peter Osborne had twenty-two children, eleven sons and eleven daughters, including John (1552-1628), Thomas, Christopher (c.1557-1600), Magdalen, and Katherine (d. February 11, 1615). A close friend of Sir John Cheke, John Harington, the gentleman Cheke asked to look after his wife while he was abroad, wrote one of his poems as an acrostic to a lady named Osborn. Harington’s biographer, Ruth Hughey, suggests that this was Anne Blyth. It reads:
Of hew right faire, a face both good and sweete
Sober of cheare, joyned with singuler grace
Bewtie and vertue, heare in tryumphe meete
Of force so even, as neither geveth place
Rudelesse her maners and wemlesse her wayes
Nedelesse and thancklesse, not cawselesse I praise
Anne died at Tyld Hall, Lockingdon, Essex, at the age of seventy-nine. Portrait: inscribed with her name and date of death; it can be viewed on line at the Geni genealogy site.


Elizabeth Board was the daughter of George Board of Cuckfield, Sussex. She married William Walsh of Abberley, Worcestershire (c.1561-1622), who was knighted in 1603. They had no children. It is possible she is the Elizabeth, Lady Walshe in a portrait dated 1589 and presently owned by the York Museums Trust. See ELIZABETH STONOR (d.1560) for more information.

JOAN BOCHER (x. May 2, 1550)
Joan Bocher’s parentage is unknown and her surname is also uncertain, since she was also known as Joan Knell, and Joan of Kent. She was imprisoned in Canterbury before coming to London. She was probably married to a man named Thombe, a German tradesman who lived in that city. In the early 1540s, Joan appeared at the royal court, distributing copies of Tyndale’s New Testament. In 1543, she was arrested and charged with heresy, but because she had committed her offenses before February 1539, she could invoke King Henry’s pardon to Anabaptists and Sacramentaries. In 1548, after Edward VI became king, Joan was tried a second time. In April 1549 she was brought before Archbishop Cranmer’s special commission to deal with heretics, as was Thombe. He recanted, but Joan refused and forced Cranmer to excommunicate her. She was imprisoned for more than a year while attempts were made to show her the error of her ways, but in the end she was burnt as a heretic at Smithfield. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Bocher, Joan;” Elizabeth Norton’s The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women, Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen.

MARIE BOCHETEL (d. December 1586)
Marie Bochetel was the daughter of Jacques Bochetel, Seigneur de Brouilliamenon, and Marie de Morogues. Her wealthy family was in royal service. She was raised a devout Catholic. According the John Bossy in Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair, “she made her own financial and sometimes political arrangements.” On June 26, 1575, she married Michel de Castelnau, Sieur de la Mauvissière (c.1520-1592), the French ambassador to England and a man at least thirty years her senior. In his Under the Molehill: An Elizabethan Spy Story, Bossy gives Jean de Morvillier, bishop of Orleans (d.1577), a principal royal councillor, credit for arranging the marriage. Marie was in England with her husband for the next six years, during which time she bore him four children: Edouard-Robert, Jacques, Katherine-Marie, and Elisabeth. In 1581, she returned to France with her children. When she returned to England, probably in August 1583, the two boys remained there. She sent her daughter Elisabeth to board with a Catholic family near Richmond, but Katherine-Marie, aged about five in 1583, remained in London with her parents. The French embassy was Salisbury Court, located between Fleet Street and the Thames. During her second sojourn in England, Marie was almost constantly pregnant, suffering at least one miscarriage and giving birth, in June 1585 to a daughter who lived only a short time. Bossy recounts difficulties with the neighbors. One disputed ownership of the stables. Another was engaged in a rebuilding project in August of 1584, during which workers “smashed Castelnau’s drains, covered his windows with filth and took away his light.” Complaints led to fights. A boy lost an eye. Ruffians chased the ambassador’s secretary and his daughter’s tutor through the house, “smashing up the parlour and terrifying Madame, who was in bed.” A complaint to Sir Francis Walsingham brokered a compromise. Walsingham’s daughter Frances, Lady Sidney, was one of Marie’s friends, to whom she paid visits at Barn Elms. Marie traveled into the countryside mounted on an ass loaned to her by the Walsinghams. Although neither she nor her husband spoke English, Marie also had friends among the English Catholics. The family returned to France in September 1585 and Marie died in childbirth in December of the following year. She made her will on November 19, 1586.

Cecilia or Cecily Bodenham was the daughter of Roger Bodenham of Rotherwas, Herefordshire (d.1514) and Joane Bromwich. She became a nun at Kingston St. Michael in Wiltshire. In 1511, by which time she was prioress there, a curate of Castle Combe robbed the priory and kidnapped Cecily, but he apparently returned her. In 1534, she borrowed money to secure her election as abbess of Wilton, where the post had been vacant for more than a year. She paid £100 to Lord Cromwell to secure her election and took over in May. During her tenure, she leased Fuggleston Manor, held by the abbey, to Henry Bodenham, doubtless a relative, but when she surrendered the abbey on March 25, 1539, she claimed to be “without father, brother, or any assured friend” and was granted a house at Fovant, together with orchards, gardens, and meadows, as well as an annuity of £100. She lived there with ten of the thirty-three nuns who had been at Wilton before the dissolution. Her will is dated 1543. She was nearly sixty years old when she died.  Biography: Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle, “Portrait of a Young Woman, ” Ricardian Register (Spring 2003). Portrait: according to Hatle, the portrait of “a woman of the Bodenham family” in the Minneapolis Institute of Art is Cecily Bodenham, but in his A Queen of New Invention: Portraits of Lady Jane Grey Dudley, J. Stephen Edwards, following the 1915 identification made by M. H. Dodd in Notes and Queries, refutes this and further argues that the portrait, dated c.1550-1555, is unlikely to be anyone in the Bodenham family.



DENISE or DIONYSE BODLEY (d. December 2, 1560)
Denise or Dionyse Bodley was the daughter of Thomas Bodley of Exeter and London (1460-1492), a tailor (in some records he’s identified as a grocer), and Joan Leche (d.1530). She was raised by her mother’s second husband, Thomas Bradbury (1450-January 1510), a mercer who was Lord Mayor of London in 1509. In his will, proved February 27, 1509/10, Bradbury left a life interest in the manor of Westcot or Westcourt in Gillingham, Kent to his widow, after which it was to go to Denise. Denise married another mercer, Nicholas Leveson of London and Prestwood, Staffordshire (d. August 20, 1539). As her mother’s only surviving child, Denise received two more manors upon that lady’s death, Black Notley and Staunton, both acquired by Lady Bradbury during her second widowhood. Denise and Nicholas had eighteen children, eight sons and ten daughters, including Jane or Joan (d. before 1560), Grisel (d. before 1560), Mary (d.1581+), Alice (1523-April 8, 1561), John (d.1551/2), Thomas (1532-April 21, 1576), Nicholas (d. 1568), William (d.1593), and Denise. In his will, dated November 7, 1536 and proved October 13, 1539, Leveson left his wife his dwelling house and garden in Lyme Street in the parish of St. Andrew Undershaft, London, land in Gillingham and Halling, Kent, a house, tenements, and cattle in Essex, and the plate and furnishings of the London house. As a widow, Denise took over her husband’s business, took apprentices of her own, and exported wool as a merchant of the staple. She was the largest mercer-shipper of wool in the first year of Edward VI’s reign, shipping over 105 sacks. She received a license to ship wool to Bruges in 1558-9, after the loss of Calais. When she died, she left £10 to the Mercers for a “breakfast or other banquet” to be held within a month of her death. Her will, written March 13, 1559 and August 1, 1560 and proved December 20, 1560, can be found at www.oxford-shakespeare.com. Portrait: effigy in small brass in St. Andrew Undershaft, London, with her husband and eighteen children.

Joan or Johanna Bodley was the daughter of James Bodley of Saffron Walden, Essex (d.1514), a mercer, and Joan Strachey. She married Guy Crafford of St. Helen without Bishopsgate, London and Rayneham, Essex (d.1533) by whom she had several children including Arthur (d. May 1, 1600). Anne F. Sutton, in her biography of Lady Joan Bradbury, Joan’s grandmother in Medieval London Widows 1300-1500, gives a family tree that does not list Arthur but does give Mary, three unnamed daughters, John, Nicholas, and Edward. Crafford was a lawyer. On October 3, 1539, he and Johanna were granted two messuages in St. Helens by Henry VIII in exchange for £54 and a yearly rent of 6s. 8d. In 1561, Joan was left £20 and “a ring of gold of the value of 30s” in the will of Denise Leveson (née Bodley), her aunt. The will of Joan, widow of Guy Crafford, was proved in 1584.





ALICE BOLEYN (1487-November 1, 1538)
Alice Boleyn was the daughter of Sir William Boleyn (1447-October 10, 1505) and Margaret Butler (1465-1539/40), daughter of the earl of Ormond. She married Sir Robert Clere of Ormesby St. Margaret, Norfolk (c.1452-August 10, 1529), as his second wife, in 1506. They had three sons, Sir John (c.1511-1557), Richard (d. by the age of twenty-two), and Sir Thomas (d. April 14, 1545). In 1520 she was at the Field of Cloth of Gold. According to Lauren Mackay’s Among the Wolves at Court: The Untold Story of Thomas and George Boleyn, Alice asked her brother for legal advice in 1527. After Thomas Boleyn advised her to write to Thomas Cromwell, Cromwell agreed to counsel and advise her. Later he suggested that Boleyn to go to Cardinal Wolsey to settle the matter, which may have been an action for debt. The details of the case are elusive, but the dispute was with Elizabeth Fyneux (née Paston), widow of William Clere, Alice’s stepson. On the death of her husband, Alice inherited for life nearly twenty manors, most on the east coast of Norfolk. His will, dated August 1, 1529, was proved July 4, 1531. In 1533, Princess Elizabeth was given a household at Hatfield with her half sister Mary as a lady in waiting. Lady Clere, who was Anne Boleyn’s aunt, was made governess to the Lady Mary, as the king’s out-of-favor elder daughter was then known. She is reputed to have befriended Mary. Her sister Anne, Lady Shelton, was in charge of the joint household. Alice made her will on October 28, 1538. It was proved January 23, 1538/9. She was buried in the church of St. Margaret, Ormesby.

AMATA BOLEYN (c.1485-1543+)
Amata or Amy Boleyn (sometimes called Jane) was the daughter of Sir William Boleyn (1447-October 10, 1505) and Margaret Butler (1465-1539/40), daughter of the earl of Ormond. She married Sir Philip Calthorpe of Ewerton, Suffolk (1480-April 7, 1549) on November 4, 1518. They had one daughter, Elizabeth (1521-May 26, 1578). In mid-October 1521, when Mary Tudor was five years old, Lady Calthorpe replaced Lady Bryan as her governess and Sir Philip was put in charge of the household at joint wages of £40 per annum. In 1525, when Mary set up her household at Ludlow as Princess of Wales, Calthorpe was her vice-chamberlain and his wife was one of her gentlewomen. She sent Mary a New Year’s gift in 1542/3.

ANNE BOLEYN (c.1436-1510)
Anne (sometimes called Elizabeth) Boleyn was the daughter of Geoffrey Boleyn (1406?-1463), Lord Mayor of London, and Anne Hoo (d.1484). In c.1461, she married Sir Henry Heydon of Baconthorpe and Heydon, Norfolk (1442-1503). Their children were Bridget, Dorothy, John (1472-August 16, 1550), Anne or Amy (1469-1509), Elizabeth (d. by 1499), and William (d. by 1510). In his will, Sir Henry divided most of his goods between his widow and his heir. He left his wife any of his English books that she wanted. In her will, Anne left her plate, jewels, and most of her household goods to her two remaining daughters, Bridget, who was married to William Paston, and Dorothy, who was the first wife of Thomas Brooke, Lord Cobham, and to their husbands and children.

ANNE BOLEYN (c.1475-December 1556)
Anne Boleyn was the daughter of Sir William Boleyn (1447-October 10, 1505) and Margaret Butler (1465-1539/40), daughter of the earl of Ormond. Wikipedia gives her life dates as November 28, 1475-January 6, 1555/6. She married Sir John Shelton of Shelton, Norfolk (c.1472-December 21, 1539) and was the mother of Sir John (1503-November 15, 1558), Sir Ralph (d. September 26, 1561), Anne (d. December 1563), Gabrielle, a nun at Barking (d. October 1558), Elizabeth (d.1561+), Margaret (d. before September 11, 1583), Thomas, Mary (1512?-January 1571), Emma (d.1556+), and Amy (d. November 1579). In 1533, she was put in charge of King Henry VIII’s daughters, the baby Elizabeth and Mary, who had been declared illegitimate. She was specifically instructed by her niece, Queen Anne Boleyn, to teach the Lady Mary her place and in February of 1534 she was reprimanded for showing too much sympathy for her charge. According to Eustache Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador, she said that “even if the princess were only the bastard of a poor gentleman, she deserved honor and good treatment for her goodness and virtues.” On the other hand, Lady Shelton was said to have boxed Mary’s ears and on one occasion in March of 1534, when Mary refused to climb into a litter with Lady Shelton because that would have meant following behind Elizabeth (a matter of precedence), Lady Shelton ordered one of gentlemen of the household to pick Mary up and force her into the litter. In September of 1534, when Mary was ill, Lady Shelton sent for an apothecary. Unfortunately, the pills he provided made matters worse and for some time afterward, Lady Shelton feared she would be accused of trying to poison her charge. In February 1535, Chapuys reported that she had been reduced to tears by the possibility that something might happen to Mary and she would be blamed for not being vigilant enough. In January 1536, Lady Shelton was the one who told Mary that her mother, Catherine of Aragon, was dead. Some sources say she showed little sympathy in doing so. After Catherine’s death, Queen Anne sent orders to Lady Shelton that she should no longer try to pressure Mary into submitting to the king. Some sources paint Lady Shelton as Mary’s tormentor, who changed her attitude only after she was told by Dr. Butts that there were rumors in London that she was poisoning Mary. It has also been said that after she learned from her daughter, Margaret (Madge) Shelton, who was a maid of honor to Queen Anne and possibly King Henry’s mistress, that the queen was losing her influence with the king, Lady Shelton began to accept bribes from Chapuys to let his servants in to visit Mary. After Jane Seymour became queen, Lady Shelton retired, but one of her sons joined Mary’s household and was still in Mary’s service when Mary succeeded her brother Edward to the throne in 1553, a small indication that Lady Shelton was not entirely a villain. Some sources give Lady Shelton a second husband, Sir Thomas Calthorpe (1507-1559). Lady Shelton’s will, dated December 19, 1556, was proved on January 8, 1557. Portrait: stained glass window, St. Mary’s Church, Shelton, Norfolk; in 1528, Anne and her husband had their portraits painted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

ANNE BOLEYN (c.1501-x.May 19, 1536)
Boleyn was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn, later earl of Wiltshire (1477-March 12, 1539) and Elizabeth Howard (1476-April 3, 1538). She was a maid of honor to Catherine of Aragon when she caught King Henry VIII’s eye and married the king in 1533 after he divorced his first wife. She had one child, Elizabeth Tudor, and several miscarriages. Charged with adultery and incest, she was executed so that King Henry could take a third wife, Jane Seymour. Many aspects of Anne Boleyn’s life, starting with the date of her birth, are subject to debate. Biographies: Mary Louise Bruce’s Anne Boleyn, E. W. Ives’s The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Retha Warnicke’s The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn, G. W. Bernard’s Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attraction, Alison Weir’s The Lady in the Tower, and many others. Portraits: There are a number of portraits said to be of Anne Boleyn, including one showing her as the queen on a playing card.





MARY BOLEYN (c.1498-July 1543)
Mary Boleyn was Queen Anne Boleyn’s sister, the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, earl of Wiltshire (1477-March 12, 1539) and Elizabeth Howard (1476-April 3, 1538). It has long been said  that because of her father’s career as an ambassador to foreign courts, Mary accompanied Mary Tudor to France in 1513 and was allowed to remain when most of the entourage was sent home by King Louis XII. When Mary Tudor, widowed, returned to England, Mary Boleyn then entered the service of the new queen, Claude, and allegedly became one of the many mistresses of King Francis I. Alison Weir’s 2011 biography disputes this and Lauren Mackay’s biography of Thomas and George Boleyn finds no documentation to show that Mary ever left England. Mackay also feels Mary was younger than Anne Boleyn, born after 1501. She married William Carey (c.1496-1528) on February 4, 1520. There is considerable debate over almost all the dates in her life, starting with the birth order of the Boleyn siblings. Another source gives her birth date as c.1499 and yet another has her marrying Carey at age 12. The date of her wedding is confirmed by an entry in the King’s Book of Payments in 1520 for “The King’s offering on Saturday (4th Feb) at the marriage of Mr. Care and Mary Bullayne, 6s. 8d.” There were two Carey children, Henry and Catherine. The birth dates and the paternity of both are at the center of more controversy. There is no doubt that Mary Boleyn was the mistress of Henry VIII, but exactly when and whether she bore him one or more children is not clear. Dates for Catherine’s birth range from 1522 to 1529. The reasoning in a recent article, backed up by the records kept by Catherine’s husband, seems most logical to me. See Sally Varlow’s “Sir Francis Knollys’s Latin dictionary: new evidence for Katherine Carey,” in Historical Research 80 (209) pp. 315-323. Varlow argues for a birthdate between March 1523 and April 1525. This would make Catherine the older child and the most likely to be the king’s. Dates for Henry Carey’s birth range from 1524 to 1526 with March 4, 1526 as the leading contender. On June 22,1528, William Carey died of the sweating sickness. Mary may or may not have been pregnant. If she was, the child did not long survive. Carey’s death left Mary in debt and she was reduced to selling her her jewels, but by then her sister Anne had caught the king’s interest. She secured for Mary an annuity of £100 and took the wardship of young Henry Carey for herself. When Thomas Boleyn was created earl of Wiltshire and Ormonde on December 9, 1529, Mary became Lady Mary Rochford and dropped her husband’s surname. She took a place at her sister’s court in mid-1531. She remained with Anne until 1534 when, after six years as a widow, she secretly married Sir William Stafford (1512?- May 1556). When Queen Anne realized Mary was pregnant, she banished her from court. Alison Weir believes that Mary and Stafford may have lived in Calais from 1534-1539. They may have had two children, Edward (1535-1545) and Anne. When Henry VIII decided to divorce Anne Boleyn, he unearthed his prior relationship with Mary as grounds for a nullity. Mary escaped the worst of the family disgrace by continuing to live quietly. She died in July 1543 but some sources give the day of her death as the 19th while others give the 30th. Biographies: I recommend Alison Weir’s Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings; Mary Boleyn, by Josephine Wilkinson (2009), adds little that is new and spends a great deal of space on general history of the period; Oxford DNB entry under “Stafford [née Boleyn; other married name Carey], Mary.” NOTE: two novels with radically different interpretations of her life are Karen Harper’s Passion’s Reign (reissued as The Last Boleyn) and Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. Two films have been based on the latter but both book and films contain a number of errors, such as confusing the duke of Northumberland (John Dudley of Lady Jane Grey fame) with the earl of Northumberland (Henry Percy, Anne Boleyn’s alleged lover). Portrait: there is no authenticated portrait, but a number of versions exist of one in the school of Hans Holbein that is called Mary Boleyn, including copies at Hever Castle and Holyroodhouse; a miniature is also unconfirmed.

ISABEL BOLLE (d. February 16, 1491)
Isabel Bolle was the sister of Henry Bolle of Ipswich (d.1479), for whom she served as executor. She married William Stile (Stiles/Style) of Ipswich (d. June 11, 1474), a mercer, by whom she had eight children including John (d.1505), Joan, Agnes, Amy and William (d.1500). In her husband’s will, dated April 28, 1463 and proved July 21, 1475, she was his principal heir. His children, William, John, and Amy, if they were “obedient and loving” toward their mother, were to inherit after her death. The inheritance included Sprott’s Place. Isabel was fined in 1481 for infringing the assizes of ale. She made her own will in 1487. Portrait: brass in St. Nicholas, Ipswich.





Thomasine Bonaventure was the daughter of John Bonaventure of Week St. Mary, near Bude, Cornwall, and his wife Jane. Not a great deal is known about her family, except that they were gentry and she had a brother Richard who was a priest. There are several versions of how she came to move to London and marry a series of wealthy merchants. The most prevalent is that a London man, traveling in Cornwall, came upon a shepherdess tending her flock and was so impressed by her that he took her home with him to care for his wife. The Week St. Mary website identifies this man as Richard Brimsby and goes on to say that he married Thomasine after his wife died. He died three years later of the plague. According to the website, she then married Henry Gall of St. Lawrence, Milk Street, a merchant adventurer, who died five years after their marriage. Scholarly accounts agree that Thomasine moved to London as a young woman (around 1460) but give the name Richard Nordon as her benefactor/employer and Henry Galle (d.1466), a merchant tailor, as her first husband. Some suggest that she was an upper servant in Galle’s household and married him after his wife died. She was certainly married to Galle, for at his death she received a jointure of half his property and also £100 worth of cloth from his shop, the terms of his apprentices, and £100 in cash. She also appears to have taken over the business for a time before marrying another merchant tailor, Thomas Barnaby (d.1467). Around 1469, she wed her third husband, John Percyvale (c.1430-May 1503), who was also a tailor. Percyvale was Lord Mayor of London in 1498. After his death, Thomasine took over his business and continued the training of his apprentices. By this time she was so wealthy that she attracted the attention of King Henry VII and ended up having to pay a fine of £1000 in order to receive his pardon for trumped up charges against her. She may have returned to Week St. Mary in her last years to engage in charitable works. She certainly spent a good deal of her money there, for she repaired highways, built a bridge at Week Ford, endowed maidens, built and endowed a chantry and a college, and endowed a free school in her will. She also left food and other provisions to prisoners in London and Cornwall. The Week St. Mary website quotes letters she supposedly wrote home, including one to her mother, though this seems at odds with the shepherdess story. And while the website agrees that her will was made in 1512, it claims she did not die until 1539 at the advanced age of eighty-nine. She had no children. Biographies: Matthew Davies’s “Dame Thomasine Percyvale, ‘The Maid of Week’ (d.1512),” in Medieval London Widows, 1300-1500 (edited by Caroline M. Barron and Anne F. Sutton); Oxford DNB entry under “Percyvale [née Bonaventure], Thomasine.”

ANNE BOND (c.1510-August 26, 1569)
Anne Bond was the daughter of William Bond, clerk of the green cloth to Henry VIII. This is not the William Bond who died in 1576 and is buried in St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, although he also had a daughter named Anne (d.1615). Our Anne Bond married William Thynne (d. August 10, 1546) as his second wife. He was master of the household for Henry VIII and also edited Chaucer’s works. They had a house in Erith, Kent. His will was dated November 16, 1540 and was proved September 7, 1546. He named Anne his executor and chief legatee. He was buried in All Hallows, Barking. They had four children, Francis (c.1545-1608), Anne (later married to Richard Mawdley of Nunney, Somerset), Elizabeth, and another daughter. Francis was raised primarily by his cousin, John Thynne, at Longleat. Anne, meanwhile, went on to marry twice more, first to Sir Edward Broughton and then to Hugh Cartwright of West Malling, Kent (d.1572), a nephew of Archbishop Cranmer (although the History of Parliament entry for Cartwright lists only one wife, Jane Newton). Anne was not buried with William Thynne even though her monumental brass is there. She did not leave a will. On June 5, 1572, letters of administration were granted to Elizabeth Pygott (née Thynne), to administer her mother’s goods. These letters were revoked and new ones granted to Francis Thynne on January 24, 1573/4, when he was attempting to get money from the estate.






DOROTHY BONHAM (d.March 15, 1641)
Three things connected with Dorothy Bonham have survived the centuries—her portraits at Ightham Mote in Kent, a reputation for fine needlework, and a ghost story. Her memorial in the village church in Ightham refers to her as “Dorcas,” the needlewoman in Acts IX, 39, and identifies her as a woman “whose art disclosed that Plot,” meaning that she depicted events surrounding the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in her embroidery. In 1872, however, when there was an unexplained draft in the tower at Ingtham Mote and workmen brought in to remedy the problem discovered a small, sealed-up space containing a woman’s skeleton seated on a chair, a misinterpretation of those words soon had people identifying the skeleton as Dorothy. She was said to have sent an anonymous letter to her cousin, Lord Mounteagle, warning him not to attend Parliament on the 5th of November, 1605. The letter was intercepted and the plot thwarted and when Dorothy’s role in betraying the conspiracy was revealed, she was supposedly seized and walled up in the tower at Ingtham Mote. This never happened. Dorothy was the daughter of Charles Bonham of Mallyng, Kent. She married Sir William Selby (c.1556-1638). They did not live at Ightham Mote until after 1612, when he inherited it from his uncle. The rumor that Dorothy Bonham haunts Ightham Mote, however, persists to this day. Portraits: There are two portraits of Dorothy in the Great Hall at Ightham Mote, one as a young woman and one in middle age. She is also represented by a sculpture on her monument in Ightham Church.

FLORENCE BONNEWE (d. c.1539/40)

Florence Bonnewe’s parentage is unknown, but in 1539 she gained notoriety by refusing, for months on end, to surrender Amesbury, where she was prioress, to the king. Her story is told by Nancy Bilyeau in an article at medium.com that includes the text of a letter complaining of Florence’s stubbornness and her letter to Thomas Cromwell in August 1539, in which she tenders her resignation. She was replaced by Joan Darrell, who surrendered the convent a few months later and was awarded a pension of £100. Florence received no pension at all and is said to have died soon after leaving Amesbury. The entire article is online at

CECILY BONVILLE (1460-May 12, 1529)
Cecily Bonville was the daughter of William Bonville, Lord Harington (c.1442-December 30, 1466) and Katherine Neville (c.1535-November 22, 1503). She married her first husband, Thomas Grey, marquis of Dorset (1451-1501), on July 18, 1474. She had fourteen children by Grey—Edward (d. by March 1517), Thomas, 2nd marquis (1477-1530), Leonard (1479-July 28, 1541), Dorothy (c.1480-1553), Mary (1493-February 22, 1538), Eleanor (d. by 1507), Elizabeth (c.1497-1548+), Cecily (c.1497-April 28, 1554), John (d.1523), Margaret (d.1523+), George (d.1523+), Richard, Bridget (d.yng), and Anthony (d.yng). Her second husband was a man nineteen years her junior, Henry Stafford, earl of Wiltshire (1479-March 6, 1523). This second marriage, which took place on November 22, 1503, required a papal dispensation and the king’s license, costing £1000 according to one source and £2000 according to another. Cecily granted her new husband a life estate in properties worth £1000 a year and promised to leave him the rest of her inheritance should her son and heir, Thomas Grey, marquis of Dorset, die before her. In spite of her generosity, Stafford was heavily in debt by the time he died and, in 1524, Cecily disposed of her remaining property. She gave £1000 to each of her four surviving daughters, small annuities to her younger sons, and kept 300 marks as an annuity for herself. The rest was used to repay her second husband’s debts. In her will, written on May 6, 1527 and proved November 5, 1530, she asked to be buried with her first husband in the chapel within the church of the college of Astley in Warwickshire and provided for the building of “a goodly tomb.” She left “my beloved Lord Richard” the manor of Multon, Lincolnshire. Lord [John?] Grey received Yoke, Pokington, Torrells, and Littleston, Somerset for life. Lord Leonard Grey received Says-Bonville and Pixton, Somerset and Marston, Sussex for life. Portrait: effigy in St. Mary’s Church, Ashley, Warwickshire.

Elizabeth Bonville was the daughter of Sir John Bonville of Halnaker, Sussex (1413-1494) and Catherine Wingfield (d.1497). She married Thomas West, 9th baron de la Warr (c.1479-September 25, 1554) before August 24, 1494. In 1538, her husband was under house arrest for involvement with the treason of Lord Montague and the Marquis of Exeter but he was pardoned. In November 1539, both he and his wife wrote to Lord Cromwell about Halnaker Hall, where they were then living. The king apparently wanted Halnaker and although they were willing to exchange properties with him, Elizabeth wrote to ask for “some reasonable leisure to depart from thence, considering that all our corn and cattle, and other provision, is here upon Halfnakyd [Halnaker] and Boxgrave [Boxgrove], and in no other place, and we can make no shift now for no money till summer.” Eventually a trade was made for the lands of Wherwell, a suppressed nunnery in Hampshire. The de la Warrs moved to Offington, in Broadwater, where, according to Mary Anne Everett Green in Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies, Lord de la Warr kept the best and most hospitable house in Sussex. They had no children and the title was in abeyance between 1554 and 1570.



ALICE BORLASE (1530-1544+)
Alice Borlase (Borlace/Burlas/Borlas) was probably the daughter of Edward Borlase of Borlase in St. Wenn, Cornwall and London (d. February 16, 1544), a mercer who had married three widows in succession. From online genealogies, they appear to have been Pernel Baldwin, Susanna Isham, and Joan Dormer. The last marriage took place after 1536, which makes it likely that Alice was the daughter of his second wife. His third wife remarried on August 14, 1544. Alice was in the custody of George Woolcock of St. Breock, Cornwall and was the intended bride of his son, Christopher. According to the account in Tudor Cornwall by John Chynoweth, the banns had been called three times and the date of the wedding had already been set when Alice was abducted by John Tredeneck, taken to Ottery St. Mary, Devon, and married to his younger brother, Thomas Tredeneck. Woolcock hired a lawyer named Chidley to draw up a bill of complaint to the Star Chamber (see LORA TRECARELL for a similar bill of complaint) but John Tredeneck argued that Borlase had owed knight service to John Carmynowe and that Carmynowe had granted her wardship to him, thereby giving him, Tredeneck, the right to arrange a marriage for Alice.






Elizabeth Borough was the eldest daughter of Thomas, baron Borough or Burgh of Gainsborough (1558-October 14, 1597) and Frances Vaughan (c.1562-July 1647). In 1599, she married George Brooke (April 17, 1568-December 5, 1603), the youngest son of William, Lord Cobham (d.1597), by whom she had three children—William (1601-September 20, 1643), Frances, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was one of the coheirs of her brother Robert (d.1602). Brooke was a womanizer, even seducing Elizabeth’s sister, Frances, and in 1603 was an instigator of the so-called Bye Plot to kidnap King James. He was arrested on July 14, 1603 and put on trial on November 15, 1603. He was executed on Winchester Castle Green. After her husband’s death, Elizabeth married, before October 24, 1605, Francis Rede or Reade of Osterley, Middlesex, by whom she had no children. Some unsubstantiated sources online give her another husband, John Byrd or le Bird of Broxton (1570-1630), but genealogies generally identify this Elizabeth Burgh as Burgh alias Copparsmith (1572-1610) and have her married to John Byrd well before George Brooke’s death. On various family trees, Elizabeth and John Byrd are given up to six children with varying dates of birth, including Elizabeth (1605-1665) and Thomas (1610-1678).


FRANCES BOROUGH (d. before November 24, 1618)
Frances Borough was the daughter of Thomas, baron Borough or Burgh of Gainsborough (1558-October 14, 1597) and Frances Vaughan (c.1562-July 1647). In 1599, her older sister Elizabeth married George Brooke (April 17, 1568-December 5, 1603), the youngest son of William, Lord Cobham (d.1597), a notorious womanizer. According to Gustav Ungerer, “Prostitution in Late Elizabethan England: The Case of Mary Newborough,” in Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Vol. 15, edited by John Pitcher, Robert Lindsey, and Susan Cerasano, Brooke seduced Frances, even though she was betrothed to his ward, Francis Coppinger of St. Giles in the Fields, London (c.1579-1626+), and got her with child. Frances was one of the coheirs of her brother Robert (d.1602). She married Coppinger by 1609. Their children were Lettice and Nicholas (d.1686) and others who died young.



Mary Borough was the daughter of William Borough or Burgh, 4th baron Borough of Gainsborough (c.1521-September 10, 1584) and Catherine Fiennes de Clinton (c.1538-August 14, 1621). She was a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth by January 1575. On February 18, 1577 she married, as his second wife, Sir Richard Bulkeley of Beaumaris, Anglesey and Lewisham, Kent (1535-June 28, 1621). He was knighted on the eve of their marriage, which took place at court. At one point Sir Richard’s lands in Cheshire, Caernarvonshire, and Anglesey brought him an income of £4300 a year. “Lord Borough’s daughter” appears on one list of maids of honor, but for 1599, which makes me wonder if that date was a mistake for 1577. Mary’s children were Catherine (1583-1629+), Penelope, Elizabeth, Margaret, Richard, Thomas and another daughter. According to Marion Colthorpe, “Women at Court: Royal Household” in The Elizabethan Court Day By Day (http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day), she was said to be willing to have her eldest daughter become a maid of honor in 1600. On May 1, 1602, the queen dined at Lewisham House and went maying.

Margaret Bostock was the daughter of Roger Bostock of Newington, Surrey and Felice Heaton. She was married a number of times, but not as many as some genealogies claim. Her first husband was Richard Blount of Williton, Somerset and Coleman Street, London (d. November 16, 1575). They had one daughter, Elizabeth, and apparently a son who died young. Elizabeth was left a dowry of £1600. Blount’s will left Margaret their dwelling house in Coleman Street and named her executor. Some online accounts have Margaret marrying Nicholas Saunders next and then, third, John Leigh. The latter is a case of mistaken identity. John Leigh of Coldrey, Hampshire (1534-January 19,1576) married Margaret Saunders, daughter of Thomas Saunders. In fact, Margaret Bostock Blount had not yet married Nicholas Saunders, her third husband, when Leigh died. Her second husband, to whom she was married in 1576, was Jasper Fisher of London (d. February 28, 1579), the king’s goldsmith and one of the six clerks of Chancery. He willed a life interest in his house in Bishopsgate and property in Warwickshire to Margaret and left instructions that both were to be sold after her death. He also instructed that Margaret’s children were to be paid the sums left to them by their father. Elizabeth Blount was to receive £1200 and Blount’s son £400. There were no children of Margaret’s marriage to Fisher. The house in Bishopsgate was called Fisher’s Folly and later belonged to Sir William Cornwallis. From 1579 to 1588 it was leased to the earl of Oxford. Shortly after Fisher died, William Bradley renewed a lease from the widow for ten years at £12/year. This was for the Bishop in Gray’s Inn Lane, an inn. Nicholas Saunders of Ewell, Surrey (c.1530-December 17, 1587), a lawyer and owner of Bataille Manor, married Margaret in 1582. She was his second wife. They had no children. He made his will in 1587 and it was proved on January 18, 1588. In it he tells his sons to look after his widow. In 1588, Margaret was sued by Humphrey Harding and his wife. In 1599, Margaret transferred Oldbury Manor to Saunders’s eldest son, Nicholas Saunders the Younger (d. February 9, 1649), who married her daughter, Elizabeth Blount. Some genealogies try to give Margaret one more husband, Sir Thomas Stanley, but the only record of a marriage between a Thomas Stanley and a Margaret Bostock dates from two centuries earlier. The wills of Richard Blount and Jasper Fisher are available at Oxford-Shakespeare.com


see also BUTLER

Isabella Bott was the daughter of William Bott, a lawyer of Snitterfield, Warwickshire. He did not have a good reputation. In April 1563, he nogotiated a match between Isabella and one John Harper of Henley-in-Arden, who was not only still a minor, but was also “a plain and simple-minded man” who was deeply in debt. It was agreed that should Isabella die without issue, the lands entailed on Harper would pass to Bott. Isabella died soon after the marriage, probably in the house called New Place in Stratford that later belonged to William Shakespere. She was buried on May 7, 1563. According to testimony later given before the Star Chamber by a shoemaker named Roland Whelen, Isabella was murdered. Whelen said that he “did see the wife of the said Bott in the presence of the same Bott deliver to the said Harper’s wife in a spoon the said poison of ratsbane to drink, which poison she did drink in this deponent’s presence.” Whelen apparently was employed by Bott to run errands. One had been to take Isabella’s mother to Thorne, near Lichfield. It was Bott’s second wife who administered the poison. By 1571, when Whelen made his statement, she was dead and Bott had married a third woman, Elizabeth Heton. In spite of Whelen’s eye-witness report, Bott was never prosecuted.

ELIZABETH BOUGHTON (c.1567-before December 1642)
Elizabeth Boughton was the daughter of Edward Boughton of Causton, Warwickshire (c.1545-September 12, 1589) and Susanna or Susan Brocket (d.1589+). She married Sir Richard Wortley (1565-July 25, 1603). Their children were Frances (c.1592-1652), Edward, Mary (d.1663), Elizabeth (c.1596-1642), Anne, and Eleanor (d.1667). Her second husband was William Cavendish, earl of Devonshire (December 27, 1552-March 3, 1626), as his second wife. Some genealogies say she was the mother of John Cavendish (b.c.1626). Portrait: by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.



Mary Boughton was the daughter of Edward Boughton of Causton, Warwickshire (c.1545-September 12, 1589) and Susanna or Susan Brocket (d.1589+). In c.1591, she married Richard Fowler of Tilsworth, Bedfordshire (d.1600+). The marriage was not a happy one and at some point before 1599, Mary took up with Captain William Eynes/Heines (d.1602). She was apparently abetted in this extramarital affair by her eldest brother, Henry Boughton (c.1567-1602). In August 1599, Mary, Eynes, and Leonard Gascoigne entered into a conspiracy to frame Fowler for treason. A forged letter implicated Fowler in a plot to poison Queen Elizabeth. He was arrested and tried before the Star Chamber in April 1600, but the truth of the matter soon came out and Fowler was set free. On June 12, 1600 the court heard evidence against Mary, Eynes, Gascoigne, and Henry Boughton. The transcript at http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk includes the information that “the said Marie since her said marriage hath carried herself somewhat lightly and wantonly in frequenting the company of the said Eynes in unfit and immodest sort to the great and manifest offense of her said husband, seeking by very indirect means and practices with the said Eynes and by the privity and consent of the said Henry Boughton, her brother, to separate herself from her said husband’s society and company to prevent the purport of the sentence and act made in the ecclesiastical court for the reconciliation of the said Richard Fowler and his said wife; upon which ground of light behavior appearing to this honourable court by the confessions of the defendants themselves, and as also by divers letters written betwixt the said Marie and the said Eynes and by divers other circumstances of their demeanours and carriages of themselves, the court was absolutely resolved that the said Eynes for his ungodly and unlawful liking towards the said Marie did very falsely and lewdly conspire and practice the making and publishing of the said false and forged letter wherein the said Eynes combined to himself and the said Gascoigne, being of his acquaintance and both soldiers, with the privity and consent of the said Marie Fowler to put in execution the same conspiracy upon some pretense or hope of reward to be given to the same Gascoigne.” All four were committed to the Fleet. After “some reasonable time of imprisonment,” Mary was to be committed to Bridewell. Eynes and Gascoigne were sentenced to be pilloried and pay fines. Henry Boughton was exonerated of any part in the conspiracy against Fowler, but for helping his sister live apart from her husband in defiance of the ruling of the ecclesiastical court, he was sent to the Fleet and fined £100 and required to find £500 in sureties. A letter from John Chamberlain to Mr. Carleton dated June 13, 1600 states that “Faire Mrs. Fowler” was to be carted to Bridewell and there whipped. The entry in the History of Parliament for Edward Boughton states that his daughter Mary was taken to Bridewell where she was “well whipped” and that afterward she was in “perpetual imprisonment.” One online source identifies this Mary with the Mary Boughton who married Sir John Crosbie of Tullyglass, County Down, Ireland (d. January 14, 1639) on July 23, 1638. If this is the same woman, this leaves rather a long gap in her life. Henry Boughton was killed in a knife fight at a game of bowls. Eynes was hanged, according to a letter written by John Chamberlain on April 26, 1602, for killing a fellow prisoner in the Fleet.

ANNE BOURCHIER (1470-September 29, 1530+)
Anne Bourchier was the daughter of Humphrey Bourchier (d. 1471) and Elizabeth Tylney (d. April 4, 1497). In 1492, she married Thomas Fiennes, 8th baron Dacre of the South (c.1472-September 9, 1534). They had three children, Mary (d. by 1530), Thomas (1495-October 26, 1528), and John (b.1497). Lady Dacre is mentioned in several poems by John Skelton and was one of the noblewomen described, along with the Countess of Surrey, in his A Goodly Garland or Chaplet of Laurel (1523), which was probably written in 1495. Lady Dacre was a lady of the bedchamber to Catherine of Aragon. She died at the Dacre family seat, Herstmonceaux Castle, Sussex.

ANNE BOURCHIER (1517-January 28, 1571)
Anne Bourchier was the daughter of Henry Bourchier, 2nd earl of Essex (1471-March 30, 1540) and Mary Say (1479-June 5, 1535+). On February 9, 1527, when she was barely ten, she married fifteen-year-old William Parr (August 14, 1513-October 28, 1571). Twelve years passed before the couple lived together as husband and wife. They were totally unsuited. She was poorly educated and most comfortable living in the country. Her first recorded appearance at court was at a banquet on November 22, 1539. Her husband, in contrast, was a career courtier and engaged in at least one tempestuous affair, with maid of honor Dorothy Bray, c.1541. That same year, Anne surprised everyone by running off with John Lyngfield, alias Huntley or Hunt, prior of St. James, Tandridge, Surrey. Parr secured a legal separation on grounds of her adultery and secured a bill in Parliament on March 13, 1543 to bar any child Anne bore from succeeding to her inheritance. Some records give Anne a son by Lyngfield and a daughter (Marie or Mary, who married Thomas York) by an unknown father, while others say she and Lyngfield/Huntley had several children, of whom only Mary lived long enough to marry. The History of Parliament entry for Henry Bourchier (d.1598) identifies him as the illegitimate son of Anne Bourchier and states that he had a sister. He married but apparently had no children.The tale that Parr tried to convince King Henry to execute Anne for adultery and that she was saved by Parr’s sister, who was about to marry the king, is highly unlikely to have happened. Adultery was not punished by death in Tudor England. Even when a queen was judged to have committed adultery, the actual crime was treason. It is unclear what happened to John Lyngfield, but Anne apparently spent the next few years in impoverished exile at Little Wakering, a manor in Essex. On March 31, 1552 a bill passed in Parliament declaring the marriage of Anne and Parr null and void. By that time, Parr was marquis of Northampton and “married” to Elizabeth Brooke. Edward VI was on the throne. This bill was reversed on October 24, 1553, when Mary Tudor became queen. At that time, Parr was in prison for treason, having conspired to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary. Two months earlier, Anne had gone to court to lobby for Parr’s release and pardon, which would enable him (them) to keep their estates. That same December, Anne was granted an annuity of £100. Parr was released but left in poverty. Anne appears to have remained at court until at least December 1556, when “Anne, Viscountess Bourchier, Lady Lovayne” was granted an additional annuity of £450. After Queen Elizabeth succeeded her sister, Anne retired quietly to Benington, Hertfordshire and there lived out the rest of her life. Sir Robert Rochester and Sir Edward Waldegrave held Bennington Park as feoffees to her use, but after Rochester’s death in 1557, Waldegrave transferred it to Sir John Butler who had, in December 1553, been granted the mastership of the hunt, with herbage and pannage, in Bennington Park during the lifetime of William Parr. “Lady Bourchier” then sued Waldegrave (d.1561) and Butler in chancery. When she won, Butler petitioned for revival of the case and meanwhile continued to treat the park as his own. Charlotte Merton, in The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, speculates that the Mrs. Nott who waited on the queen in 1577-8 may be the “Katherine Parr,” Anne’s daughter, who was married to John Nott. She does not give a source for this information, or for the name Hawkins as Katherine’s possible father.


Elizabeth Bourchier was the daughter of Fulke Bourchier, 2nd baron Fitzwarine (October 25, 1445-September 18, 1479) and Elizabeth Dynham (1449-October 19, 1516). She may have had two early marriages, one to Henry Beaumont and a second to a man named Verney, by whom she had a daughter, Katherine Verney. In 1509, she married Sir Edward Stanhope of Sudbury and Rampton, Nottinghamshire (1472-June 6, 1511), by whom she had one daughter, Ann (c.1510-April 16, 1587), later to be famous as duchess of Somerset, wife of the Lord Protector. Elizabeth Bourchier may have been the Mrs. Stanhope in the household of Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and Derby, in 1509. Her aunt, Edith Dynham, Mrs. Fowler, was part of that household. In 1512, Elizabeth married Sir Richard Page of Beechwood, Hertfordshire (1474-1548) They had a daughter, Elizabeth (1516-April 1573). Page has an entry in the Oxford DNB, partly because he found himself under arrest later in the reign of Henry VIII. In 1552-3, when her daughter by Stanhope was in the Tower of London, Elizabeth was allowed to visit her and appears to have spent time there. She is included with the duchess’s two gentlewomen and one man in the “daily diets.” I am indebted to the research of novelist Susan Higginbotham for this part of Lady Page’s story.

ELIZABETH BOURCHIER (c.1500-August 24, 1548)
Elizabeth Bourchier was the daughter of John Bourchier of Bampton, Devon (July 20, 1470-April 30, 1539), who was created earl of Bath in 1536, and the first of his three wives, Cecily Daubeney (c.1474-1512+). She married Edward Chichester of Great Torrington, Devon (1496-July 27, 1526). Their children were John (1519/20-1568), Edward, and Philip (1524-1583). As a widow, she carried on a lengthy legal battle with William Kendall of Launceston, Cornwall (c.1485-1539) after he forcibly removed John Swayne, her bailiff for the hundred of East, and replaced him with one of his own servants. Kendall claimed he held a quarter of the bailiwick in the right of his wife, a coheiress of Oliver Wise of Devon. Elizabeth made her first complaint in the court of requests, forcing Kendall to travel 200 miles to answer the charges. The case was remitted to common law. She then complained to the court of Chancery. They were still considering the matter when she filed a new complaint, in 1532, in the Star Chamber. Portrait: memorial brass in St. Brannock’s Church, Braunton, Devon.

ELIZABETH BOURCHIER (1598-November 1665)
Elizabeth Bourchier was the eldest of twelve children of Sir James Bourchier (c.1574-1635) and Frances Crane. Her father was a furrier with no known connection to the noble Bourchier family. On August 22, 1620, Elizabeth married Oliver Cromwell (1599-September 3, 1658), at St. Giles Cripplegate, London. She had a dowry of £1500 and received the parsonage house in Hartford, Huntingdonshire as her jointure. Their children were all born before the Civil War. They were Robert (1621-1639), Oliver (1623-1642), Richard (1626-1712), Bridget (1624-1662), Henry (1628-1674), Elizabeth (1629-1658), James (1632-1632), Mary (1637-1713), and Frances (1638-1720). They lived in the country until 1646, when they moved to London. She was there to greet her husband when he arrived as a victorious general on May 31, 1650. After Cromwell was made Lord Protector, Elizabeth resided in apartments in Whitehall and at Hampton Court. Following his death, she was to live at St. James and have a payment of £20,000 and an annuity of £20,000. However, the restoration of the monarchy put an end to that plan. After leaving London in April 1660, she was allowed to live quietly with her daughter Elizabeth’s widower, John Claypole, at Northborough, Northamptonshire. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Cromwell [née Bourchier], Elizabeth.”



JOAN or JANE BOURCHIER (d. February 17, 1561/2)
Joan or Jane Bourchier was the daughter of John Bourchier, 2nd baron Berners (1467-March 16, 1533) and Catherine Howard (1486-March 12, 1536). Her parents were divorced before 1505 and both apparently remarried, but the offspring of these second unions were not considered to be legitimate. Joan accompanied her father to France in 1514 for the wedding of Princess Mary Tudor to King Louis and stayed on as one of the few English attendants allowed the new queen. Joan married Edmund Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk (1490- May 1, 1539/40), but not, as is often found in genealogies, c.1508. The marriage could not have taken place until after Joan’s return to England in 1515. By Knyvett, she was the mother of John (1517/18-c.1560), Anne (d. November 12, 1595), Elizabeth, Thomas, Edmund (c.1525-November 1567), Alice (d.1560+), Christopher (d.1560+), Christian (d.1560+), Catherine (d.1596), possibly a second Anne (c.1529-1561+), Rose (d. before March 27, 1588) and William (1535-1612). As her father had no legitimate male heir, Joan is sometimes styled baroness Berners. In 1533, Sir Edmund and his wife appointed the priest at Ashwellthorpe. In 1544, by then a widow, Joan acted on her own to appoint his successor. Her will exists and is dated April 8, 1560. It was proved March 9, 1561/2. She commissioned an elaborate tomb at Ashwellthorpe. The epitaph reads as follows:
Jane Knyvett resteth here the only heir by right
Of the Lord Berners, that Sir John Bourcher hight.
Twenty Years and three a widow’s life she led,
Always keeping house where rich and poor were fed.
Gentle, just, quiet, void of debate and strife,
Ever doing good: Lo, thus she led her life,
Even to the grave, where earth on earth doeth lie;
On whose soul God grant of his abundant mercy.

The daughter of Humphrey Bourchier (d. 1471) and Elizabeth Tylney (d. April 4, 1497), Margaret was brought up with her half brothers and half sisters, including Elizabeth Howard (Anne Boleyn’s mother). Margaret married Sir Thomas Bryan (c.1464-1517) of Ashridge, Hertfordshire. She was a lady in waiting to Catherine of Aragon from 1509 to 1516 while her husband was vice chamberlain of the queen’s household. In October 1510, her wages are recorded as 100s. for a half year. She apparently brought their daughters Margaret (d. by 1527) and Elizabeth Bryan (c.1495-1546) and her son Francis (1490-1550) with her to court. She also had charge of the upbringing of Lettice Penyston. After the birth of Mary Tudor, Margaret was put in charge of the nursery at Ditton Park, Buckinghamshire and at Hanworth. She remained with the princess for five years and when she left was given an annuity of £50 for life. In 1533 she was called back to care for Elizabeth Tudor at Hatfield and in 1537, after the birth of Prince Edward, was put in charge of a combined household at Havering-atte-Bower. Her reports to Thomas Cromwell are still extant. In her personal life, there is some confusion. Apparently she was married three times in all. The other two husbands were David Zouche, Soche, or Souch and John Sands or Sandys. It is not clear, however, in what order she married them. She had children only by Sir Thomas Bryan.




Marion Colthorpe, “Women at Court: Royal Household” in The Elizabethan Court Day By Day (http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day) identifies Susan Bourchier as the daughter of John Bourchier, 2nd earl of Bath (1489-February 10, 1561) and Margaret Donnington (1510-January 20, 1562). She was a maid of honor by January 1571. In 1578, she was sent home after her half-brother, George Bourchier, seduced another maid of honor, Martha Howard. From that same year, Sir Henry Lee of Woodstock made a habit of borrowing money from Susan. He made provision in his will of 1609 to repay the sum of £800. She never married.



ANNE BOWER (d.1584+)
Anne, Anis, or Agnes Bower was the daughter of Richard Bower (d.1561), master of the choristers of the Chapel Royal. She married Richard Farrant (c.1528-November 30, 1580) before her father’s death. Farrant was a composer and choirmaster, moving in 1564 from the Chapel Royal to the choir of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. By 1576, he was renting space in the former Blackfriars Priory to produce plays with children’s companies. When he died, he left his widow their house in Greenwich, numerous debts, and the lease to the Blackfriars’ Playhouse. She had ten children to support. She sublet the playhouse to William Hunnis, but he was tardy in paying his rent and the choristers left Blackfriars in 1582. Anne Farrant was forced to borrow money from her Blackfriars neighbor, William Brooke, Lord Cobham, and from Henry Seckford. It is unclear whether or not this Anne was the Anne, widow of Richard Farrant, who was granted property in Wootton, Oxfordshire, Islington, and Yorkshire in 1583, but by Michaelmas term 1583 she had two lawsuits pending in the Court of Common Pleas, one against William Hunnis and a second against John Newman over payment of a £100 bond. She was countersued in the Court of Requests and on January 20, 1584 she was accused, among other things, of having “a covetous and greedy mind.” She answered on January 27 and they replied on May 27, but there is no decision extant in the case. The Blackfriars Playhouse, meanwhile, was closed down by the landlord in 1584.




MARGERY BOWES (1506-1567+)
Margery Bowes was the daughter of Sir Ralph Bowes of Streatlam (1494-1517) and Elizabeth Clifford. She married Sir Ralph Eure or Evers (September 24, 1508-March 5, 1544/5). Her children were William, 2nd baron Eure (February 27, 1529/30-February 13, 1593/4), Ralph (1534-April 22, 1587), Thomas, Henry, Frances (c.1530-1575+), Anne, another Anne, Muriel, and Margaret. In July 1537, Sir Ralph was accused of writing a letter to Sir John Bulmer (dated March) that implicated Eure in Bulmer’s treason. Eure was taken to London to be questioned. He was released, primarily because he could prove that he was illiterate, but while he was still in London, in late August, Lady Eure made the mistake of saying, in the hearing of a Mrs. Wright, that she had “twenty of the best in Yorkshire” willing to “rise and fetch him out” if her husband were in danger, “or else to die therefore.” In September, Lady Eure and two servants broke into the house of Edmund Wright to “threaten and revile” his wife and her servants, one supposes to prevent Mrs. Wright from revealing these words, which amounted to treason. They were removed by the local justice of the peace. Wright wrote to Lord Cromwell to complain. Meanwhile, Lady Eure joined her husband at Pickering. No charges were filed against her and no one ever found out who wrote the letter to Bulmer that started all the trouble.

MARGERY BOWES (1533-December 1560)
Margery Bowes was the daughter of Richard Bowes (1488-November 10, 1558) and Elizabeth Aske (1505-1568). She married preacher John Knox (1505-November 24, 1571) in July 1553 and had by him two children, Nathaniel (May 1557-May 1580) and Eleazer (November 1558-May 22, 1591). With her mother, she went into exile with Knox on the continent and later settled with him in Scotland.

AGNES BOWKER (c.1541-1569+)
Agnes Bowker was the daughter of Henry Bowker of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, who may have been a butcher. Agnes went into service. In 1566, she saw Queen Elizabeth on the queen’s summer progress. That summer she also claimed to have been seduced by the Market Harborough schoolmaster, Hugh Brady. During 1568, according to her later account, she had sexual relations with another servant, Randal Dowley, and with the devil, who apparently appeared to her as a cat, a dog, and a bear. While pregnant, she twice attempted suicide, once by hanging and once by drowning, but neither attempt succeeded. On January 16, 1569, she allegedly gave birth to a cat. This strange occurrence prompted an investigation. No satisfactory explanation has ever been given as to why Agnes and the good women of Market Harborough would attempt such a hoax and nothing is known of Agnes’s fate after 1569. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Bowker, Agnes.”

ELIZABETH BOWYER (June 10, 1553-1590+)
Elizabeth Bowyer was the daughter of John Bowyer of Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset and Lincoln’s Inn (d. October 10, 1570) and his second wife, Elizabeth Draper of Camberwell (d. April 27, 1605). On May 25, 1573, she married John Byne or Bynd of Wakerhurst (1537-July 22, 1600). Their children were William, John (1576-January 28, 1640), Elizabeth, Edmund, James, and Katherine. The family lived at Rowdell. Portrait: tomb effigy, St. Mary’s Church, Washington, Sussex.





ALICE BRADBRIDGE (September 7, 1523-1604)
Alice Bradbridge was one of fourteen children of William Bradgbridge (d.1546) and his wife Alice. In about 1546, she married Francis Barnham (c.1515-1576). She had a marriage portion of £10. They had four sons, Martin (March 26, 1548-1610), Steven (July 21, 1549-1608), Anthony (b.1558; d.yng.) and Benedict (1559-1598). Her husband was a London draper and alderman. Alice was a silkwoman, running that business in her own right by the early 1560s. They lived in St. Clement’s Lane, Eastcheap. Francis was granted a coat of arms in 1561. Francis and Alice were charged with usury in 1574, but were not prosecuted. As a widow, Alice was courted by Sir Thomas Ramsey (Lord Mayor of London in 1577) but she found his conditions for their marriage (involving her jointure properties) objectionable and refused the suit. She was buried on May 14, 1604. Biography: Lena Cowen Orlin’s Locating Privacy in Tudor London; Oxford DNB entry under “Barnham [née Bradbridge], Alice.” The History of Parliament entry for her son Benedict says she was the widow of “one Marney” when she married Barnham. Portrait: formerly called “Lady Ingram and Her Two Boys Martin and Steven” c.1557.



BRIDGET BRADSHAW (1535-July 1580)
Bridget Bradshaw was the daughter and eventual coheiress of Henry Bradshaw of Halton, Buckinghamshire (d. July 27, 1553), chief baron of the Exchequer under Henry VIII and Attorney General under Edward VI, and Joan Hurste (d. February 27, 1598/9). On May 30, 1554, she married Henry White of South Warnborough, Hampshire and London (1531/2-February 7, 1570), by whom she had three daughters. In 1571, she married Thomas Fermor (1526-August 8, 1580), whose first wife, Frances Horde, had died in July 1570. Four children are shown on their tomb, including Anne, Mary, and Richard. Bridget died less than six months after her husband. Portrait: tomb effigy at Somerton, Oxfordshire. Instructions given for the erection of the tomb, dated September 20, 1581, were to create “a decent and p’fect picture or portraiture of a faire gentlewoman with a Frenchehood, edge and abilliment, with all other apparell furniture jewells ornamentes and things in all respects usuall, decent, and seemly, for a gentlewoman.”



JOAN BRAHAM (d. November 18, 1519) (maiden name unknown)
Joan married John Braham of Wetheringsett, Suffolk. After his death, she became a vowess. Her daughter, Margaret Braham, was the second wife of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett of Frenze, Norfolk (1461-June 27, 1531), which explains why Joan has been immortalized in a brass there, in the Church of St. Andrew the Apostle, but nothing else appears to be known about her.


ALICE BRANDON (1556-before 1608)
Alice Brandon was the daughter of Robert Brandon (d. 1591), the queen’s jeweler, and Katherine Barber, and is sometimes said to be either the niece or the granddaughter of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. On July 15, 1576 she married Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1618) and is the subject of one of his most appealing miniatures. Shortly after their marriage, they traveled to France in the entourage of Sir Amyas Paulet, the English ambassador. Hilliard, probably on Queen Elizabeth’s orders, entered the service of François, duc d’Alençon. Although her husband may have returned at a later date, Alice was back in London by May 1578, when their first child, Daniel, was baptised. By 1579, the Hilliards lived in a house in Gutter Lane, off Cheapside in London, where Hilliard also had his studio. There they raised Elizabeth (b.1579), Francis (b.1580), Laurence (1582-1648), Lettice (b.1583), Penelope (b.1586), and Robert (b.1588). Hilliard does not seem to have been reliable in money matters. When Alice’s father died, he made no mention of his son-in-law or grandchildren in his will, instead stipulating that the allowance he left to Alice be administered by the Goldsmith’s Company. Although there was an Alice Hillyard buried at St. Margaret’s Westminster on May 16, 1611, this was probably not Alice Brandon. Hilliard is known to have had a second wife and records show a Nicholas Hilliard marrying Susan Gysard at St. Mary at Hill on August 3, 1608, placing Alice’s death before that date. Portrait: miniature painted in 1578 in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

ANNE BRANDON (d. by July 1540)
Anne Brandon was the daughter of Sir William Brandon (d. August 21, 1485) and Elizabeth Bruyn (d. March 7, 1493/4). Her father died at the battle of Bosworth, leaving several small children. Anne married Sir John Shilston of Wood, Devon and Southwark (d. 1529/30), the keeper of Dartington Manor in Devon. He made his will December 11, 1529 and had died by January 23, 1530. He made his wife sole executor and left her four houses and 250 acres of land in Devon and at least ten tin mines. Other bequests went to his great niece Elizabeth (£90 and a gold chain worth £80) and Jane, his ward, who was living with “my sister Coffin.” As her second husband, with a marriage license dated January 28, 1531, Anne wed Sir Gawain Carew of Exeter (c.1503-1585). Anne’s brother, Charles Brandon, who moved up through the peerage to eventually be created duke of Suffolk, helped the careers of both her husbands. She had no children and died sometime before Carew married his second wife, Mary Wotton, Lady Guildford, in July 1540.

ANNE BRANDON (c.1507-January 1557/8)
Anne Brandon led a controversial life. At the time she was most likely born, her father, Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk (1485-August 22,1545), had abandoned her mother, Anne Browne (d. 1510), to whom he had been betrothed, in order to marry Margaret Neville, a wealthy widow. When that marriage was later declared null and void, Brandon returned to Anne Browne and married her in 1509. In 1514, Brandon secured a place for Anne, aged about seven, at the court of Margaret of Savoy. She remained there for nearly two years. While she was abroad, her father married Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister. When Anne returned to England, she lived with them at Westhorpe Hall. To ensure the legitimacy of Brandon’s children by Mary Tudor, a papal bull was secured from Pope Clement VII to confirm that the divorce from Margaret Neville was valid. This also settled the question of Anne’s legitimacy. In 1531, Anne married Edward Grey, baron Grey of Powys (1503- July 12,1551). It was not a happy marriage and by 1537 Anne had left her husband for a lover, Randall Haworth (Hayward/Hanworth), and Grey had taken a mistress, Jane Orwell, daughter of Sir Lewis Orwell, by whom he had a son, Edward. In that year, her father attempted to force Lord Powys to support Anne. With Lord Cromwell’s help, he succeeded in obtaining an annuity of £100 for her, but in 1540, Powys petitioned the Privy Council to punish Anne for adultery and also claimed that she was conspiring with Haworth to murder him. No official action seems to have been taken against her, and she remained with her lover, which may be why she was left out of her father’s will. At some point between 1545 and 1551, Anne entered into a “corrupt understanding” with John Beaumont, a judge in Chancery, whereby she obtained lands with forged documents (supposedly generated by her late father) and then sold those lands to Beaumont. This defrauded the husband of her half sister Frances, Henry Grey, marquis of Dorset. The scheme came to light in 1552 and Beaumont was arrested, but Anne does not seem to have been punished. By then, Lord Powys was dead. She married Haworth by January 1552/3. She wrote her will on October 29, 1551, although it was not proved until February 9, 1557/8. In 1556, she and her second husband brought suit in Chancery against her half sister Frances and Frances’s second husband, Adrian Stokes, over property in Warwickshire. She was buried on January 13, 1557/8 in St. Margaret’s, Westminster.



ELEANOR BRANDON (1519-September 27, 1547)
Eleanor Brandon was the youngest daughter of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk (1485-August 22, 1545) and Mary Tudor (March 18, 1495-June 25, 1533). She married Henry Clifford, 2nd earl of Cumberland (1517-January 2, 1570) in 1537, by whom she had a daughter, Margaret (1540-September 29, 1596) and two sons, Henry and Charles, who died young. The story of Eleanor Clifford’s abduction during the Pilgrimage of Grace is fiction. She was not yet married at that time. She did not live long enough to become involved in the quarrel over the succession, but she passed on her dangerous inheritance of royal blood to her daughter. She died at Brougham Castle, Westmorland and was buried at Skipton, Yorkshire. Portrait: sketch by Holbein?; a sketch and portrait by Hans Eworth c.1560, identified by some as Eleanor because of the coat of arms, is not her. The arms were added much later. It is not Eleanor’s daughter Margaret, either. The sitter is probably Margaret Wentworth (see her entry).


FRANCES BRANDON (July 16, 1517-November 20, 1559)
The daughter of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk (1485-August 22, 1545) and Mary Tudor (March 18, 1495-June 25, 1533), Frances Brandon was one of Henry VIII’s nieces  and therefore in line for the throne. She married Henry Grey, marquess of Dorset (January 12, 1517-February 23, 1554), in 1533 and had a girl and a boy who died young and then three daughters, Lady Jane (1537-February 12, 1554), Lady Catherine (August 1540-January 27, 1568) and Lady Mary (1545-April 20, 1578) (see separate entries for each) and was a prominent figure at court during the reigns of Henry VIII and his children. After the deaths of her father and half brothers, her husband was granted the Suffolk title, making Frances duchess of Suffolk and creating occasional confusion with her stepmother, Catherine Willoughby. According to Leanda De Lisle’s biography of Frances’s daughters, The Sisters Who Would Be Queen, Frances has been the victim of bad press over the last few centuries. She has long been said to have been an active participant in the plot to marry her oldest daughter to one of the duke of Northumberland’s sons and put the young couple on the throne in place of Mary Tudor, even beating the Lady Jane to convince her to agree. Her true role may never be known, but when Mary Tudor took the throne, Frances was not imprisoned. Even after the execution of her husband for his role in Wyatt’s Rebellion, she continued to play a ceremonial role at court and her two remaining daughters were also at court. She remarried on March 9, 1554, taking as her second husband her master of horse, Adrian Stokes (March 4, 1519-November 30, 1586). They are said to have had three children who died young. One genealogy site identifies them as Elizabeth Stokes (November 20, 1554-November 20, 1554), a second Elizabeth Stokes (July 16, 1555-February 7, 1556) and an unnamed son. Frances retired from public life after her marriage. She had suffered from poor health since at least the summer of 1552. She was at Sheen in October of 1559 when the earl of Hertford approached her for permission to marry her daughter, Catherine. Frances gave it, but she did not live to see the disastrous result. When she died, her two daughters and several close friends were with her. Her will was dated November 7, 1559 and some sources give the 21st as the date of her death. The queen paid for her funeral. Biography: Oxford DNB under “Grey [other married name Stokes], Frances.” Portraits: The drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger labeled “The Lady Marchioness of Dorset” is not Frances Brandon, but rather Margaret Wotton, her mother-in-law. What was once thought to be a double portrait of Frances with her second husband by Hans Eworth, painted in 1559, is now known to be a portrait of Mary Neville, Lady Dacre and her son, Gregory Fiennes. A portrait in the Royal Collection is believed by Mary S. Lovell (Bess of Hardwick) to be Frances Brandon. Leanda De Lisle states that no portrait of Frances survives and that the effigy on her tomb in Westminster Abbey is the only likeness of her.

LUCY BRANDON (1577-April 18, 1652)
Lucy Brandon was the daughter of Robert Brandon (d.1591), goldsmith and queen’s jeweler and the much younger sister (or half sister) of Alice Brandon (above). She married Sir Richard Reynell (c.1558-1634) in 1600, the same year he bought Forde House in Wolborough, Devon. They had one daughter, Jane. Forde House was visited by King Charles I in 1625. Biography: Life and Death of the Religious and Virtuous Lady by Edward Reynell (1654). Portraits: by the circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger; marble effigy in Wolborough Church.


MARY BRANDON (c.1466-1535)
Mary Brandon was the daughter of Sir William Brandon (d.1491) and Elizabeth Wingfield (d.1497). She married John Redyng who, according to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk by S. J. Gunn, was treasurer of the household to Prince Henry while his wife served as a “gentlewoman to the prince” in the early 1500s. When Mary was granted an annuity of £50, on July 16, 1515, however, it was for her service to Elizabeth of York and to Mary Tudor, Queen of France. In 1509, at the time of the funeral of Henry VII, Mrs. Redyng was listed among those who received manteletts and kercheffes and at that time appears to have been in the household of the Princess of Castile (Mary). However, she is also listed in the King’s Book of Payments in September 1509 with a half year’s wages  (due at Michaelmas) of £10 and again in November 1515, for a year’s wages (£20) as “gentlewoman with the queen.” John Redyng had died by 1529, when Mary again appears in the public records, this time in connection with a lawsuit filed against the estate of the late Sir Thomas Brandon. The papers relating to the case date from 1529-32. Mary was suing for monies owed her late husband. No specific dates are given, but apparently the Redyngs boarded Brandon’s wife, Lady Berkeley, together with sixteen servants and family, for thirty-two weeks, for which they were supposed to be paid 40s/week. Since Lady Berkeley (Anne Fiennes) died in 1497, this was a very old debt. The Redyngs also boarded Brandon’s ward, Lord Say, and his servant, for three years, and were owed 5s./ week for that. In addition, Mary wished to be paid for the cost of rebuilding the chapel at Redyng’s house “for the said Lady Barkeley [sic] to sit or be at her divine service and mass.” The cost for timber, glassing and workmanship came to £6 13s. 4d. It is not clear if Mrs. Redyng ever received her money. Her will, dated November 19,1531 and proved February 27, 1534/5, indicates that she had no surviving children. She left bequests to a great niece, Margaret Brograve. Margaret’s father, Robert Brograve, was Mary’s executor.

MARY BRANDON (1510-1541+)
Mary Brandon was the younger daughter of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk (1485-August 22,1545) by Anne Browne (d. 1510). She married Thomas Stanley, 2nd baron Mounteagle (May 25,1507-August 15,1560), possibly in 1524, when her father made a gift of jewelry to them both. It included an egg of diamonds with ninety great pearls, a lace of twenty-three rubies, a partlet with seventeen diamonds and two rubies, another partlet of nineteen score pearls, and a chain that was at that time in the keeping of the countess of Worcester. The total value of the gift was reckoned at £523. Douglas Richardson, in Magna Carta Ancestry, suggests a later date, between June 2, 1527 and 1529. With Mounteagle, Mary was the mother of William, 3rd baron (1527-November 10,1581), Elizabeth, Margaret, Anne, and George. Richardson lists the sons as William, Francis, and Charles. In the 1530s, Mary was almost constantly at court.  In 1538, Mounteagle complained of misbehavior on his wife’s part to Thomas Cromwell but nothing seems to have come of the allegations. Mary was a favorite lady in waiting to Jane Seymour. She died before 1544. Portraits: the drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger labeled “The Lady Montegle.”

ANNE BRAY (c.1500-November 1, 1558)
Anne Bray was the daughter of Edmund Bray, 1st baron Bray (1484-October 18, 1539) and Jane Hallighwell (c.1480-October 24, 1558). Around 1517, well before her father was created a baron in 1529, she married George Brooke (1497-September 29, 1558), who would become 9th baron Cobham in 1529. Their fourteen children included Dorothy (b.1518), Elizabeth (June 12, 1526-April 2, 1565), William, 10th Baron Cobham (November 1, 1527-March 6, 1597), Henry (b.1529), Anne (March 1531-1532), George (January 27, 1533-c.1570), Thomas (1533-1578), John (1535-1594), Edward (b.1536), Henry (February 5, 1537/8-January 13, 1592), Edmund (b.1540), Mary (1542-by March 31, 1551), Catherine (1544-1617), another Thomas, and Edward (c.1550-1587). Barbara Harris, in her work on aristocratic women, and other scholars, name Anne, Lady Cobham as one of Anne Boleyn’s first accusers but M. St. Clare Byrne argues that Lady Lisle’s man in London, John Husee, would never have referred to a noblewoman as “Nan Cobham” and therefore must have meant some other person, probably someone lower on the social ladder. Lady Cobham was in Anne Boleyn’s coronation procession and was one of Queen Jane Seymour’s ladies. According to David McKeen’s A Memory of Honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, Lady Cobham was at Cobham Hall in July 1545 but shortly afterward joined her husband in Calais. They lived in the Lord Deputy’s residence there for the next five years. In 1554, when her husband and sons were imprisoned in the Tower of London after Wyatt’s rebellion, Lady Cobham was given permission to visit them there. Lady Cobham’s will indicates that she owned a pair of forks for eating fruit and sweetmeats (a rarity in 1558). She left money to her son George’s wife (Christina Duke) to pay for nursing their baby, born at Cobham on June 15, 1558, and left the baby, Elizabeth, a pomander enclosed in gold and a little maudlin cup of silver gilt. She left nothing to her other daughter-in-law, Dorothy Neville, wife of her son William. Portraits: there is an effigy on her tomb in St. Mary Magdalen Church, Cobham, dated 1561. The Latin inscription put there by her oldest son, William, translates, in part, as follows: “Here Anna lies, a lady chaste and fair, Blest with her children’s love and husband’s care. . . .’Twas in the last sad year of Mary’s reign That first the husband, then the wife, was ta’en.”



DOROTHY BRAY (c.1524-October 31, 1605)
Dorothy Bray was either the youngest daughter or the fifth of six daughters of Edmund, 1st baron Bray (1484-October 18, 1539) and Jane Hallighwell (c.1480-October 24, 1558). She was at court, possibly as a maid of honor to Anne of Cleves in 1540, although Gareth Russell dates her arrival to the departure of Margaret Garneys during the tenure of Catherine Howard. She also served Katherine Parr. She embarked upon a brief, passionate love affair with William Parr, brother of the future queen c.1541, but it was well over by 1543, when his interest had shifted to Dorothy’s niece, her sister Anne’s daughter Elizabeth Brooke. Dorothy married Edmund Brydges, 2nd baron Chandos (d. March 11, 1573).Their children were Eleanor (b.c.1546), Giles (1547-1594), Mary, William (c.1550-November 18, 1602), and Katherine (1554-1596). Dorothy was at court as Lady Brydges during Mary Tudor’s reign. In 1574 and again in 1575, Elizabeth Tudor visited Lady Chandos at Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire. In 1588, Dorothy was living in Essex House in London and had 220 books in her bedchamber there. Dorothy’s second husband was a younger man, Sir William Knollys (1545-1632). Alison Weir’s genealogy in Mary Boleyn says they had issue. She also gives Dorothy’s date of birth as 1530, which is too late, given her presence at court in 1541. Dorothy was known among courtiers as “old lady Chandos.” According to Violet Wilson’s Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor and Ladies of the Privy Chamber, at the time her husband fell in love with one of the queen’s maids of honor, Mary Fitton, Dorothy was living with him in a house adjoining the royal tilt yard. Dorothy’s daughters, Eleanor and Katherine, and her granddaughters, Frances and Elizabeth Brydges, followed in her footsteps to serve as maids of honor. The queen visited Lady Chandos in St. James Park in May 1602. Portraits: The “Duchess of Chandos” attributed to John Bettes the Younger, 1577, in the Paul Mellon Collection, is now thought to be Frances Clinton; effigy with her second husband in the church at Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire.

ELIZABETH BRAY (c.1513-1573)
Elizabeth Bray was the daughter of Edmund, 1st baron Bray (1484-October 18, 1539) and Jane Hallighwell (c.1480-October 24, 1558). She was married four times, first to Sir Ralph Verney of Pendley in Tring, Hertfordshire (c.1509-1546). They had twelve children, including Edward (1528-December 13, 1558),  Edmund (d.1599/1600), John, Urian (d.1608), Jane, Francis (1534-1559/60), Richard, Ralph, and Anne. Her second husband was Richard Catesby of Ashby St. Ledgers, Northamptonshire and Lapworth, Warwickshire (d. March 8, 1553), by whom she had a daughter, Anne. She was his third wife, married in 1548. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of William Astell of Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The History of Parliament entry for Catesby misidentifies Elizabeth Astell as the widow of Sir Ralph Verney of Pendley in Tring, Hertfordshire (d.1525), father of Elizabeth Bray’s husband. The widow of the elder Ralph Verney was Elizabeth Broughton (see her entry). Elizabeth Bray’s third husband was William Clarke or Clarck of Dunton, Berkshire (1513-1572). She married him in 1554. In 1573, less than a year before her death. she married Henry Phillips. Portrait: memorial brass with her first husband and their children, St. John the Baptist, Aldbury, Hertfordshire.


FRANCES BRAY (d. May 27, 1592)
Frances Bray was the daughter of Edmund, 1st baron Bray (1484-October 18, 1539) and Jane Hallighwell (c.1480-October 24, 1558). She married Thomas Lyfield (d. January 26, 1596), by whom she had one child, Jane (1549-January 23, 1611). Frances was one of the coheirs of her brother John, 2nd baron Bray (d.1557) but was not confirmed in her inheritance until 1561. At that time she received Stoke d’Abernon, which became the family seat, Claygate, Chadsworth, Hedley, Mickelham, other properties in Surrey, and lands in Bedfordshire.



MARGERY BRAY (d. March 1538/9)
Margery Bray was the daughter of Sir John Bray, older half brother of Sir Reginald Bray. Her mother’s name is not known. In around 1494, she married William Sandys (1470-December 4, 1540), later created Lord Sandys of the Vyne. Their children were Thomas (October 26, 1496-1560), John, Reginald, Mary, Elizabeth, Alice, and Margaret. In 1510, the estate of Sir Reginald Bray was divided between Margery and the eldest son of his full brother, also named John Bray. This amounted to a considerable fortune and included Chelsea Manor in Middlesex, which Sir William, in 1536, traded with the king for the dissolved Augustinian priory of Mottisfont, Hampshire. Sir William and Lady Sandys entertained King Henry VIII at The Vyne on at least two occasions, in July 1510 and again from October 15-19, 1535. In between, the old manor house was replaced by a mansion. According to Maurice Howard in The Vyne: A Tudor House Revealed, Margery was the sometime guest of William More, prior of Worcester, who sent her a gift of sweet wine in 1523. She sent him an amber rosary in 1530. In October 1535, More was under house arrest in Gloucester at the same time the king and queen were staying at The Vyne. A few days later, Margery wrote to Lord Cromwell on More’s behalf, promising Cromwell that More would pay him as much as those who wanted to replace him as prior.


ELLEN or HELEN BRAYNE (c.1542-1613)
Ellen Brayne was the daughter of Thomas Brayne (d.1562) and Alice Barlow (d.1566). Her father was a tailor and also a member of the Girdler’s Company. On April 23, 1559, at St. Stephen, Coleman Street, London, Ellen married James Burbage (c.1535-December 1596). Shortly before their marriage, he had left a career as a joiner to become a player. In 1567, Ellen’s brother John (c.1541-July 1586), a grocer, constructed the first purpose-built professional playhouse in England since Roman times, the Red Lion, east of London’s Aldgate. Little is known of this venture, but certainly it indicates a family interest in plays and players. By 1572, James Burbage was the leader of Leicester’s Men. On April 13, 1576, he obtained a twenty-one year lease on a property in the Northern Liberty of Shoreditch, paying a £20 deposit and £14 per annum, and there built the Theatre, with Ellen’s brother as his partner in the venture. The lease ran until March 25, 1597 with a provision for up to ten more years if they spent £200 on the old buildings on the property during the first ten years. The agreement was verbal, with Burbage promising to add Brayne’s name to the lease and Brayne indicating that the Burbage children would be his heirs, since his own children had all died by then. When expenses skyrocketed, Burbage had to borrow money and mortgage the lease. The entire Burbage family and Brayne and his wife were all involved in the construction of the building and Brayne sold his house and business in Bucklersbury to move to Shoreditch. In January 1580, with Burbage’s help. Brayne acquired a twenty-four year lease on The George inn in Whitechapel. He did not run it as an inn, but rather moved into the building with his wife. Again without a written contract, Brayne took an old friend, Robert Miles or Myles, a goldsmith, as a partner and Miles also moved into The George. Meanwhile, in 1583, Leicester’s Men disbanded and Burbage joined Lord Hunsdon’s company, better known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. All the while, Ellen’s family kept growing. The Burbage children were Cuthbert (June 1565-1636), Richard (July 1568-March 13, 1619), Ellen (June 1574-December 1596), Alice (b. March 1576), Anne (b.1577), and Joan (d.1582). Ellen’s brother appears to have been a quarrelsome sort. He fell out with James Burbage and also with Robert Miles. After a particularly violent quarrel with Miles, John Brayne suddenly died. His widow, Margaret (née Stowers) (d. April 1593), who had worked temporarily as a gatherer (collecting money from spectators) at the Theatre in the mid 1580s, accused Miles of murdering her husband. Since Brayne had died bankrupt, Margaret also sued Miles for a share of The George. Meanwhile, she gave birth to a posthumous child, Katherine Brayne (1586-July 1593). Not long after, Miles evicted Margaret from The George. She later moved back in, and in 1588 they joined forces to sue James Burbage for half the Theatre or the £600 Brayne had been owed. The Burbages countersued, claiming Miles was an adulterer and a “murdering knave” and Margaret a “murdering ho.” On June 7, 1589, the Theatre was reclaimed from creditors by means of assigning the lease to James’s oldest son, Cuthbert. Margaret Brayne was promised a share in the settlement, but when had not been honored by November 16, 1590, she attempted to install her own gatherer on the premises. James and Cuthbert were charged with contempt of court for trying to block her efforts. According to later testimony from Margaret Brayne’s supporters, Ellen Burbage and her second son, Richard, physically attacked Margaret and her “agent,” Robert Miles. With Richard Burbage, already well known as an actor, wielding a broomstick, the Burbages drove Margaret and her men out of the theatre yard. Ellen, obviously, played an active role in her husband’s enterprises. Margaret Brayne died of the plague in 1593, but she made Miles her heir and he continued the lawsuit until 1595 and began another in 1597 that was later dropped. In 1596, meanwhile, the Burbage family moved from Shoreditch to Blackfriars, hoping to build an indoor theater. They knew by then that their lease on the land on which the Theatre was built would not be renewed. They spent £1000 for the Blackfriars property and renovations on an existing theater there (formerly used by children’s companies) and lived in the building during construction, but in November the neighbors got up a petition to prevent them from opening. This blow was quickly followed by two more. Their daughter Ellen died in early December and James Burbage died later the same month. His wealth at the time of his death was only valued at £37 because he had already deeded his personal property to Cuthbert and the Blackfriars property to Richard. As a temporary measure the Burbages rented the Curtain in Shoreditch for performances. Then, rather than let James Burbage’s Theatre be taken over and run by outsiders, Ellen and her sons brought a dozen workmen to the site on the night of December 28, 1598, dismantled the structure, and ferried the parts across the Thames to be reassembled in Southwark, where it opened in the autumn of 1599 as the Globe. Ellen lived for another fourteen years, long enough to savor the successes of her two famous sons.





ELEANOR BRERETON (d. c. November 3, 1567)
Eleanor Brereton was the daughter of Randle Brereton of Malpas and Ipstones, Cheshire (d. June 3, 1530) and Eleanor Dutton (1484-1522). She married Sir William Brereton of Brereton, Cheshire (c. 1473-February 4, 1540/1). She is the most likely person to have been the “lady Breerton” who obliged Catherine Howard in 1538/9 by saying she was the one who’d given her a “heartsease”—a silk pansy with yellow and purple markings that had really been a gift from Francis Dereham, Catherine’s lover. Gareth Russell, in Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII (2016), discounts Elizabeth Somerset Brereton, widow of William Brereton (x.1536) because there is no proof that her husband was ever knighted. That Sir William Brereton’s mother was a member of the Legh family, and thus related to Catherine, supports identifying Eleanor as Lady Breerton. In October 1539, when he was gathering 250 archers to go to with him to fight in Ireland, Brereton broke his leg, but this did not stop him from leaving the following month. It is unlikely he took his wife with him. He died there four months later after having briefly served as Lord Justice. Eleanor was his second wife and the mother of Katherine, Margaret, Mary, Ellen, Anne, Richard, Henry, and John Brereton, but it was his son by his first wife who was his principal heir. Eleanor later married Philip Egerton of Olton (1509-July 17, 1563). Although several online genealogies say he was her first husband, but his life dates make that impossible. A marriage date of 1529 and a birthdate for their son John (d.1590) of 1530 are also absurd. Eleanor also had a daughter, Eleanor Egerton, by her second husband.



Werburga or Warburga Brereton was the daughter of John Brereton of Brereton and Malpas, Cheshire and Katherine Berkeley (c.1453-January 25, 1494). In 1507, she married Sir Francis Cheyney of Shurland, who appears in the early records of the reign of Henry VIII as a knight of the body. In December 1511, he is listed as the leader of a company of soldiers. His lifedates are sometimes given as 1480-1515, but he must have died before May 10, 1512. On that date, Werburga and her second husband, Sir William Compton (1482-June 30, 1528), received the grant of the manors of Denford in Kintbury, Berkshire and Elcome and Ufcote, Wiltshire. Compton used his wife’s fortune to rebuild Compton Wynyates. As Lady Compton, she was at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. She appears to have had at least three children by Compton: Peter (d. January 30, 1544); Margaret, who died in infancy on June 15, 1517; and Catherine, who had a dowry of £2,346 but died before her marriage to John St. Leger could take place. Werburga was still living when Compton made his will in 1522. He never made a later one, even though he is known to have remarried before his death in the epidemic of sweating sickness of 1528. Werburga died before 1527, when Court of Arches required Compton to take the sacrament to prove he had not committed adultery with Anne Stafford, Lady Hastings, during his wife’s lifetime. Portraits: a stained glass window at Compton Wynyates shows Sir William and Werburga at prayer with two sons kneeling behind him and one daughter kneeling behind her. This is a replica, since the original was destroyed during the Civil War; effigy at Compton Wynyates, also damaged during the Civil War. When it was fished out of the moat, the head, shoulders, and praying hands were missing. Sir William’s effigy is missing his hands and lower legs.


REBECCA BRETT (d. 1609) (maiden name unknown)
The Rebecca Brett buried in St. Martin-in-the-Fields on September 9, 1609 may have been the mother of poet and playwright Ben Jonson (1572-1637). Her first husband, whose surname was Jonson or Johnson, lost “all his estate under Queen Mary,” was imprisoned, and on his release “turned minister.” He died a month before the birth of his son. Rebecca’s second husband was a bricklayer, Robert Brett (d. August 29, 1609). The family, which grew to include John (1582-1618) and Robert (1584-1618), lived in Hartshorn (or Christopher) Lane near Charing Cross in Westminster. Her son may have been apprenticed to Brett, and did assist with some building work at Lincoln’s Inn in 1588, but he did not become a bricklayer. In his conversations with William Drummond in 1618, Ben Jonson claimed that in 1605, when he was in prison and his mother feared he might be executed, she prepared a poisoned draught for him and planned to drink of it first herself.




Margaret Brewes was the daughter of Thomas Brewes (Brewse/Brews) of Little Wenham, Suffolk (d. June 17, 1481) and Elizabeth Debenham (d.1503). After July 10, 1479, she married Sir Philip Tylney (Tilney) of Shelley, Suffolk (d. January 8, 1532/3), as his first wife. Their children were Thomas and Philip (d.1541). Tylney was a cousin of Elizabeth Tylney, countess of Surrey, and the brother of Surrey’s second wife, Agnes Tylney. According to Alison Weir’s biography of Mary Boleyn, Margaret was one of the ladies attending the countess at Sheriff Hutton in 1495 when John Skelton wrote his poem, “A Goodly Garlande or Chapelet of Laurell,” in their honor.

ALICE BRICE (d.c.1499) (maiden name unknown)
Alice was married three times, first to Roger Steynour (d. by 1445), then to John Crichefeld (d.1454), a skinner, by whom she had two children, John (d.1487), a goldsmith, and Alice (1446-1499+), a nun at Halliwell from 1462, and third to Henry Brice (d.1467), London sheriff, by whom she had Joan and Henry. He left her £1000 in his will. After his death she lived as a vowess for over thirty years. This did not stop her, however, from bringing suit in chancery between 1475 and 1485 over the £21 owed her for the purchase of some broadcloth. In his will, her son John left her most of his estate and made her his executor. She wrote her own will in 1499, leaving Halliwell nunnery a silver and parcel gilt basin valued at £5. Her daughter Alice was given the use of the basin and an outright gift of some plate belonging to her mother that was already in her keeping . . . so long as she remained in the nunnery. If she left, the plate would go to Alice Crichefeld’s half sister Joan, who was by then married to wealthy grocer Henry Kebell (1452-April 1517). Joan was also to inherit lands and tenements in the parish of St. Nicholas Acon, for which she was to pay her sister a yearly rent of 53s. 4d. while Alice remained at the nunnery. Should she leave, her income would be cut in half.

see also BRYDGES


MRS. BRIDGES (d.1598+) (given and maiden names unknown)
According to the entry for Charles Lister of New Lodge, Windsor, Berkshire (1534-November 26, 1613) in the History of Parliament, when Lister was over sixty years old he entered into a contract of marriage with a Mrs. Bridges, a widow who lived in Lambeth Marsh. Upon signing the marriage contract, he gave her £190 and then sent her a purse containing another £50 in gold. Other gifts were three more payments of money, totaling another £40, a pearl chain, and a diamond already belonging to her that he redeemed. It had a value of £60. Additional loans and redemptions followed, and more gifts—a silver basin and ewer, a jewel worth £120, taffeta, lawn, linen, and a set of tapestries for her chamber. The entry summarizes, from the affidavit Lister swore to on December 11, 1598, that he “further contributed another 2,000 marks for the redemption of more diamonds. In sum he parted with £1,150 and another £1,000 pledged, all upon her faithful promise of marriage.” The affidavit further states that if Mrs. Bridges denies his allegations, “all these things shall be recovered of her and be disposed of according to my will.” Documentation after 1598 is lacking, but it does not appear that Mrs. Bridges married him. Lister’s will, dated October 23, 1613, does not mention a wife or family.


ALICE BRIGANDINE (x. March 14, 1551)
Alice Brigandine was the daughter of John Brigandine or Bryganten of Southampton and Alice Squire or Squyer (d.1560). She was brought up by her stepfather, Edward, baron North, at Kirtling and there met and married Thomas Arden or Ardern of Faversham, Kent (c.1508-February 14, 1551). Arden had a daughter, Margaret (b.1538), but she seems to have been the child of a previous wife. Well before the end of 1550, Alice had a lover named Thomas Mosby. Probably because she wanted to marry him, she plotted to murder her husband. She tried and failed to kill him with poison, then asked a neighbor, John Grene, to hire an assassin who would do the deed for £10. Grene hired one “Black Will,” but Will’s first attempt also failed. More conspirators, George Shakebag and Arden’s servant, Michael Saunderson, were brought into the plot, the latter with the promise of marriage to one of Mosby’s kinswomen. Additional attempts were made and failed. Mosby challenged Arden to a duel, but Arden refused to fight. Alice, Mosby, Grene, Saunderson, Shakebag, Will, and Alice’s maid, Elizabeth Stafford, met at the house of Mosby’s sister, Cecily Ponder or Pounder, to devise a new plan and finally, on Sunday, February 14, 1551, they killed Arden in his own parlor. With company due to arrive for supper, Alice quickly cleaned up the blood and temporarily hid the body in the cellar. During the meal, she and Cecily Ponder professed amazement that Arden had not yet returned home. Arden’s daughter entertained the company by playing on the virginals. Then, after the guests left, with the help of Arden’s daughter, Elizabeth Stafford, and Cecily Ponder, Alice dragged the corpse out of the house and put it in her neighbor’s field, hoping that the authorities would conclude that Arden had been murdered by robbers. Unfortunately, it had started to snow, and footprints led the authorities straight back to Alice. She was tried, convicted, and burnt to death in Canterbury. Mosby and his sister were hanged. Michael Saunderson was hanged in chains. The maid was burnt for killing her master. Grene and Mosby were not captured at once, but were eventually taken and executed. The custody of Arden’s daughter, Margaret, was given to Sir Thomas Cheyne. Raphael Holinshed included an account of the crime in his Chronicles in 1577 and in 1592 it was the basis for a play, The Tragedie of Arden of Feversham and Blackwill. More recent accounts are Patricia Hyde’s Thomas Arden in Faversham: the man behind the myth and Chapter Four of John Bellamy’s Strange, Inhuman Deaths: Murder in Tudor England; a concise account of the crime is in the Oxford DNB entry under “Arden, Thomas.”


MABEL BRIGGE (1506-x. April 7, 1538) (maiden name unknown)
Mabel Brigge, a widow, was a servant in the household of John Lokkar of Reysome Grange in Holderness, Yorkshire. She is alleged to have performed at least two “black fasts” (also known as St. Trinian’s fasts) designed to bring about someone’s death. In the first instance, the man it was designed to kill broke his neck soon thereafter. The second instance resulted in a charge of treason because the two men she was hired to kill by this means were King Henry VIII and the duke of Norfolk. The woman who hired her was Isabel Buck. Both women later claimed that Isabel had given Mabel wheat and linen in exchange for her help in finding lost money, but Agnes Lokker, John’s wife, testified that Mabel had confessed to her that she had fasted for three days in an attempt to bring about the deaths of the king and “the false Duke” of Norfolk. Both Isabel and Mabel were tried and convicted but only Mabel was executed. Biography: entry in Carole Levin, et al, editors, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen.

AGNES BRIGGES (1554-1574+)
Agnes Brigges or Bridges was the daughter of a London weaver or tailor living in the parish of Saint Margaret in Lothbury. Contrary to the entry under “Children as Accusers” in The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by Rossell Hope Robbins and repeated in other sources, Agnes was not a child of eleven when she pretended to be possessed. The details that follow come from Chapter Six of Demon Possession in Elizabethan England by Kathleen R. Sands. Sands relates that in March 1574, Agnes, then age twenty, “began to experience a vague affliction.” On June 20, she went into a trance. The following week, seeking advice, she visited the house of John Foxe and it was there that she encountered Elizabeth Pindar and her daughter, eleven-year-old Rachel. Like Agnes, Rachel fell into trances, but in addition she vomited up thread and feathers, a sign most people at that time saw as proof of demon possession. After Agnes returned home, she also began to throw up strange objects, including bent pins. In mid-July, two ministers, William Long and William Turner, attempted to dispossess Rachel of her demon. The two also attempted, at a different location, to dispossess Agnes. Both victims claimed that “Old Joan” had sent demons into their bodies. She was identified as Joan Thornton, who lived “upon the quay.” Accounts of both cases were soon in print, which brought the matter to the attention of Matthew Parker, archbishop of Canterbury. On August 11, 1574, Agnes and Rachel were taken into custody for questioning, whereupon they confessed to fraud. On August 15, the confessions were read aloud at Paul’s Cross and Agnes and Rachel repented in public. According to Sands, even though Agnes insisted that her mother had no knowledge of the fraud, Mistress Brigges was imprisoned at Westminster until Agnes’s penance had been accomplished.


PETRONELLA BRIGHTRED (d.1587+) (maiden name unknown)

Petronella Brightred came from Chittingstone. In March 1583, she was convicted of poisoning her husband and the wife of her lover, Thomas Hayward, with ratsbane. She was sentenced to be hanged but in July she claimed to be pregnant and the sentence was not carried out. After four years in prison, she was pardoned. After her release, she and Hayward were married. Biography: entry in Carole Levin, et al, editors, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen.

MARGERY BRINKLOW (d.1557) (maiden name unknown)
Margery was the wife of a mercer, a merchant adventurer, a wealthy merchant, and a knight who was governor of Guernsey. Her first husband was Henry Brinklow of Kintbury, Berkshire (d.c. January 20, 1545/6), who wrote radical Protestant pamphlets under the pseudonym Roderyck Mors and claimed he’d formerly been a grey friar. Whether this was true or not is unclear. He and Margery had one child, John (by 1543-1546+). Brinklow made Margery his executor and residual legatee when he made his will on June 20, 1545. In it he calls himself citizen and mercer of London and specifies that Margery must not wear any “worldly, fantastical, dissembling black gown” in mourning for him. He mentions his son John by name and makes provision should Margery again be with child at the time of his death. Because he also made bequests of £10 each, upon their marriage, to three young women not related to him—Rose Hasarde, Joyce Copleston, and Alice Chaperleyn—Anne F. Sutton, in The Mercery of London, suggests that Margery was a silkwoman and these three were her apprentices. Sutton further speculates that Margery was the “Mistress Margery” owed £68 for “fronts with laid work” at the time Queen Anne Boleyn was executed in 1536. Although Brinklow was wealthy enough to leave additional bequests to his siblings and £30 to the poor, the Oxford DNB entry for Margery’s second husband, Stephen Vaughan (d. December 25, 1549), calls her an “impoverished widow.” The DNB also gives an account of Vaughan’s search a wife in 1544-46. He was a royal financial agent in the Netherlands when his first wife died. His three young children in London needed a mother, but Vaughan could not return to England long enough to find a wife on his own. He asked for help from friends and in one letter described what he was looking for—a “trusty and womanly matron.” He began his long-distance courtship of Margery almost as soon as she was widowed. Because the king would not allow him to return home, they met in Calais for the ceremony and were married, by a license dated April 27, 1546, in the private chapel of the Deputy of Calais, George Brooke, Lord Cobham. Then Vaughan returned to his duties in the Netherlands until the end of the year and Margery went back to London to prove her first husband’s will (on November 24, 1546) and take charge of raising her stepchildren in the Protestant faith (see ANNE VAUGHAN). There is no further mention in records of Margery’s son, John Brinklow, or of her career as a silkwoman. It was Vaughan’s first wife (see MARGERY GWYNNETH) who was royal silkwoman to Anne of Cleves and Katherine Parr. When Vaughan died after only three years of marriage, he left his widow rents worth £26 6s 8d and their house at St. Mary Spital for nine years. They had no children together. It was not long before Margery married again, this time to George Rolle of Stevenstone, Devon and London (d. November 22, 1552), a wealthy merchant. One source gives them three daughters, Jacquet (d.1609), Elizabeth, and Mary. The History of Parliament gives all of Rolle’s six sons and five daughters to his second wife. Margery was named executor of his will, made on November 11, 1552. She obtained a limited probate of his will on February 9, 1553 and a probate caetorum on a separate, slightly different version of the will in June 1553. In 1554, Margery married for the fourth time, becoming the third of four wives of Sir Leonard Chamberlayne or Chamberlain of Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire (d. August 20, 1561), who had been appointed Governor of Guernsey in September 1553. According to the Oxford DNB entry on Sir Leonard, the early days of this marriage were occupied with lawsuits against the executors of Stephen Vaughan’s will. In April 1555, Chamberlain finally took up his duties on Guernsey. Although Margery was a staunch supporter of the New Religion during her first two marriages, she apparently had no difficulty accepting that Sir Leonard advocated the return of Catholicism to England. Margery died in 1557 and was buried on the 5th of May in that year.


Eleanor Britton was from Norfolk. She was a servant of in the household of George Talbot, 6th earl of Shrewsbury (1528-1590) by 1579 and by 1586 was housekeeper at Hardwick Hall and Shrewsbury’s mistress. Some accounts say she was a widow, which would mean her maiden name is unknown. Shrewsbury was at odds with his wife, Bess of Hardwick, who lived seven miles away at Wingfield. They reconciled for a brief time early in 1587, but a few months later the earl was living openly with Eleanor at Hanworth or Handsworth Manor. Eleanor is said to have the earl completely enthralled. She was with him when he died at Sheffield on November 18, 1590 and she and her nephew, Thomas, left immediately afterward, taking with them everything of value they could find. By the time Gilbert Talbot, Shrewsbury’s son and heir arrived, thousands of pounds worth of property were missing. Gilbert raided Eleanor Britton’s house and confiscated everything he could get his hands on. Then he sued, accusing her of embezzlement during the last year of his father’s life. Eleanor countersued, demanding the return of the confiscated goods. The matter was still not settled five years later.

By 1543, Dorothy Broadbelt was part of the household of Elizabeth Tudor. She may have been there as early as 1536, when “Jane Bradbelt” is listed as a chamberer. In his biography of Elizabeth Tudor, David Starkey refers to Dorothy, in 1554, as “the long-serving Dorothy Bradbelt.” In June 1554, Dorothy’s name was one of two Elizabeth suggested as a replacement when Elizabeth Sandes was removed from her service at Woodstock. Dorothy was a gentlewoman of the bedchamber in 1559 and is listed among the queen’s ladies in 1562-68, 1570, 1575, and 1585-89. In 1563, Dorothy was responsible for the care of the queen’s parrot. In August and September 1562 she was briefly confined to her chamber or, alternatively, placed in the custody of Sir William Cecil, for writing to the Swedish Chancellor, Nicolas Guildenstern, in support of a marriage between Queen Elizabeth and King Eric. In spite of that, she was one of the earl of Leicester’s chief contacts at court from 1566-1588. She married John Abingdon (Abington/Habingdon), a clerk of the kitchen, in 1567. On June 29, 1560, Dorothy was granted a forty-one year lease on certain properties. She surrendered it in 1570 in exchange for another forty-one year lease, this one on land in Northamptonshire and the rectory of Utterby, Lincolnshire. According to Charlotte Merton in The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, Dorothy was a chamberer for her entire career, but Merton also mentions an Elizabeth Bradbelt Abington, identifying her as the queen’s dresser in 1575. Marion Colthorpe, in “Women at Court: Royal Household” (http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day), gives Dorothy’s date of death as 1577.

ALICE BROCK (May 9, 1560-c.1615)
Alice Brock was the daughter of Sigismund Brock of Essex and Anne Jerningham (1540-c.1598). She married Thomas Blague (d.1611), later Dean of Rochester, when she was fifteen. They had six children—John, Thomas, Cornwallis, Edmund, Nicholas, and Frances (1586-1604). Alice was a client of Simon Forman the astrologer and as such details of her person and her love affairs have been preserved. He wrote of her that she “was of long visage, wide mouth, reddish hair, of good and comely stature; but would never garter her hose, and go much slipshod. . . . She kept company with base fellows . . . and yet would seem as holy as a horse.” In 1600, she was hoping to become the mistress of Henry, 5th Lord Windsor. After Blague’s death, Alice married Walter Meysey, who was thereafter arrested for Blague’s debts. He separated from his wife to avoid being held responsible for them. Biography: A. L. Rowse, Sex and Society in Shakespeare’s Age, Chapter VII.



Margaret Brograve was the daughter of Robert Brograve of Beckenham, Kent (d. 1546) and Catherine Leventhorpe (d.1546+). She is mentioned, as Margaret Brograve, in the will of Mary Brandon Reading (her maternal grandmother’s sister), dated November 19, 1531 and proved February 27, 1534/5 and also in the will of Margaret Leventhorpe Yaxley, her aunt, written on October 24, 1540 and proved December 4, 1540. In the latter will the bequest to Margaret included her choice of a satin or a damask gown, as well as sheets, blankets, and tablecloths. At some point after that and before her father made his will on August 26, 1546, Margaret married Robert Bridges. This has caused some confusion, since a Margaret Brigges is a beneficiary in the will of Robert Yaxley, Margaret Yaxley’s husband. Since Margaret Yaxey’s will includes bequests to both Margaret Brograve and Margaret Briggs, I feel safe in identifying Margaret Brigges as Margaret Vernando, wife of John Bridges.

see also BROOKE



ELIZABETH BROKE (d. May 12, 1502)
Elizabeth Broke was elected abbess of Romsey Abbey in 1471. She alleged that she came from a noble race of barons, but whether this was the family of Brooke of Cobham or Willoughby de Broke is unclear. She was in trouble with her superiors as early as 1478. It was probably at that time that she was absolved of adultery with one John Placy. She resigned as abbess, but was immediately reelected. In 1492, she confessed to being in debt for £80 to her steward at Romsey, Master Terbock or Terbocke. He persuaded her to let his friend, John White, enter the nunnery freely. According the depositions given by some of Romsey’s forty nuns, White had continual access to the abbess. Their complaints were recorded, as were Elizabeth’s about them. She said she suspected that they were slipping into town and that she feared they were frequenting taverns. In 1501, she was again accused of being under the influence of a man, this time the chaplain of the infirmary, Master Bryce. One of the complaints against her this time was that she’d allowed the roofs at Romsey to become defective in order to squander funds on Bryce.

Neither the given name nor the maiden name of this woman has been preserved by history. She is first mentioned in a letter to Lady Lisle in Calais from Thomas Broke (c.1513-1555+). On December 18, 1534, he writes from London: “My bedfellow hath been iij times at Mr. Judd’s, and cannot chance to find him within.” Why she was seeking Mr. Judd becomes clear in a letter to Lady Lisle from John Husee, her man of business in London, on December 29, 1534. Husee writes: “I spake with your gossip Broke’s wife, who shewed me that she could buy you no riband at Mr. Judd’s at the price your ladyship would have it at. So she took me viiij, and I bought the same half lb. of riband which is xiiij pieces, and a remnant of white.” A letter from Broke to Lord Lisle on December 30, 1534 then refers to Lisle’s “great goodnesses many ways shewed unto me and to my poor wife.” Entries for Thomas Broke in the Oxford DNB and the History of Parliament are a bit contradictory, but he appears to have been a gentleman usher of the king’s chamber in the early 1530s and then obtained a position and lands in Calais, where he was chief clerk of the exchequer and a customs officer. By 1539, the couple had at least two children, Arthur (probably) and Thomas, and Broke was an alderman. The DNB says Thomas Cromwell was Broke’s patron and that Broke was a advocate of the New Religion. When he was elected to the House of Commons in April 1539, he made the mistake of speaking out against the Six Articles Bill and then remained in London in June to support imprisoned members of the Calais garrison who had been accused of the sacramentarian heresy (denying the presence of Christ in the eucharist). He ended up in the Fleet himself. Through Cromwell’s good graces, he received a royal pardon on August 4 and returned to Calais, but in March 1540, he was reported for eating meat in Lent and was also accused of fraud during his term as deputy customer of the Lantern Gate. By one account, he was being held in Calais in the mayor’s gaol when a letter from his wife to Cromwell resulted in his being transferred to the Fleet in London in July 1540. The DNB says he and twelve others were committed to the Tower of London as a result of the findings of commissioners empowered to investigate heresy in Calais. Also in 1540, probably at the time her husband was arrested, “the wife of Thomas Broke” was “handled roughly” by Sir Edward Ryngeley, who in 1539 had become comptroller of Calais and was much reviled for his treatment of the sacramentaries living there. Mrs. Broke reportedly told Ryngeley that “the King’s slaughterhouse found wrong when you were made a gentleman.” After 1540, there is no further mention of her. Her husband remained a prisoner for “some years.” By September 1543 he was free and had been appointed paymaster of the king’s works at Dover harbor. He appears to have divided his time between Kent and Calais and also to have visited various protestant communities in Europe. He was in Italy in 1549 with his two sons. He wrote and translated several religious works. In 1552, he was once again a prisoner in the Fleet, probably for religious reasons. After 1555, he joins his wife in disappearing from history.

ALICE BROME (d.1591)
Alice Brome was the daughter of Sir John Brome of Holton, Oxfordshire (1482-1558) and Margaret Rowse (1496-1525). She married Arthur Babham of Babham End, Cookham, Berkshire (c.1520-April 6, 1561). Their children were John, Elizabeth, Colubree, Ursula, Eleanor, and Christopher (c.1560-1612+). When her husband died, she commissioned a monument that contained an inscription listing his children and stating that she “hathe erecte this work in costly stone For her swete Arthur Babham’s sake though he be dead and gone Farewell Renowned true Esquire My husband and my Frende I hope in Heaven to meet with you when all things here have ende.” Her second husband was Edmund More of Cookham, Berkshire. Portrait: effigy in Holy Trinity Church, Cookham, Berkshire (shown with three of her daughters).

CONSTANCE BROME (d. July 15, 1520)
Although the surname of Constance or Constancia Brome is usually given as Browne, her family used the spelling Brome. She was the daughter of William Brome of Holton, Oxfordshire (d.1461) and Agnes Baldington (c.1428-1474). She became a Bridgettine nun at Syon in Isleworth and was prioress from 1518 until her death in 1520.


JOCOSA or JOYCE BROME (d. June 21, 1528)
Jocosa Brome was the daughter of John Brome of Baddesley Clinton (1415-November 9, 1466; alternate date November 5, 1468) and Beatrice Shirley (1417-July 10, 1483). She became a nun and was prioress of Wroxall when she retired, due to old age, in September 1525. In retirement, she had her own chamber, furnished with her own possessions, and a pension of £3 a year for life, paid in quarterly installments. She was succeeded as prioress by Alice Little (d.1553+).

MAGDALEN BROME (d. c.1596)
Magdalen Brome was the daughter of Sir John Brome of Holton, Oxfordshire (1482-1558) and Margaret Rowse (1496-1525). By 1539, she married John Denton (d. July 10, 1576). They had six sons and four daughters, including John (d. before 1576), Edward, and William. In 1564, Ambrosden, Oxfordshire was granted to Denton and his wife, giving her ownership in survivorship. In her will, Magdalen left £20 for a tomb or monument of marble to be erected in Ambrosden Church.

ALICE BROMFIELD (d. March 27, 1610)
Alice Bromfield was the daughter of Thomas Bromfield of London. She married Henry Leake (d.1563), a wealthy Southwark brewer, then William Cockes (d.1569), a London haberdasher, and finally Sir John Spencer (d. March 3, 1610), a wealthy merchant and Master of the Clothworkers’ Company who was  Lord Mayor of London in 1594-5. They lived at Crosby Place in Bishopsgate, London and Canonbury in Islington, where the queen was a guest in 1581. Their daughter, Elizabeth (d.1632) was reputed to have a dowry of £40,000 and her marriage to William, Lord Compton caused an estrangement from her parents in 1599. They were reconciled by the time Elizabeth gave birth to her second child. By the time Spencer died, his estate was valued at between £300,000 and £800,000. Alice died just five days after his burial. She was buried on April 7, 1610. Portrait: tomb in St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, London



ELIZABETH BROMLEY (1566-before July 7,1601)
Elizabeth Bromley was the daughter of Thomas Bromley of Rudd Castle and Hodnet, Shropshire (1530-April 12, 1587), Lord Chancellor of England from 1579 until his death, and Elizabeth Fortescue (d. June 1602). The Bromley children were tutored by William Hergest, who dedicated his The Right Rule of Christian Chastity (1580) to his charges. Elizabeth was the first wife of Oliver Cromwell of Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire (April 25, 1563-August 28, 1655), by whom she had eight children: Henry (August 26, 1586-July 18, 1657), Thomas (1588-1635), Elizabeth (d.1666), John (May 14, 1589-1646), Jane (1593-c.1644), Catherine (1594-1614), Joan (1596-1637), and William (d. February 25, 1655). In mid-March 1590, Elizabeth and her stepmother-in-law, Lady Cromwell (née Susan Weeks), then staying at Ramsey Abbey, paid a visit to Robert and Elizabeth Throckmorton in Warboys, Cambridgeshire (now Huntingdonshire), about four and a half miles distant. The Throckmorton daughters had fallen into fits and had alleged that Alice Samuel, an old woman who lived nearby, was causing them. During the visit, Susan Cromwell plucked up a pair of scissors, cut off a lock of Mrs. Samuel’s hair, and gave it to Mrs. Throckmorton to burn—a folk remedy believed to weaken a witch’s power. Mrs. Samuel protested that she had never done Lady Cromwell any harm . . . “as yet.” According to one account, Lady Cromwell had nightmares about Alice Samuel that very night. A cat appeared and threatened to pluck all the flesh from her body. Elizabeth Cromwell, her mother-in-law’s bedmate, woke Susan from this nightmare, but the damage had been done. Susan died in July 1592. Eight months later, Alice Samuel was accused of murder by witchcraft. She was executed in April, 1593. Portrait: found at Find-a-Grave, but the clothing is not typical for pre-1601, which makes me question the identification. This site also gives her date of death as 1603, but her widower married his second wife on July 7, 1601. Elizabeth was buried in All Saints, Huntingdon.



JOAN BROMLEY (1562-1636)
Joan Bromley was the daughter of Lord Chancellor Thomas Bromley of Rudd Castle and Hodnet, Shropshire (1530-April 12, 1587) and Elizabeth Fortesque (d. June 1602). She was courted by Sir Edward Greville (1566-1634), an unscrupulous gentleman who apparently possessed a great deal of charm. Their marriage intentions are dated May 20, 1583. They had one son and seven daughters. Greville spent his wife’s fortune, leaving her with little more than the clothes on her back. According to his entry in the History of Parliament, his debts were so great by 1630 that Joan had to renounce her claim to Milcote (her jointure) and agree to a reduction in her annuity. After his death, she pawned her household goods for £27. When she died of the plague there wasn’t enough money left to pay her funeral expenses.


MARGARET BROMLEY (1521-August 10,1598)
Margaret Bromley was the daughter and heir of Sir Thomas Bromley of Eyton-upon-Severn, Wroxeter, and Shrewsbury, Shropshire (d. May 15, 1555), chief justice of the king’s bench, and Isabel Lister (d.1555+). In 1545, she married Richard Newport of High Ercoll, Shropshire (c.1518-September 12,1570). Her dowry included land in five western counties. They had four sons and four daughters, including Francis (d. March 15,1622/3), Andrew (1563-1611), Elizabeth, Isabel (d.1611), Mary, and Magdalen (1558-June 1627). In 1571, Margaret and her cousin, George Bromley, were granted joint guardianship of her eldest surviving son, Francis. Portraits: two effigies in Wroxeter, one on her father’s tomb and one with her husband.



MURIEL BROMLEY (1560-1630)
Muriel Bromley was the daughter of Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas Bromley (1530-April 12, 1587) and Elizabeth Fortescue (d. June 1602). She was married to John Lyttleton or Littleton of Frankley (c.1563-July 1601), a Papist and conspirator in Essex’s Rebellion who died in prison. He had been condemned to death and his estates forfeited but Muriel “begged the estate” of King James and managed to pay fines totally £25,000. This took her thirty years, during which time she raised her children, Thomas (1596-February 22, 1651) and Anne (d. February 6, 1624), at Hagley, Worcestershire.

AGNES BROOKE (d.1602+) (maiden name unknown)
Agnes Brooke and her husband William borrowed £80 from William Gardiner of Bermondsey in 1584. For security they put up the rental of several houses they owned which were worth far more than £80. The mortgage was for the term of fourteen years but Gardiner, knowing that neither William nor Agnes could read, substituted the word fourscore in the written agreement. When they discovered the trick, they complained. When that did no good, they attempted to take the case before the Star Chamber. Gardiner had the financial wherewithal to delay the case until the Brookes dropped it, but they did not give up. They contacted the Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Bromley, but he was swayed by Gardiner’s wealth and influence. Among other ploys, Gardiner invited Bromley to his house to dine. Gardiner also attempted to trick the Brookes into defaulting on their loan, so that he might permanently claim their property. In the end he was successful, avoiding receipt of the last £5 and then keeping both the rest of the repayment and the property. Agnes and her husband brought another lawsuit in 1602, this one against Frances Smith, a widow, and her son, Robert. Frances Smith had lived for nine years in the Brookes’ house. Among those deposed were William Gardiner’s stepson, William Wayte, and a woman he may have sued in another case in 1602 (see ANNE LEA).


Catherine Brooke was the daughter of George Brooke, 9th baron Cobham (1497-September 29, 1558) and Anne Bray (c.1500-November 1, 1558). She was still a baby in late 1545 when her mother left her in the care of a wet nurse at Ospring and journeyed to Calais to join her father, living there in the Lord Deputy’s house for the next five years. Catherine was still unmarried and living at Cobham Hall in 1559 when she served as chief mourner at the October 4th funeral of her sister-in-law, Dorothy Neville, Lady Cobham. She married John Jerningham of Somerleyton, Suffolk (c.1535-1592). Their children were Elizabeth, Henry (d.yng), Margaret, Catherine, and Frances (d.1613/14). In 1570, Jerningham was found guilty of abetting treasonous riots at Norwich but was pardoned, after which he retired to Somerleyton with his wife. By the early 1590s, he was on recusant lists and fled to the king of Spain. Catherine continued to receive £30/year from Lord Cobham. Before April 30, 1604, she remarried. Her second husband was named Bellamy. He died before February 13, 1613/14, when Frances Jerningham Bedingfield’s will referred to her mother as a widow. David McKeen in A Memory of Honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, theorizes that Catherine was the Catherine Bellamy who made her will at Acton on October 26, 1617 and was buried there on October 31, 1617.



Dorothy Brooke “of Bristol” was not one of the daughters of Lord Cobham, although she was a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth, which argues for some connection to those at court. She is listed in the queen’s service in 1565-8. She married Thomas Parry of Hampstead Marshall, Berkshire (1544-May 30,1616). One online genealogy gives them a daughter, Muriel (d.1616), but Muriel was actually Thomas Parry’s sister. From 1601-1605, Parry was the English ambassador in France. In July 1610, he was named as custodian of Lady Arbella Stuart at Lambeth, following her unsanctioned marriage to William Seymour. Parry’s house is described by John Norden as “a fair dwelling house, strongly built, of three stories high.” It had a garden and was bounded by the Thames. Dorothy outlived her husband by eight years and was buried in Welford Church, Berkshire.


Elizabeth Brooke was the daughter of Thomas Brooke, 8th baron Cobham (d.July 19, 1529) and Dorothy Heydon (d. before 1518). She married Sir Thomas Wyatt, the poet (1503-October 11, 1542), in 1520 and bore him a son, Sir Thomas, the rebel (1521-x1554), and a daughter, Anne. The most recent biography of Wyatt, Graven with Diamonds by Nicola Shulman, says they married at fifteen (1518) and had only one child. Early in the marriage, marital difficulties arose, with Wyatt claiming they were “chiefly” her fault. He repudiated her as an adulteress, allegedly having caught her in bed with a lover, although there is no record linking her with any specific man. They separated in 1526. He supported her until around 1537, but then refused to do so any longer and sent her to live with her brother, Lord Cobham. In that same year, Lord Cobham attempted to force Wyatt to continue his financial support but Wyatt refused. It wasn’t until 1541, when Wyatt was arrested and his properties confiscated, that the Brooke family was able to force a reconciliation as a condition for Wyatt’s pardon. It is unclear, however, whether this provision was ever enforced. By that time the couple had lived apart for fifteen years.Wyatt soon resumed his association with his mistress, Elizabeth Darrell. In early 1542, more than a year before Wyatt’s death, Lady Wyatt’s name crops up in Spanish dispatches as one of three ladies Henry VIII was said to be considering as a sixth wife. The Spanish Ambassador wrote that the lady for whom the king “showed the greatest regard was a sister of Lord Cobham, whom Wyatt, some time ago, divorced for adultery. She is a pretty young creature, with wit enough to do as badly as the others if she were to try.” This is an odd comment in several ways, not the least of which is that Elizabeth was almost forty years old. What makes more sense is to assume that the ambassador was mistaken in his identification. Another Elizabeth Brooke (see next entry) may have been at court on this occasion, since she was definitely there the following year. She would have been nearly sixteen in January of 1542 and in later years was accounted one of the most beautiful women of her time. What would have been more important to a king who had just rid himself of a wife (Catherine Howard) who had committed adultery, was that this younger Elizabeth Brooke had a spotless reputation. Following Wyatt’s death, Lady Wyatt married Edward Warner of Polstead Hall and Plumstead, Norfolk (1511-1565), Lord Lieutenant of the Tower. They had three sons, Edward, who died young, and two others who died in infancy. Warner was removed from his position on July 28, 1553, after Mary became queen, and was arrested on suspicion of treason at his house in Carter Lane the following January after Thomas Wyatt the younger rebelled against the Crown. Warner was held for nearly a year. The family fortunes were restored under Elizabeth Tudor and Warner reclaimed to his post at the Tower of London. His wife died there in August, 1560 and was buried within its precincts. Portrait: the drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger labeled “Anna Bollein Queen,” his only portrait of a woman in informal dress, may indeed be Anne Boleyn, but a good argument has also been made to identify her as Elizabeth Brooke, Lady Wyatt, while Shulman believes the subject of the drawing is Elizabeth Darrell, Wyatt’s mistress.

ELIZABETH BROOKE (June 12, 1526-April 2, 1565)
Elizabeth Brooke was the daughter of George Brooke, 9th baron Cobham (1497-September 29, 1558) and Anne Bray (c.1500-November 1, 1558). She is known to have been at court in 1543 and to have captured the heart of the queen’s brother, William Parr, marquis of Northampton (August 14, 1513-October 18, 1571), but it seems reasonable that she might also have been there earlier, perhaps in attendance at the banquet given by King Henry for a number of single ladies after Catherine Howard’s arrest. See the argument in the entry above for that logic. In 1543, Elizabeth’s desire to marry Northampton was thwarted by the fact that he already had a wife, one he had repudiated for adultery many years before. Elizabeth was at court until at least 1547 as a maid of honor to Queen Kathryn Parr. Her parents were living in Calais from 1545-1550. According to David McKeen’s A Memory of Honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, her mother received a letter from the Mother of Maids concerning Elizabeth’s relationship with William Parr, reassuring her that there were no scandalous goings-on. In 1547, however, Elizabeth and Northampton went through a private form of marriage and began living together. When this became known, they were ordered to separate by the duke of Somerset, Lord Protector for King Edward VI. Elizabeth was sent to live with Katherine Parr, by this time the wife of Sir Thomas Seymour. She remained in that household until April, 1548, when her marriage to Northampton was declared valid. This was ratified by an Act of Parliament on March 31, 1552. The Northamptons took up residence in Winchester House in Southwark and Lady Northampton spent much of her time at court. She is said to have inspired the young Sir Thomas Hoby to begin his translation of Castiglione’s The Courtier. He traveled to France in Northampton’s entourage in 1551, but Elizabeth did not accompany them. Together with Frances Brandon and Jane Guildford, the duchesses of Suffolk and Northumberland, Lady Northampton was involved in the matchmaking that preceded Northumberland’s attempt to place Lady Suffolk’s daughter, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne of England instead of Mary Tudor. Some sources credit her with the suggestion that Lady Jane marry one of Northumberland’s sons. Elizabeth may have accompanied Lady Jane to the Tower to await her coronation after the death of King Edward VI. After Northumberland’s defeat, Northampton was arrested, tried, sentenced to death. Bishop Gardiner, released from the Tower by Mary Tudor and restored to his former post as Lord Chancellor, ordered Elizabeth out of Winchester House. Northampton was deprived of his titles, his lands, and his Order of the Garter. On October 25, 1553, the act of 1552 was repealed, invalidating his marriage to Elizabeth. Forced to borrow money on which to live, Elizabeth probably went to stay with her mother, Lady Cobham, or her brother, William, in Kent. Parr was pardoned at the end of December. Upon his release from the Tower, he stayed at the house of Sir Edward Warner in Carter Lane. Sir Edward was married to Elizabeth’s aunt, the former Lady Wyatt. It was her son, Sir Thomas Wyatt, Elizabeth’s cousin, who led the rebellion against Queen Mary that led to Parr being arrested again. Three of Elizabeth’s brothers, William, George, and Thomas Brooke, were also imprisoned. Parr was released for the second time on March 24, 1554 and restored in blood on the 5th of May. Although their marriage was no longer recognized, Elizabeth lived with Parr after his release. In March 1555, they were joint godparents to Elizabeth Cavendish. In her 1555 will, the Duchess of Northumberland left Elizabeth clothes, bedding, and furniture. In 1557, Elizabeth and Parr were living in Blackfriars when the French ambassador, the bishop of Acqs, asked her to deliver a message to the queen’s sister at Hatfield. It was a warning not to flee to France, an action Elizabeth Tudor was considering in order to avoid being forced to marry Emmanuel Philibert, duke of Savoy. During the last months of Mary’s reign, in what was probably an influenza epidemic, Elizabeth Brooke’s mother, father, and maternal grandmother died and Parr was seriously ill. In 1559, Queen Mary was succeeded by her sister. The new queen made a point, when her procession through London passed his window, of stopping to talk to a still-recovering William Parr. On January 13, 1559, she restored him as marquis of Northampton. The legality of his marriage to Elizabeth was restored, along with his fortune. Among the items mentioned in her will were a wagon and the covering and cushions with the rest of the furniture belonging to it. Elizabeth became one of the queen’s closest women friends. As such, her word that the queen was not Robert Dudley’s lover convinced the Spanish ambassador, Don Guzman de Silva, that the rumor was untrue. It was de Silva who also recorded that the queen came from St. James to dine with Lady Northampton and spend the day with her when she fell ill, In August 1562, Lady Northampton was reportedly near death from jaundice and high fever. She was given up for lost in mid-September, but by October 12th she had recovered. In 1564, however, she developed breast cancer. She made a trip to Antwerp in April of that year hope of finding a cure, accompanied by her brother William and his pregnant wife, but the effort was futile. She came home in mid-May. The queen visited her at Whitehall in July. In November, the Hungarian Michael ab Othen, the personal physician of Maximilian, king of Bohemia, came to England to examine her. He could do nothing, either, nor could a series of quacks, including Guilio Borgherini. In January 1565, the queen’s physician, “Dr. Julio,” took over her treatment. Unfortunately, his man, Griffith, made sexual advances toward Elizabeth, who was still, apparently, “one of the most beautiful women of her time,” and the queen had both men thrown into the Marshalsea. Dr. John Dee also visited the marchioness. Bills from foreign physicians (some retained at as much as 15s/day) contributed to a debt of just under £1,880 by the time she died. The queen paid for her funeral at a cost of nearly £500. Biography: more information on Elizabeth Brooke can be found in Susan E. James’s Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen. Portraits: a medal by Stephen van Herwijck, 1562; Susan James argues that Elizabeth is the sister included in the 1567 Cobham Family Portrait, suggesting that it was painted after her death but based on a portrait from c.1560, but David McKeen, in his biography of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, makes a better case for identifying the woman as Jane Newton, Lady Cobham’s sister. Elizabeth was apparently painted fairly often and gave copies of her portraits to friends and family, including her brother and her husband’s brother-in-law, the earl of Pembroke, but none of these are extant.

ELIZABETH BROOKE (January 12, 1561/2-January 1596/7)
Elizabeth Brooke was the daughter of William Brooke, 10th baron Cobham (November 1, 1527-March 6, 1597) and Frances Newton (1539-October 17, 1592). Although she had a twin sister, Frances, only Elizabeth was christened at court, in the Chapel Royal at Windsor. Her godmothers were the queen and her aunt, Elizabeth Brooke Parr, Lady Northampton. According to David McKeen’s A Memory of Honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, she was already at court in January 1581/2 when she received a New Year’s gift from the queen of 6s. 8d.(she gave the queen a ruff) and was one of the gentlewomen of the privy chamber by 1586. Other sources say she first went to court in 1588 and that she immediately captured the affection of Robert Cecil, later earl of Salisbury (1563-1612). In fact, Elizabeth and Cecil probably knew each other as children, since their fathers were close friends. Cecil was concerned that she would reject him because of his spinal deformity. In a letter, he wrote: “The object of mine eye yesternight at supper hath taken so deep impression on my heart that every trifling thought increased my affection. I know your inwardness with all parties to be such, as only it lieth in your person to draw from them whether the mislike of my person be such as it may not be qualified by any other circumstance, with, if it be so, as of likehood it is, I will then lay hand on my mouth.” Apparently Elizabeth was not repelled by his hump. They were betrothed in April 1589 (McKeen says the contract was signed May 31, 1589). She was to have a dowry of £2000 and her jointure would include an estate at Pymmes, Hertfordshire. The death of Cecil’s mother, Mildred, delayed the ceremony, but they were married on August 31, 1589. After that, Elizabeth was often at court. According to All the Queen’s Women: The Changing Place and Perception of Aristocratic Women in Elizabethan England 1558-1620 (1987) by Joan Barbara Greenbaum Goldsmith, she died there. McKeen supplies the information that she died in childbirth. Her children were Frances (1590-1644), Catherine (d.yng), and William (March 1591-1668), although McKeen gives a birthdate of July 1593 for Frances. Elizabeth’s epitaph remembers her as “silent, true and chaste.” Portrait: Elizabeth is included, as a child, in the group portrait of the Cobham Family painted in 1567, although there is some confusion as to which twin is which. In 1590, she commissioned a copy of that painting that included another brother not yet born in 1567. According to David McKeen’s A Memory of Honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, there is a portrait at Hatfield of a lady dressed in gold and flowery embroidery of the right style for the 1580s that is usually said to be one of William Cecil’s daughters. He believes, based on the subject’s large nose, a characteristic of the Brooke family, and her small, wry mouth and receding chin, characteristic of the Newtons, that this is a portrait of Elizabeth Brooke Cecil. Susan E. James, in Women’s Voices in Tudor Wills, 1485-1603, makes a case to identify the portrait at Hatfield House called Anne Morgan, Lady Hunsdon as Elizabeth Brooke c.1588-9.

ELIZABETH BROOKE (1596-October 21, 1622)
Elizabeth Brooke was the daughter of Sir Richard Brooke (d.1632) and Elizabeth Chaderton (d.1602). After her parents separated she was sent to live with her grandfather, William Chaderton, Bishop of Lincoln. From him, she received a classical education. She was said to have had an excellent memory and could repeat more than forty lines in English or Latin after a single perusal. She also wrote poetry, although none has survived. In 1616, she married Torrell Jocelin or Josselyn of Willinggale, Essex (1592/3-1656). She wrote The Mother’s Legacie to her unborne Childe because she had a premonition she would not survive childbirth. The book, published posthumously in 1624, was dedicated to her husband and contained instructions for the education of her child. A girl was to be taught only reading, writing, housewifery and good works, having no need for more advanced learning. The child, Theodora, was born on October 12, 1622. Elizabeth was buried in St. Andrew’s Church, Oakington on October 26. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under Jocelin [née Brooke], Elizabeth.”


FRANCES BROOKE (July 31, 1549-before 1598)
Frances Brooke was the daughter of William Brooke, 10th baron Cobham (November 1, 1527-March 6, 1597) and his first wife, Dorothy Neville (d. September 22, 1559). He also had a daughter named Frances by his second wife (see next entry). Frances was born at the house of Reginald Peckham in Yaldham, Kent while her father was fighting the French at Boulogne. Peckham was the brother of Sir George Harper’s wife and Harper was a neighbor of Lord Cobham in Blackfriars. When Frances was ten, her mother died and she was sent to live with her uncle, Henry Neville, baron Bergavenny, at Birling, Kent. She had little contact with her father, who soon remarried. By marriage articles dated June 5, 1566, Frances wed Thomas Coppinger of Allhallows and Davington, Kent and Buxhall, Suffolk (1546-March 21, 1579/80), by whom she had five sons, including William (1573-September 8, 1594), Francis (1578-1626+), and Thomas. She was pregnant with the fifth son when her husband wrote his will on March 16, 1580. After she was widowed, her father acquired the wardship of her eldest son and promised to look out for the younger sons. As executor of Coppinger’s will, he was also supposed to pay an allowance to Francis and Thomas. After William died, Cobham acquired the wardship of the next brother, Francis, but he appears to have neglected the Coppinger estate. On October 5, 1580 in St. Lawrence Jewry, London, Frances married Edward Beecher or Becher (d.1603+), a London merchant’s younger son who was an esquire of the body to the queen and had lands in Kent. They had three sons, Cary, Francis, and Edward. She was alive as late as February 16, 1592/3 and had died by 1598, although one online genealogy gives her date of death as 1624.

FRANCES BROOKE (January 12, 1561/2-1615+)
Frances Brooke was the daughter of William Brooke, 10th baron Cobham (November 1, 1527-March 6, 1597) and Frances Newton (1539-October 17, 1592) and the twin of Elizabeth Brooke (d.1597). In October 1579 it was decided that she would marry John Stourton, 9th baron Stourton (1552-October 13, 1588), even though he came from a recusant family and had tried to leave England at the age of twenty. The contract was signed on November 5, 1580 and they were married at the Cobham house in Blackfriars. In 1586, Frances was falsely accused of having converted to Catholicism. Her accuser later confessed to the lie. She had no children and when her husband died he was succeeded by his brother. As a widow, Lady Stourton returned to Cobham Hall and later was at court. There, in 1591, she was courted by Sir Thomas Sherley, in spite of the fact that he was already secretly married to one of the queen’s maids of honor, Frances Vavasour. From her twin sister Elizabeth’s death in early 1597 until late 1604, Frances had charge of her niece, Frances Cecil. They lived for the most part away from London. Frances’s second husband was Sir Edward More or Moore of Odiham, Hampshire, Worth, Sussex, and Canon Row, Westminster (1550-1623), a soldier and gentleman pensioner. They married in 1592. At some point before the birth of their daughter, Frances (December 1598-January 5, 1662), More disinherited his children by his first marriage in favor of his illegitimate children by three different women because he did not approve of his eldest son Edward marrying a Dutch woman. Lady Stourton died in Odiham, Hampshire between 1615 and April 24, 1623, the date her second husband wrote his will. She should not be confused with her half sister, Frances Brooke, her father’s daughter by his first wife. Portrait: with her twin in the Cobham family portrait, 1567.


MARGARET BROOKE (June 2, 1563-1621)
Margaret Brooke was the youngest daughter of William Brooke, 10th baron Cobham (November 1, 1527-March 6, 1598) and Frances Newton (1539-October 17, 1592). She was born at Hackney. She had a dowry of £1,500 and her father paid other charges for her wedding to Sir Thomas Sondes of Throwley, Kent (d. February 7, 1592/3), a widower. The marriage contract called for his estate to pass to their son if Margaret had one and for a daughter to receive £100/year or a dowry of £2000. If widowed, Margaret was to receive £800 and a jointure worth £333 6s. 8d. At this time, c.1585, there does not seem to have been any indication that Margaret was mentally unstable. The couple were childless until 1591, during which time one of her companions was Jane Sondes, her niece by marriage. Perhaps because of the affairs Jane conducted under his roof, or perhaps because Margaret was already showing signs of madness, Sondes decided that Frances, the child Margaret bore in late summer 1592, was not his and took legal action to block her claim to his estate. He died before he succeeded in this effort and the jointure terms were honored, but Margaret and Frances are not included on the Sondes monuments at Throwley. Margaret and her daughter returned to Cobham Hall, where Margaret was looked after by a nurse, Mrs. Hubbard. She was the only sibling in residence after 1596. In 1602, Dr. John Dee performed an exorcism in the hope of curing her madness. This was reported in a letter from John Chamberlain to Dudley Carlton on November 4, 1602. On September 13, 1603, Lord Cobham asked that Margaret and her child be placed in the care of the Lieutenant of the Tower at the Hervey house in the country, but the Privy Council refused. She was sent to live with strangers until her death. Stephen Bowd, in “John Dee and the Seven in Lancashire,” says she had a relapse in 1615 and died in 1621 as “the mad Lady Sandes,” but he misidentifies her as Mary Hayward. Portrait: Margaret was included in the Cobham family (1567) holding a pet marmoset.


MARY BROOKE (d.1535+)
Mary Brooke, also called Mary Cobham, is said by some to have been the daughter of Thomas Brooke, 8th baron Cobham (d. July 19, 1529) and his first wife, Dorothy Heydon (d. before 1518), but she is also said to have been the servant and mistress of George Neville, 3rd baron Bervavenny (c.1469-June 13, 1535) during his marriage to his third wife. David McKeen, in A Memory of Honour: the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham, argues that she must have been only a distant connection to the Brookes of Cobham Hall and possibly illegitimate. She became Bergavenny’s fourth wife sometime before January 24, 1530, when he settled estates on her. She was pregnant when he made his will on June 8, 1535 (proved January 24, 1535/6) and one account says she had a daughter, but nothing more is known about either of them.

PHILIPPA BROOKE (c.1579-c. September 1613)
Philippa Brooke was the daughter of Sir Henry Brooke (February 5, 1537/8-January 13, 1591/22) and Anne Sutton (d. January 8, 1611/12). In 1600, she married Walter Calverley (April 1579-August 5, 1605), whose wardship and marriage were controlled by Anne Gargrave (née Waterton) and her son Sir Richard. Lady Gargrave intended to marry him to one of her daughters. Letters from Philippa’s mother to Sir Robert Cecil concerning the marriage can be found in A. C. Cawley and Barry Gaines’s A Yorkshire Tragedy (1986). Philippa’s children were William (c.1601-April 23, 1605), Walter (c.1603-April 23, 1605), and Henry (b.1605). The family seat was Calverley Hall in Yorkshire. Calverley was a gambler and a drunkard, deeply in debt by April 23, 1605 when, in a drunken rage (or a fit of insane jealousy over a Vavasour of Weston), he killed his two oldest sons with a knife and then stabbed Philippa. Fortunately her steel corset deflected the blow. Leaving her for dead, he rode toward Norton, where the youngest boy lodged with his wet nurse, intending to kill him, too, but he was pursued and captured when his horse stumbled and threw him. The next day, in his examination before justices of the peace, he claimed that his wife had been unfaithful to him, that the children were not his, and that he had been in danger “sundry times” of being murdered by Philippa. It is obvious he was not believed. He was pressed to death at York Castle for his crimes. The tragedy inspired a ballad, two tracts, and two plays, The Yorkshire Tragedy (1608) and The Miseries of Enforced Marriage (1607). Calverley Hall is supposed to have a blood stain on the floor that cannot be cleaned and Walter is also said to haunt the area, galloping about on a headless horse. Philippa later married Sir Thomas Burton (1580-1655) and had a daughter by him named Anne. Philippa was buried on September 28, 1613 at Stockeston, Leicestershire.


ANNE BROUGHTON (d. May 15, 1562)
Anne Broughton was the daughter of Sir John Broughton of Toddington, Bedfordshire (d. January 24, 1518) and Anne Sapcote (d. March 14, 1559), who was later countess of Bedford. Anne married, as his second wife, Sir Thomas Cheyney of Shurland, Kent (c.1485-December 16, 1558). She had a dowry of £300 and inherited estates in Bedfordshire.They had one son, Henry (May 31, 1540-1587), and were said to have a daughter, but no daughter is mentioned in his will, dated December 6, 1558 and proved April 25, 1559. Sir Thomas died in the Tower of London and was buried on January 3, 1559 in St. Katherine’s chapel in the Minster on the Isle of Sheppey. In his will, Sir Thomas left his “well-beloved wife” £500, along with a life interest in the manor of Bilsington, Kent, certain lands in Harty, and a marsh.


ELIZABETH BROUGHTON (d. November 1536+)
Elizabeth Broughton, whose parentage appears to be unknown, married three times. Her first husband was John Breton (d.c.1522), who was a merchant tailor and sheriff of London in 1517-18. He left at least two orphans, Eleanor, who married William Wilford by 1530, and Nicholas. In about 1523, Elizabeth married, as his third wife, Sir Ralph Verney of Pendley in Tring, Hertfordshire (c.1482-May 8, 1525). The manor of Quainton was settled on her in jointure in that year. There is a record of a marriage license issued in London for John Drewes of Hackney (d. 1557+) and Dame Elizabeth Verney of St. Giles on July 31, 1527. Although he was from Bristol, in 1527 Drewes was in the retinue of Sir Robert Wingfield of London and Calais. He and Elizabeth had at least one son. In December 1530, still calling herself Dame Elizabeth Verney, since her second husband had been a knight and Drewes was not, and acting as executor of her first husband’s estate, Elizabeth sued William Wilford, claiming he had taken £252 15s. 2d. worth of cloth from her shop as his wife Eleanor’s portion and another £400 in cloth that belonged to her son, Nicholas Breton. Wilford claimed he would do twice as much with it for Nicholas when he came of age but Elizabeth wanted the £400 in cloth returned to Nicholas and an additional £50 4s.9d. Nicholas was awarded the cloth. After the dissolution of the monasteries, Elizabeth’s third husband acquired the priory at Barrow Gurney, Somerset and converted it into “a fair dwelling place.”

KATHERINE BROUGHTON (c.1514-April 23, 1535)
Katherine Broughton was the daughter of Sir John Broughton of Toddington, Bedfordshire (d. January 24, 1518) and Anne Sapcote (d. March 14, 1558/9). Her mother subsequently married Richard Jerningham and John Russell, 1st earl of Bedford. When Katherine’s father died, her wardship was granted to Cardinal Wolsey. Upon the death in 1528 of her brother, John Broughton, of the sweating sickness, she inherited half of his estate—£700 in chattels and lands in Bedfordshire. She also had a dowry of £300. Her stepfather, Sir John Russell attempted to buy her wardship, but he was not the only one interested. His competition was Sir John Wallop, and it was to Wallop that the king planned to award her. In the end, Wolsey kept Katherine’s wardship, the king paid Wallop £400 in compensation, and Sir John and Lady Russell were ignored. On November 20, 1529, Katherine’s wardship was purchased by Agnes, dowager duchess of Norfolk and by June 18, 1531, Katherine had married Lord William Howard (1510-January 21, 1573), younger son of the duke of Norfolk and later 1st baron Howard of Effingham. They had one child, a daughter named Agnes. Portrait: brass in St. Mary Lambeth, London.




ANNE BROWNE (d.1510)
Anne Browne was the daughter of Sir Anthony Browne (1443-November 19, 1505) and his first wife, Eleanor Oughtred (d. before 1500) and was at court as a maid of honor to Elizabeth of York (where she was paid £5 per annum) shortly before the queen’s death. She had the misfortune to fall in love with Charles Brandon (1485-1545). They both lived in the household of the earl of Essex c. 1506. They were betrothed and lived together as man and wife, but after Anne became pregnant with their first child, Anne (c.1507-January 1558), Brandon abandoned her to marry her stepmother’s sister, Margaret Neville, a wealthy widow. When that marriage was declared null and void, on the grounds of Brandon’s precontract with Anne, he returned to her and married her in 1509. Anne died the following year, probably shortly after giving birth to a second daughter, Mary (1510-1541+)

ANNE BROWNE (d.1522+)
There was at least one gentlewoman named Anne Browne at court during the period from 1517 until 1522. Some sources identify the Anne Browne who took part in the revels of 1517-1518 as the daughter of Sir Matthew Browne of Betchworth Castle and Dorking, Surrey (1473-August 6, 1557) and Frideswide Guildford, but since they did not marry until 1506, Anne could have been no more than ten in 1517 and is therefore an unlikely candidate. She married Thomas Dannett (March 23, 1517-1569) c.1542 and had five sons and three daughters, including a son named Audley (d.c.1591). It is possible that this is the same Anne Browne, single and age 22 in 1538, who was one of the Marchioness of Exeter’s gentlewomen when that lady was arrested. She was “good with the needle” and could “play well upon the virginals and lute.” Anne and Thomas Dannett settled in Somerset. Dannett was arrested on suspicion of complicity in the Duke of Suffolk’s second uprising and upon his release he took his family into exile from 1554-1558. The Anne Browne who was at court in 1517-18, however, was probably the same one who was at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 and took part in revels in March 1521/2. She has been identified as the sister of Sir Wiston (or Weston) Browne, making her the daughter of Thomas Browne of Rookwood Hall and Longhouse in Abbess Roding, Essex (d.1488) and Mary Charlton. At the Field of Cloth of Gold, King Francis of France singled out Sir Wiston’s sister (called “my lady Browne” in one account) and danced with her on several occasions during the festivities.

ANNE BROWNE (d.1551+)
Anne Browne was the daughters Sir William Browne (d. March 22, 1508), was Lord Mayor of London in 1507/8. He was buried in St. Mary Aldermanbury, London. Her siblings were William (d.1525), Anthony, Katherine, Leonard, and Margaret. In 1513, Anne married Sir Richard Fermor of Easton Neston, Northamptonshire (d. November 17, 1551), a wool merchant. Their children were Anne (c.1515-1553), Joan (1516-April 1592), William, Sir John (d. December 20, 1571), Elizabeth, George, Thomas (d. August 8, 1580), Ursula, Jerome (1528-1602), and Mary (d. September 27, 1573). The family was Catholic and Fermor was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1540 for visiting his Catholic chaplain in prison. He was soon released on bail, however, and was pardoned in June 1541. By 1550, he had regained most of his lands. His will of July 1, 1551 makes provision for Anne. Anne Browne Fermor is frequently confused with Anne Browne Petre (d. March 10, 1582). Their fathers were cousins with the same name and each of them served a term as Lord Mayor of London.

ANNE BROWNE (1509-March 10, 1582)
Anne Browne was the daughter of Sir William Browne of Flambard’s Hall (1467-1514), Lord Mayor of London in 1513/14, and Alice Kebell (1482-June 8, 1521). As her father’s sole heir, Anne had a marriage portion of 400 marks. In 1513, she was betrothed to John Tyrrell of Heron Hall, East Horndon, Essex (d.1540). The marriage took place by 1521. Their children were Catherine (1533-before 1569) and (possibly) Gertrude (b.1540). His will, written June 6, 1540 and proved November 18, 1540, mentions only one daughter, Catherine, who was left the lease of the manor of Old Sampford, then in possession of her grandmother with reversion to her father. Anne commissioned the chapel at East Horndon where her husband was buried. Between May 28, 1541, when his first wife died, and March 1542, Anne married Sir William Petre (1505- January 13, 1572), who had built Ingatestone Hall in Essex in 1540-42. Their children were Thomasine (April 7, 1543-1611+), Katherine (1545-1571+),  and John (December 20, 1549-October 11, 1613). Some genealogies add Edward (d. yng), William (d. yng), and Anne (probably her granddaughter). One account gives her a daughter named Griselda, but this was Griselda Barnes, one of her husband’s wards. The Oxford DNB entry for William Petre misidentifies Anne as the daughter of John Tyrrell and the widow of William Browne of Flambard’s Hall. The confusion may be explained by the fact that William Petre’s first wife was Gertrude Tyrrell (d. May 28, 1541), daughter of Sir John Tyrrell of East Horndon and Warley, Essex. Anne brought a dowry of £280 a year to her second marriage. Petre was in royal service to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth. On November 22, 1548, Princess Mary arrived at Ingatestone Hall with a retinue of nearly fifty persons and stayed for two days. A few days later, on her return journey from London to New Hall, Boreham, she stayed with Lady Petre again. In February 1549/50, she paid another visit. In March, Lady Petre was invited to visit Mary at New Hall, a two hour ride from Ingatestone. F. G. Emmison (Tudor Food and Pastimes: Life at Ingatestone Hall) identifies the occupant of “Mistress Keble’s chamber” at Ingatestone Hall in 1550 as Anne’s mother, but she died in 1521 and in any case would have been Lady Mountjoy. The true occupant was more likely to have been Catherine Kebell (née Tyrrell), the sister of Anne’s first husband and the widow of George Kebell. In 1554, Lady Petre employed three gentlewomen—Mary Persay, who taught the Petre daughters to play the virginals in 1559, Mistress Joyce, and Mistress Joan. In 1561, the Petres entertained Queen Elizabeth at Ingatestone Hall. Later, Lady Catherine Grey was kept under house arrest there. Petre also had a house on the west side of Aldersgate Street in London. As a widow, Anne remained at Ingatestone Hall, where she sheltered a number of seminary priests. The queen visited her in September 1579. She was on the list of recusants for 1582, but she died on March 10, before any official action was taken against her. She made her will on February 25, 1582 and it was proved April 26, 1582. Among many other provisions, she left 13s. 4d to her cook, Valentine Wilkinson. The entire will can be found at www.Oxford-Shakespeare.com. Anne was buried on April 10, 1582. Portraits: 1567, attributed to Steven van der Meulen; effigy at Ingatestone.




ELEANOR BROWNE (c.1491-c.1560)
Eleanor Browne was the only child and heiress of Robert Browne of West Betchworth, Surrey and Chilham, Luddenham, and Hurst, Kent (c.1433-c.1509), and Mary (or Margaret) Mallet. Browne’s will, however (dated December 9, 1509) gives his wife’s name as Anne. Eleanor married Thomas Fogge of Ashford Kent, sergeant porter of Calais (d. August 16,1512), by whom she had two daughters, Anne and Alice. Her second husband was Sir William Kempe  of Ollantigh in Wye, Kent and Spains Hall in Finchingfield, Essex (1487-January 28, 1538/9). Their children were Emeline (d. before 1538), Thomas (1517-March 7, 1591), John, Edward, Anthony (d. October 29,1597), Francis (d.1597+), George (d.1570+), Cecily, Faith, Mary, and Margaret. As Eleanor Kempe, Eleanor served in Katherine Parr’s household from 1543-1547 and was one of the longest serving and most loyal of Mary Tudor’s ladies. She was part of Mary’s household by 1547 and was still there in 1558 when the queen died. From 1547-51, Eleanor was engaged in a lawsuit in Chancery against her cousin, Sir Matthew Browne, over land in Kent. Eleanor’s will is dated August 24, 1558 and was proved December 11, 1560. A transcript can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com. She was buried in the Chapel of the Savoy. She left money to be distributed to the poor prisoners in London in Newgate, Ludgate, the Marshalsea, the King’s Bench, and the Gatehouse of Westminster.

Elizabeth Browne was the daughter of Sir Anthony Browne (1443-November 19, 1506) and Lucy Neville (1468-March 1534) and by 1527 had married, as his second wife, Henry Somerset, 2nd earl of Worcester (1499-November 26, 1549). Their children were William (1527-February 21, 1589), Thomas (d.1586), Charles, Francis (d.1563), Eleanor (d.c.1584), Jane (1535-October 16, 1597), Anne (1538-September 8, 1591), Lucy, and Mary (d.1578+). In her mother’s will, dated 1531, Elizabeth was left a pair of “bedys of gold with tenne gawdies.” She was at court in the household of Queen Anne Boleyn and seems to have been a friend of Anne’s. On April 8, 1536, she borrowed £100 from the queen, a debt that had not yet been repaid when Queen Anne was arrested and sent to the Tower. In an unsubstantiated story, when Elizabeth was taken to task for immorality by her brother, Sir Anthony Browne (1500-1548) she responded that she was “no worse than the queen.” One variation on this tale identifies Elizabeth as King Henry VIII’s former mistress and has her telling her brother to talk to Mark Smeaton and one of the queen’s gentlewomen called Marguerite to learn details of the queen’s misconduct. Another version has Lady Worcester issuing the reprimand to an unidentified woman, who then compares herself to the queen. The source appears to be a poem dated June 2, 1536 and written by Lancelot de Carles, a member of the French embassy to England. Gossip prevalent at the time of Queen Anne’s arrest did mention Lady Worcester as a source of some of the accusations against her, but specifics are elusive. Similarly, comments Queen Anne made during her imprisonment are open to interpretation. One remark suggests that Lady Worcester had recently miscarried. According to G. W. Bernard’s Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attraction, she gave birth to a daughter, Anne, in the year ending at Michaelmas 1536. If this is the same Anne Somerset whose birth date is usually given as 1538, then she went on to marry the earl of Northumberland and help lead a rebellion against Queen Elizabeth in 1569 (see ANNE SOMERSET). Bernard, whose premise is that Anne Boleyn was guilty of at least some of the charges against her, theorizes that the countess of Worcester and others of Anne’s ladies were aware of her love affairs and only escaped prosecution for their complicity by giving evidence against the queen. As for the debt of £100, Elizabeth wrote to Thomas Cromwell on March 8, 1538, thanking him for his kindness in that matter and asking that he not mention it to her husband, since the earl did not know she had borrowed the money. G. W. Bernard’s book includes the suggestion, originally made by T. B. Pugh, that Elizabeth’s baby was fathered by Cromwell. She died between April 20, 1565, when she made her will, and October 23 of 1565, when it was proved. Portrait: effigy, St. Mary’s Church, Chepstow, Monmouthshire.




JANE BROWNE (1515-1558+)
Jane Browne was the daughter of Sir Matthew Browne of Betchworth Castle, Surrey (1473-August 6, 1557) and Frideswide Guildford. Her first husband was Sir Francis Poynings of Madelay, Staffordshire. By May 1539, as a widow, she had married Sir Edward Bray of Henfield and Selmaston, Sussex and the Vachery, Shere, Surrey (d. December 1, 1558) as his third wife. Bray wrote his will on August 16, 1558, leaving the bulk of his lands to Jane in fee simple for life. She was named co-executor with her brother, George Browne. The will included the proviso that if Bray’s son, another Edward, interfered with Jane’s inheritance, the property would go to her heirs after her death instead of to Edward. This did not stop Edward from disputing the terms of the will. The lawsuits continued for some years.

JANE BROWNE (d. August 22, 1618)
Jane Browne was the daughter of Wiston Browne of Rookwood Hall, Weald Hall, and Colvile Hall in White Roding, Essex (1535-1581). Sources who give her birthdate as 1562, say her mother was his first wife, Mary Capell (1536-1577?), but other sources say Jane’s mother was his second wife, Elizabeth Paulet or Paulett. Jane’s father’s will entrusted her care to John Petre of Ingatestone Hall (1549-1613) and left her a silver goblet parcel gilt, three gilt silver spoons, three silver spoons with maidenhead tops, and a brown stone pot covered and trimmed with silver. In addition, she received all her apparel and linen and the borders of goldsmith’s work “which she is wont to wear.” The fact that this will refers twice to her sister Katherine’s “own mother” and does not use that wording in making bequests to Jane reinforces the supposition that she was the daughter of Elizabeth Paulet rather than Mary Capell. Katherine is also listed first, suggesting that she was older. On May 3, 1583, Jane married Edward Wyatt (1559-July 9, 1584) at St. Michael Bassishaw, London. On September 6, 1584, at Abbess Roding, Essex, she married Gamaliel Capell (January 2, 1562-November 10, 1613). She does not appear to have had any children. On the death of her brother Anthony in 1583, Jane and her sister Katherine inherited Rookwood Hall.

JOAN BROWNE (d.1589+)
Joan Browne was the wife of William Yeomans, a London cutler, when she took up with Robert Poley or Pooley (c.1555-1602+). When he was in the Marshalsea in 1583/84, she was a frequent visitor, entertained by him at “many fine banquets.” Poley had married the previous year and had a daughter, Anne, who had been baptized on August 21, 1583, but he refused to allow his wife to visit, preferring the company of his mistress. When he was released, on May 10, 1584, he gave William Yeomans a silver bowl of double gilt and continued his liaison with Joan. He lodged in the house of her widowed mother, Mrs. Browne. In March 1585, on a Friday in Shrovetide, Mrs. Browne told her neighbor, Agnes Holford, that she had caught Joan sitting on Poley’s knees, “a sight that struck her to the heart,” and she “prayed God to cut her off very quickly, or else she feared she should be a bawd unto her own daughter.” Mrs. Browne got her wish. She died that weekend. On January 7, 1588/9, William Yeomans testified that Robert Poley, after being freed around Michaelmas from yet another imprisonment, this time in the Tower of London, had come to lodge with him, there to “beguile him either of his wyfe or of his lyfe.” Poley contrived to have Yeomans imprisoned in the Marshalsea and, Yeomans testified, secretly married Joan. The ceremony was performed by a seminary priest in Bow Lane. At one point, Joan and Poley shared lodgings in Shoreditch, but it is unclear whether this was before or after they ran off together. She was said to be adept at forgery. Since Poley was a spy for Sir Francis Walsingham, she may have been his contact and/or accomplice. She is quoted by Charles Nicholl in The Reckoning as having said that she had “dealt with him in matters of estate [meaning matters of state] as far as my life does extend.”

Katherine Browne was the daughter of Sir Humphrey Browne of Stock Hall and Ridley Hall in Essex (d.1562), justice of common pleas, by his second wife, Elizabeth Rawlins. In his will, Browne refers to Katherine and her husband as if they were both deceased. He had previously given them the manor of Manuden, otherwise called Battles Hall in Essex, and the manor of Perryvall, otherwise called Little Grindford in Middlesex, and he specifies that if their heirs die without issue, those properties would revert to his three daughters by his third wife. This has led to speculation that Katherine was Sir Humphrey’s stepdaughter and that her parents were Elizabeth Rawlins and her first husband, Nicholas Shelton (d.1515), a London alderman, but there is no daughter named Katherine mentioned in Shelton’s will. The 1535 will of one of Elizabeth Rawlins Shelton Browne’s sons refers to Katherine as his sister, but contemporary use of that term included half sisters and stepsisters. In July 1537, Katherine married Richard Townshend of Raynham, Norfolk (d.1551). Their children were Sir Roger (c.1544-June 30, 1590), Alice (d.1551+) and Elizabeth. Townshend made his will on July 20, 1551 and it was proved by his executor, Thomas Townshend, on February 12, 1555. In the interim, Katherine contested it. She is described in 1555 as “Katherine Sainthill alias Townshend, late relict of the deceased.” By November 26, 1552, she had married Peter Sainthill of Bradninch, Devon (d. November 19, 1571). They had no children. She had died by 1560 when Sainthill remarried. It has been suggested that Katherine was dead by the time her father’s third daughter by his third wife was born and that the child was named Katherine in her memory.

Katherine Browne was the daughter of Sir Wiston Browne of Rookwood Hall, Weald Hall, and Colvile Hall in White Roding, Essex (1535-1581) and his first wife, Mary Capell (1536-1577?). Her father’s will entrusted her care to John Petre of Ingatestone Hall (1549-1613) and left her one of his silver bowls parcel gilt, six silver spoons, his white stone pot covered and trimmed with silver, a little casket trimmed with white and black bone, which was her own mother’s, all her apparel and linen and the borders of goldsmith’s work “which she is wont to wear, and her own mother’s wedding ring; Also the little brooch with the agate that Mrs. Fynche gave her; Also the flagon-chain of gold which she is wont to wear.” In 1579, she married Nicholas Waldegrave (1550-June 19, 1621). Most genealogies list only Frances (1583-1645) and Philip (1593-1648) as their children, but a listing of English nuns in convents on the Continent identifies two of them as the daughters of Katherine and Nicholas Waldegrave. They are Barbara (1600-April 18, 1638), who died in Brussels, and Hieronyma (1603-July 22, 1635) who died in Ghent. On the death of Katherine’s brother Anthony in 1583, she and her sister Jane inherited Rookwood Hall.


MABEL BROWNE (c.1528-August 25, 1610)
Mabel Browne was the daughter of Sir Anthony Browne (June 27, 1500-May 5, 1548) and Alys Gage (d. March 31, 1540). Her father’s half brother, William FitzWilliam, earl of Southampton, left her an annuity of £100 in his will, dated September 10, 1542. Mabel Browne was probably named after Southampton’s wife, Mabel Clifford. She was in Mary Tudor’s household  before 1552, possibly as a maid of honor. Her marriage to the brother of her stepmother, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, on May 28, 1554, made her countess of Kildare. Gerald Fitzgerald (February 25, 1525-November 16, 1585) had been living in exile following the execution for treason of most of the other Fitzgerald men. He was restored to the title on May 13, 1554. The notes in Mary Anne Everett Green’s Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies, contain the unsubstantiated claim that Mabel met Gerald at a masked ball at court and fell in love with him. After her marriage, Mabel was a gentlewoman of the privy chamber. She was less welcome at court under Elizabeth. Living primarily in Ireland, Mabel had five children: Gerald, Lord Offalay (c.1559-1580), Henry, 12th earl of Kildare (1562-August 1, 1597), William, 13th earl of Kildare (d. April 1599), Mary, and Elizabeth. By the 1570s, Mabel’s recusant leanings were very apparent. She may have had no direct role in treason, but her oldest son’s tutor was a suspect and she harbored a number of priests within her household. Her husband was committed to Dublin Castle in December 1580 and later was incarcerated in the Tower of London. He was released in June 1583. According to Vincent P. Carey, author of Surviving the Tudors: The ‘Wizard’ Earl of Kildare and English Rule in Ireland, 1537-1586, Mabel “maintained a refuge and library for the Jesuit missionary Robert Rochfort. She also kept the priest Nicholas Eustache, a relative of the rebel Baltinglass, as her private chaplain, and hired the suspected Father Compton as a tutor to her younger children.” She was innocent of the charge that she intended to have one of her sons taken to Spain to be brought up with the duchess of Feria, but she was a close friend of the duchess (Englishwoman Jane Dormer) from the time they were both at court under Mary Tudor. Another story, one with even less foundation in fact, attributes the death of the “Wizard” earl and the “enchanted sleep” that legend maintains followed it, to an accident while the earl was giving his wife a demonstration of his magical powers. In fact, the earl died in his bed. After his death and the death of their youngest son in 1599, Mabel joined her granddaughter, Lettice Fitzgerald, Lady Digby, in pressuring the new earl for Mabel’s jointure rights and lobbying for Lettice, as heir general, to be granted the title baroness Offaly.


Margaret or Margery Browne was baptized at St. Olave’s on February 14, 1574 and as a young woman was in service to the Mountjoys of Silver Street until she quit, or was let go, in about 1597. She appears in the casebooks of Simon Forman the astrologer, described as a tall wench with a freckled face. Charles Nicholl, in The Lodger Shakespeare, His Life on Silver Street, suggests that she is identical with the Mary Browne who consulted Forman on December 27, 1597. Mary thought she was pregnant. A Margery Browne married Christopher Laughlin of St. Botolph’s, Aldersgate in November 1600.

MARGARET BROWNE (c.1590-July 28, 1641)
Margaret Browne was the daughter of Sir Hugh Browne/Brown/Brawn of Alscot, Gloucestershire and Newington Butts, Surrey (c.1537-1614), a wealthy vintner, and Frances Gurney. Some accounts give her birth date as 1579 and say she was a lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth. Others give her maiden name as Rawdon, but this is incorrect. Margaret married Francis Layton/Laton of Rawden, Yorkshire (1577-August 23, 1661), yeoman of the Jewel House under James I, Charles I, and Charles II. They had six sons, including Henry (1622-1705) and Thomas (d.1714), and four daughters: Mary (d.1653), Margaret, Anne (1629-1713), and Martha. Margaret Layton’s chief claim to fame is the ornate, jeweled doublet she owned. Both the doublet and a portrait of Margaret wearing it are extant. Margaret and her husband were buried in St. Mary’s Church, Newington, near her father’s tomb. Portrait: c.1620 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

MARY BROWNE (c.1513-1539+)
Mary Browne was the daughter of Sir Matthew Browne of Beckworth Castle, Surrey (1473-August 6, 1557) and Frideswide Guildford. She was probably the Mary Browne who was one of Princess Mary’s ladies in waiting, appearing on the list of October 1, 1533, shortly before the princess’s household was dissolved. In 1536, when Mary again had her own household of her own, Mary Browne was one of three servants she recalled by name, describing her as “sometime my maid, whom for her virtue I love and could be glad to have in my company.” In about 1539, Mary Browne married Richard Tame or Tamewe.

MARY BROWNE (c.1527- February 4, 1616/17)
Mary Browne was the daughter of Sir Anthony Browne of Cowdray Park, Sussex (June 27, 1500-May 5, 1548) and Alys Gage (d. March 31, 1540). She married Lord John Grey (c.1527-November 19, 1564), a younger son of the 2nd marquis of Dorset. He was imprisoned along with his brother, Henry, duke of Suffolk, after Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554, but Mary’s family, who supported Queen Mary, contrived his release. Mary’s children were Henry (1547-July 26, 1614), Frances (d.1608), Elizabeth, Edward, Thomas, John, Jane (c.1550-c.1619), Anne, and Margaret (1559-August 14, 1604). In f558, she and her husband purchased a capital messuage called the Minories near Aldgate, London, with a stable and three gardens, for £100. They conveyed a fourth part of this in 1562 to George Medley. The rest was sold to William Paulet in March 1561/2 for £1000. In 1559, under Queen Elizabeth, Grey was granted Pyrgo. The queen visited him there in 1561. In 1563, Lady Catherine Grey was confined there in Lord John’s custody. In 1569/70, as a widow, Mary and her son Henry purchased land in Rivenhall, Essex. Her second husband was Henry Capel or Capell of Little Hadham, Hertfordshire (1514-June 22, 1588). She was his second wife. Her daughter Margaret married his eldest son Arthur. Capell’s will mentions a marriage settlement with Lord Montagu by which Mary received Rayne’s Hall in Essex and other lands in Bocking, Braintree, Panfield, and Felstead. The queen visited Hadham Hall on progress on September 13, 1578. On Capel’s death, Mary inherited, among other things, a coach and the two horses that went with it and half the ready money in the house at Hadham, plus valuable bequests of plate. She moved to her dower house at Rayne, Essex, while Arthur took possession of Hadham Hall. Mary was the defendant in a lawsuit in 1616, during which she declared she was near 100 years old. Her will is dated July 17, 1615 and was proved July 15, 1617.

MARY BROWNE (July 22, 1552-April 1607)
Mary Browne was the daughter of Anthony Browne, viscount Montagu (November 29, 1528-October 19, 1592) and Jane Radcliffe (1533-July 22, 1552). She was brought up at Cowdray by her stepmother, Magdalen Dacre, as a devout Catholic. She married a Catholic neighbor, Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton (April 29, 1545-October 9, 1581) on February 19, 1566. The queen visited Lady Southampton at Tichfield in September 1569. Two opposing views of Mary’s life and character can be found in biographies of her son, Henry (October 6, 1573-November 10, 1634). A. L. Rowse’s Shakespeare’s Southampton finds her sympathetic while G.P.V. Akrigg’s Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton does not. In 1577, Mary’s husband suspected her of adultery with a man named Donesame and sought to deprive her of her children. After Southampton’s death, her daughter, Mary (1572-1607) was returned to her. In 1592, it was revealed that one of the countess’s gentlemen in waiting, Mr. Harrington, and a priest named Butler, had lived in Southampton House in London, Lady Southampton’s principal residence, in 1584, in the next chamber to her cousin, Robert Gage, one of the conspirators in the Babington Plot. At least in part to obtain protection for herself and her family, the countess remarried on May 2, 1594, choosing as her husband Sir Thomas Heneage (d. October 1595), an influential courtier. Their wedding may have been the occasion for the first performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Upon Heneage’s death, Mary inherited Copt Hall, Essex. Her stepdaughter, Elizabeth Heneage, Lady Finch, guaranteed that Mary would have an annual income of £600 if Mary would pay off Heneage’s debts to the Crown, a total of some £13,000. Mary agreed and sold one of her own manors to raise the money. In January 1599, she married a third time, to Sir William Hervey (d.1642). When James I became king, Mary was granted a free gift of £600 from the Exchequer and her son, who had been imprisoned for his part in the Essex Rebellion, was released from the Tower of London. A. L. Rowse suggests that her estate included Shakespeare’s sonnets, written to Mary’s son, and that William Hervey was the “Mr. W.H.” who provided them to the printer in 1609. Mary was buried at Titchfield with her first husband. Portrait: Painted at thirteen (1566) by Hans Eworth. This painting is at Welbeck Abbey.



Isabel Brownsword, probably the daughter of Richard Brownsword (d.1559) and his wife Elizabeth (d.1559+), married Richard Tipping (d.1592), a linen draper of Manchester. In 1561, they occupied a house in Hanging Ditch, close to the church, formerly occupied by Richard Brownsword. Later it became known as “Tipping Gates.” Tipping also owned houses and shops in the Shambles. After Tipping’s death, Isabel continued her husband’s business, trading in yarn and sackcloth. By the time she died, she was extremely wealthy. The inventory taken at her death reveals the value of her personal wealth was at least £1500 and that she had £471 17s. on hand in silver and gold. She also owned books. Her children with Tipping were John (d. before 1592), Samuel, George (d.1629), Anne, Dorothy, and Cecily (d. before 1617).




KATHERINE BRUEN (February 1579-May 31, 1601)
Katherine Bruen was the daughter of John Bruen of Bruen Stapleford, Cheshire (1510-1587) and Dorothy Holford. From the age of eight, she was raised by her older brother, John Bruen (1560-1625), who enforced a strict religious regimen that included prayers seven times a day and attendance at two sermons every Sunday. In about 1599, Katherine married William Brettargh of Brettargh Hall near Liverpool (c.1571-1602+). He was a Puritan and almost as strict as her brother. They lived at Little Woolton in Childwall, Lancashire and had one child, Anne, before Katherine contracted an unknown illness and, facing death, lost her faith. Her death inspired two sermons that attempted to explain what happened to her. They were printed later that same year and spawned a debate about which religious beliefs led to a more merciful death. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Brettargh [née Bruen], Katherine.” Portraits: portrait; engraving.



MARY BRUGES (c.1588-June 1662)
Mary Bruges was the daughter of Richard Bruges or Bridges of Combe, Gloucestershire and Scampton, Lincolnshire (d.1620). She married Peter Phesant (Pheasant; Fesant) (1584-October 1, 1649), a justice of common pleas, and was the mother of Mary (b. January 7, 1615), Stephen (May 22, 1617-1660), Susan (1619-1638+), Nathaniel (d.1655+), Margaret (c.1623-1645+), and Robert (May 1626-September 11, 1626). In her will, dated August 15, 1635, Margaret Wroth (née Rich) left Mrs. Mary Pheasant a gold ring set with seven diamonds “to wear for her sake” and left Mary’s daughter, her goddaughter Margaret, a bracelet of gold with amethyst stones, a bodkin with a diamond button, and a pearl bracelet. Mary was buried June 21, 1662 at Upwood, Huntingdonshire. My thanks to a member of the Bruges family for information included in this entry. Portrait: with one of her daughters, c.1615-20, by Paul van Somer.

ELIZABETH BRUGGE or BRUGES (d. January 26, 1525)
Elizabeth Brugge or Bruges was the daughter of Thomas Brugge or Bruges of Cobberley (1427-January 30, 1492/3) and Florence Darrell (c.1425-1506). She married William Cassey of Wightfield, Gloucestershire (d.1509). Some online genealogy sites give Cassey’s surname as Carey. They had two sons, Leonard (1506-1513) and Robert (d.1547). From the will of her second husband, Walter Rowdon, dated May 9, 1513, it is clear that they resided at Wightfield. Elizabeth’s jointure included the manor of Rowdon and Walter left his wife all such plate, chains, rings and jewels as were his at Wightfield, except a gold ring, which he left to William Hanshaw. He left the rest of his estate to his brother, Richard Rowdon. Elizabeth was buried under the north aisle of St. Mary Church, Deerhurst, Glouchestershire. Portrait: memorial brass.


Elizabeth Brugge was the daughter of Sir John Brugge or Bruges (d.1530), draper and merchant and Lord Mayor of London in 1520-21, and Agnes Ayloffe. She married Robert Lyse or Lyce (d. 1538), also a draper and merchant, as his second wife. He had two children by his first wife, Nicholas and Bridget, but he and Elizabeth appear to have been childless. It was Elizabeth’s sister Ursula, not Elizabeth, who was the wife of John Garraway. As a widow, Elizabeth wrote her will on July 18, 1538. She asked to be buried in the parish church of St. Peter le Poore, near her husband. Since the will mentions apprentices, it appears that Elizabeth took up her husband’s business as a draper after his death. She left one of her apprentices, Roger Warrener, forty shillings, and forgave him the remaining years of his apprenticeship. She also left bequests to her stepchildren and her godmother (Mistress Brown) and left money to her brother, Giles Brugge, “toward the finding and keeping of Alice my husband’s found child until she shall be able to be bound as an apprentice.” My thanks to Peter Bruges for providing a transcript of this will.

Philippa Brulet was the daughter of Gwylliam Brulet, a Frenchman from Normandy who was an embroiderer at the court of Henry VIII. His first name is also spelled Guillaume and Gillam and his last name Breyllant, Brellan, and Braibot. He was granted denization in May 1524. At some point before the death of Sir Edward Baynton in 1544, Philippa married his son, Andrew Baynton (c.1516-February 21, 1564). The marriage caused dissention and does not seem to have been a happy one. Baynton brought a successful suit for annulment in 1562 on the grounds that Philippa had a pre-contract with someone else. The suit also mentions debts to her father. Baynton remarried and the mother of his daughter Anne is sometimes said to be Baynton’s second wife, Frances Legh, but if the date of 1551 for her birth is correct, then she was Philippa’s child.


ELIZABETH BRUYN (d. March 7, 1493/4)
Elizabeth Bruyn, sometimes called Anne, was born between 1444 and 1450, the daughter of Sir Henry Bruyn/Bruen of South Ockendon, Essex (1420-November 30, 1461) and Elizabeth Darcy (d.c.1471). Her first husband was Thomas Tyrrell (d.1471), by whom she had two sons, William and Hugh. She then married Sir William Brandon (d. August 21, 1485), who died at Bosworth Field. They had at least three children, William (d. yng), Anne (d. by July 1540), and Charles (1484/5-1545), and some genealogies also list Robert, Richard, and Elizabeth. The latter was probably one of Brandon’s two illegitimate daughters. Elizabeth Bruyn’s third husband was William Mallery or Mallory.

ELIZABETH BRYAN (c.1495-1546)
Elizabeth Bryan was the daughter of Sir Thomas Bryan of Marsworth and Cheddington, Buckinghamshire (c.1464-1517) and Margaret Bourcher (1468-1551/2). She and her siblings grew up at court, where her mother was one of Catherine of Aragon’s ladies in waiting and her father was vice chamberlain of the queen’s household. Elizabeth was married in December 1514 to Nicholas Carew (c.1496-March 3, 1539), a squire of the king’s body. Both before and after her marriage, Elizabeth and her sister Margaret participated in masques at court. In February 1515, King Henry paid Thomas Jenyns, serjeant skinner, £78 17s. 4d. for “mynkes and martoins” for “Nich. Carewe and his wife.” Elizabeth received several rich gifts of clothing in 1516: crimson tinsel for a stomacher; tawny velvet for a gown; two yards of cloth of silver of damask. Her husband also received clothing from the king in that year and the couple was granted lands in Surrey, including Beddington, valued at forty marks a year, in part payment of fifty marks a year “as a marriage portion.” On March 27, 1518, “Mr. Carew and his wife returned to the King’s Grace” while the court was at Abingdon, according to a letter written to Cardinal Wolsey. The implication is that they had been sent away for some infraction. All was apparently forgiven, as the king visited Beddington for a week in February 1519 and hunted in the adjoining park. In March 1520, the duke of Suffolk and his wife (Mary Tudor, former Queen of France) stayed there with the Carews. Their visit was extended because the duchess fell ill. Elizabeth’s children were Isabel, Elizabeth, Mary, Francis (1530-May 16, 1611), and Anne (d. November 3, 1587). In January 1537, Princess Mary gave 7s. 6d. to “the nurse of Lady Carew’s daughter,” Mary’s goddaughter. Elizabeth is credited with persuading her uncle, John Bourchier, 2nd baron Berners (1467-1533), to translate “The Castell of Love” from Spanish into English. The manor of Bletchingley, Surrey, was granted to Nicholas and Elizabeth Carew in 1522. In 1536, Jane Seymour stayed with them prior to her marriage to Henry VIII. Queen Jane was very fond of Elizabeth Carew and left her several pieces of jewelry when she died. This gift, described as “many beautiful diamonds and pearls and innumerable jewels,” seems to be the source of a totally unfounded story that Elizabeth Bryan, as a young teenager, was Henry VIII’s mistress. In a variation of this, Marie Louise Bruce, in her 1972 biography of Anne Boleyn, suggests that Elizabeth was Henry VIII’s unnamed mistress of 1533-4. This is highly unlikely. Elizabeth would have been nearly forty by then. After Sir Nicholas was charged with treason and executed in 1539, Elizabeth was evicted from the Carew seat at Beddington and took refuge at Wallington. She wrote to Lord Cromwell from there, asking him to intercede for her with the king. Her mother also wrote to Cromwell, saying that Elizabeth “has not been used to straight living and it would grieve me in my old days to lose her.” Elizabeth was allowed to keep Wallington and a few manors in Sussex worth £120. She left a will dated May 21, 1546 and proved July 17, 1546. She was buried in St. Botolph’s, Aldgate, London, with her husband. Biography: included in Ronald Michell, The Carews of Beddington.


MARGARET BRYAN (d. before 1527)
Margaret Bryan was the daughter of Sir Thomas Bryan of Marsworth and Cheddington, Buckinghamshire (c.1468-1517) and Margaret Bourchier (1468-1551/2). She was at court as a young woman, since both her parents were part of the queen’s household. She married Sir Henry Guildford (1489-1532) in May 1512, when the Princess of Castile (Henry VIII’s sister, Mary Tudor), made an offering of 6s. 8d. for the occasion. On June 6, Henry VIII granted the newlyweds two manors, Hampton-in-Arden, Warwickshire, and Byner, Lincolnshire. Both before and after her marriage, she participated in many masques at court and she attended the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. The Guildfords’ primary residence when not at court was Benenden, Kent, but as Keeper of Leeds Castle, Sir Henry also had the use of that establishment. Margaret was probably the Lady Guildford who provided a nurse (Cecily Russell of Acton) when Ursula Pole, Lady Stafford, gave birth to her first child and sent a greyhound as a gift to the duke of Buckingham in December 1520.


ELIZABETH BRYCE (d. before 1542)
Elizabeth Bryce was the granddaughter of a London goldsmith, Sir Hugh Bryce (d. September 22, 1496) and his wife, Elizabeth Chester (d.1504). It is not certain when her father, James, died, but Elizabeth was still underage and unmarried in 1498. She married another goldsmith, Robert Amadas (1470-by April 14,1532). They had two daughters, Elizabeth (1508-1529+), who died before her parents, and Thomasine. In 1526, Robert Amadas was appointed Master of the Jewel House to King Henry VIII. Amadas owned a house in Aldersgate and land in Essex. Upon his death, Elizabeth inherited Jenkins, a “mansion house” in Barking, and on August 28, 1532, she married Sir Thomas Neville (c.1475-May 29,1542) in the chapel there. He was the younger brother of Baron Bergavenny and a lawyer. He and Elizabeth had no children and she died before him. According to Carolly Erickson’s biography of Henry VIII’s daughter, Queen Mary, Mrs. Amadas “began, in 1533, to spread ‘ungracious’ statements about the king’s occult destiny.” She said these prophesies had been known to her for some twenty years. She kept a “painted roll of her predictions” which included battles and deaths and conquest by Scotland, as well as Anne Boleyn’s death within six months by being burnt at the stake. The story that Mrs. Amadas claimed, in 1532, that she had once been the king’s mistress, has fairly wide circulation. Since she specified that she met him in Sir William Compton’s house in Thames Street, this must have been before Compton’s death in 1528 . . . if it ever happened. And if, indeed, she called Anne Boleyn a harlot and spoke out against the king setting aside his first wife, it would have been difficult for her to marry Thomas Neville when she did. Wikipedia, not always the most reliable of sources, summarizes “what everyone knows” about Elizabeth Amadas, which is that she was arrested for her treasonous statements and that Richard Amadas was ordered to pay several hundred pounds to the crown, although whether to free his wife or because there was plate missing from the Jewel House is not clear. Of course, since Amadas had died early in 1532, either would have been a good trick. In Mary Boleyn, Alison Weir suggests that the king pursued Mrs. Amadas between his involvement with Mary Boleyn and his courtship of Anne Boleyn and that Mrs. Amadas may have spurned his advances. In another of her books, Weir states that Elizabeth Amadas was “given to tantrums and strange visions.” Both she and G.W. Bernard give sources in the L&P for the affair with the king and the prophesies, but they date from 1533. Kelly Hart, in The Mistresses of Henry VIII, repeats all these stories about Elizabeth Amadas and adds that Robert Amadas owed the king £1,771 19s.10d. for missing plate. She also says that Elizabeth died within four months of her second marriage but gives no sources for this information. Sharon Jansen, in Dangerous Talk and Strange Behavior, has a different take on Mrs. Amadas. She doesn’t believe the self-proclaimed prophet was Elizabeth Bryce at all. Jansen identifies the Mrs. Amadas who compared herself to Catherine of Aragon and Elizabeth Stafford, Duchess of Norfolk (as an abused wife) as the first wife of John Amadas (by 1489-1554/5), a member of the king’s household with properties in Devon, Cornwall, and Kent. He was married by 1519, but his first wife’s name is unknown. They had a son and a daughter and possibly other children and she had died by the time he remarried in 1542.


Catherine Brydges was the daughter of Sir Giles Brydges or Brugge of Coberley, Gloucestershire (1462-December 1, 1511) and Isabel Baynham (c.1475-1511+). In about 1515, she married Leonard Pole or Poole of Sapperton, Gloucestershire (d. September 30, 1538), gentleman usher of the king’s chamber, by whom she had two sons, John and Giles (d. February 24, 1589). In about 1539, she married Sir David Broke (Brooke/Brook) of Bristol and Week, Somerset (c.1499-1559/60). They had no children. Catherine was one of Mary Tudor’s nurses in 1516, possibly the one paid £20 for a half year’s wages in March 1517. She was still with the princess in July 1525, when Mary’s household was moved to the Marches of Wales. She received a diamond ring as a gift from Henry VIII. In 1553, when Mary became queen, Catherine returned to her household as Catherine Brooke. Her husband was knighted and in 1554 he was granted the manors of Horton, Gloucestershire and Canonbury, Middlesex. Catherine was buried at Islington where, at one time, she had a memorial brass.

CATHERINE BRYDGES (c.1524-April 1566)
Catherine Brydges was the daughter of John Brydges, 1st baron Chandos (March 9, 1491/2-April 13, 1557) and Elizabeth Grey (d. December 29, 1559). She was a gentlewoman of the privy chamber to Queen Mary. In early 1556, she married Edward Sutton, baron Dudley (d. July 9, 1586) and soon after found herself being questioned about her brother-in-law, Sir Henry Dudley, the conspirator. Her husband was imprisoned for debt in June 1558, by which time Catherine had given birth to their only child, Anne (c.1554-November 28, 1605). Lady Dudley was buried on April 25, 1566 in St. Edmund’s Chapel, Dudley.

CATHERINE BRYDGES (1576-January 29, 1656/7)
Catherine Brydges was the daughter of Giles Brydges, 3rd baron Chandos (1547-February 21, 1594) and Frances Clinton (1553-September 12, 1623). She does not seem to have served as a maid of honor, although many other women in her family did. With her sister Elizabeth (1574-October 1617), she was co-heiress to a fortune estimated at £16,500. On February 26, 1608/9, she married Francis Russell, baron Russell of Thornhaugh and later 4th earl of Bedford (1593-May 9, 1641) at St. Mary le Strand. In spite of her late marriage (at about thirty-two), she was the mother of ten children: William, 5th earl and 1st duke (August 1616-September 7, 1700), Francis (d.c.1696), John (d.1681), Edward (d. September 21, 1665), Catherine (d. December 1, 1676), Anne (d. January 27, 1696/7), Margaret (d. November 1676), Diana (1624-January 30, 1695), Elizabeth, and Frances.  After the deaths of two of their daughters, in 1612 and 1616, Lord Russell built a tomb for himself and his wife at Chenies, Buckinghamshire. They lie on a tombchest with effigies of the two girls lying under a pair of arches with a broken pediment. Peter Sherlock’s Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England gives the date of Catherine’s death as 1653. Portrait: effigy at Chenies.


ELEANOR BRYDGES (c.1546-1581+)
Eleanor Brydges was the daughter of Edmund Brydges, 2nd baron Chandos (d. September 11, 1573) and Dorothy Bray (c.1524-October 31, 1605). By September 1572, she was at court with her sister Katherine as a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth. She remained in the Privy Chamber after her marriage to George Gifford or Giffard (1552-1586+), a courtier. Their marriage license is dated December 28, 1579 but she was still listed as a maid of honor in January 1581. Gifford was arrested on August 23, 1586 on charges of dealing with Jesuits, but he was released by the end of that year. After that he was much abroad. I have not been able to discover when either Eleanor or her husband died.

Elizabeth Brydges was the daughter of Rowland Brydges (Brugge; Bruges; Bridges) of Clerkenwell, Middlesex and Ley Weobley, Herefordshire (d. before December 22, 1544) and Margaret or Margery Kellom. Rowland was also known as Rowland Gosnell and for a time headed the religious house at Much Wenlock. Elizabeth was her parents’ heir and fairly wealthy before her marriages. Her first husband was Valentine Clerke, by whom she had three children: Rowland (b.1532), Anne (b.1534) and Amy (b.c.1540). Widowed by the end of 1540, she took Sir Ralph Fane or Vane of Hadlow (x. February 1552) for her second husband. Elizabeth translated psalms and proverbs and received dedications from the poet Robert Crowley and others of a radical protestant persuasion. When her husband was executed, charged with conspiracy to murder the duke of Northumberland, Elizabeth lost their home at Penshurst, Kent and the contents of their house in Westminster. Under Queen Mary, Elizabeth offered aid to co-religionists imprisoned by the queen and as a result was eventually forced to go into hiding. She was concealed near Reading for twenty-one weeks in 1556. She died peacefully in Holborn and was buried at St. Andrews on June 11, 1568. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Fane [Vane; née Brydges], Elizabeth.”

ELIZABETH BRYDGES (1578-October 1617)
Elizabeth Brydges was the daughter of Giles Brydges, 3rd baron Chandos (1547-February 21, 1594) and Frances Clinton (1553-September 12, 1623). She was a maid of honor and co-heiress with her sister Catherine (1576-1654) to a fortune reckoned at £16,500, but she apparently had debts. To pay them, she encouraged Charles Lister to court her. Charlotte Merton includes the story in The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth: Shortly after her father’s death, Elizabeth borrowed £150 from Lister. Their courtship continued until 1598, with numerous gifts and loans, particularly between April 25, 1597, when she agreed to a secret contract of marriage, and August 1598. He redeemed jewelry she had pawned, paid off a £200 bond, paid her physician’s bill, and entered into a £1000 bond on her behalf. He was not a wealthy man, but he gave her many presents of jewelry and furnishings and even a ruby and diamond jewel that cost £120. On August 6, 1598, when he redeemed the rest of the diamonds she’d pawned for £1,150, he was obliged to borrow money against his estates. Elizabeth promised to pay him back within six months, but it soon became obvious that she had no intention of doing so. On December 11, 1598, his deposition was taken by the Privy Council, listing the complaints he lodged against her, but no action was taken. It seems doubtful he ever recovered any of the money. Meanwhile, she’d been carrying on with the earl of Essex. Lister died, unmarried, on November 26, 1613. Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite, is first heard of in connection with Elizabeth Brydges in April 1597, when she and Elizabeth Russell were turned out of the Coffer Chamber for going, without the queen’s permission, to watch the earl play at ballon. The two maids of honor spent three nights at Lady Stafford’s house before they were allowed to return to court. After that, Elizabeth Brydges’s interest in Essex cooled, but in early 1598, they were said to have resumed the affair. These were not her only romantic entanglements. According to Marion Colthorpe, “Women at Court: Royal Household” in The Elizabethan Court Day By Day (http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day), she received a sonnet from Henry Lok toward the end of 1596. In May 1601, it was rumored she would marry Robert Cecil and by October a Frenchman was said to be in love with her. In June 1602, during negotiations over the ownership of Sudeley Castle (Elizabeth’s uncle, William, 4th baron Chandos, also claimed the property), Elizabeth’s cousin, Grey Brydges, assaulted Elizabeth’s representative. In October of that year it was proposed that Elizabeth marry Grey to settle the matter, but nothing came of the suggestion. Elizabeth Brydges was still at court when Queen Elizabeth died in 1603 and was one of the six maids of honor in the funeral procession. Shortly after James I became king, Elizabeth married Sir John Kennedy. Grey, now Lord Chandos, disapproved of the match and investigated Kennedy, discovering that he already had a wife in Scotland. Forced to separate from her husband in 1611, Elizabeth lived the rest of her life in relative poverty and obscurity. She died in London. Portraits: one painted by Hieronomo Custodis in 1585; two others painted in 1595 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.


Frances Brydges was the daughter of William Brydges, 4th baron Chandos  (d.1602) and Mary Hopton (d. October 23, 1624). She may have been a maid of honor. By 1603, she had married Sir Thomas Smith (c.1556-November 1609), a courtier who was named Master of Requests in 1608. They had two children, Robert (1605-1606) and Margaret, and houses in Westminster and Parsons Green, Fulham. In 1610, Frances married Thomas Cecil, earl of Exeter (1542-1623), by whom she had a daughter. Queen Anne attended the christening as godmother and named the baby Georgi-Anna (June 1616-1621). Frances entertained lavishly at Wimbledon but she was also involved in a scandal when Exeter’s grandson, Lord Ros (d.1618), was blackmailed by his wife, Anne Lake, and her parents (see MARY RYTHER). The hostilities extended to accusing Frances of an incestuous relationship with Ros and an attempt to poison Lady Ros. In February 1619 the charges and countercharges were heard in the Star Chamber with King James presiding. There were over 17,000 pages of evidence. Frances was vindicated. Lady Lake and her husband and Lady Ros were imprisoned in the Tower of London and fined. Following her second husband’s death, Frances returned to Fulham. She lived there until 1632, when she turned the property over to her daughter, Margaret, and Margaret’s husband, Thomas Carey (d.1634). She made her will on January 20, 1663. It was proved July 17. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Cecil [née Brydges; other married name Smith], Frances.” Portraits: painting by Van Dyck, now missing; drawing by Van Dyck; both from the 1630s.


Katherine Brydges was the daughter of Edmund Brydges, 2nd baron Chandos (d. September 11, 1573) and Dorothy Bray (c.1524-October 31, 1605). By 1572, she was at court with her sister Eleanor as a maid of honor to Queen Elizabeth. She was considered the most beautiful of that group and a poem by George Gascoigne (d.1577), “In Prayse of Bridges,” called her the damsel at court who “doth most excell” and praised “her sweet face.” Marion Colthorpe, “Women at Court: Royal Household” in http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day identifies this “Bridges” as Eleanor. In 1573 she married William Sandys, 3rd baron Sandys of the Vyne (c.1545-September 29, 1623). They had a daughter, Elizabeth (d. between April 5, 1644 and 1649). Folgerpedia lists a Katherine Brydges as a maid of honor in 1565-67 but this is unlikely to be the same person.

MARY BRYDGES (c.1519-November 15, 1606)
Mary Brydges was the daughter of John Brydges, 1st baron Chandos (March 9, 1491/2-April 13, 1557) and Elizabeth Grey (d. December 29, 1559). She married George Throckmorton (c.1533-September 1, 1612), brother of Sir Nicholas, by 1558. In 1559, her husband accused her of trying to poison him. Sir Nicholas wrote to Sir William Cecil from France in August of that year to beg him not to be “too pitiful or remiss” in looking into the matter. He reminded Cecil that civil law punished the offense with death and that canon law dissolved the marriage. He wrote of “many devilish devices,” but he admitted that he had not seen his brother in person, possibly because George had been in exile during the reign of Mary Tudor. In a second letter, Sir Nicholas worried that the attempted poisoning might have been included in the general pardon issued by Queen Elizabeth at the beginning of her reign. On August 20, 1559, Cecil received a letter of explanation from Mary’s mother. It had all been a misunderstanding, Lady Chandos wrote. Mary was “given overmuch” to palmistry, but had nothing to do with poisons. She had tried to give George a love potion, not a poison, seeking his “entire and perfect” love because he had been unfaithful to her. Apparently the letter convinced Cecil, as no action was taken against Mary. This story comes from letters quoted by Dr. A. L. Rowse in his Sir Walter Raleigh: His Family and Private Life. George Throckmorton may have been married first to Mary’s younger sister, Frances Brydges. However, Frances’s life dates are given as c.1536-August 20, 1559, which makes no sense unless Frances was the wife of the letters and conveniently died before Cecil had to act. George Throckmorton had nine children. One birth date given for the eldest, Nicholas, is c.1551. The others are Elizabeth, Sarah, Henry, John, Jane, Michael, George, and Susan or Susanna. The identity of their mother is unclear. Mary is also given two husbands prior to Throckmorton, first Francis Lovell and second Sir George Cornwall. From this second marriage, which took place on May 6, 1543, she had two children, Bridget and Humphrey (c.1550-1633). To add to the confusion, life dates for George Cornwall are usually given as 1509-1562. If that is correct, Mary Brydges could not have married George Throckmorton in 1558. The account of the story in Charlotte Merton’s The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth calls the alleged poisoner Frances and says she conferred with wizards early in 1559 and that both Frances and George continued at court as members of the privy chamber after the marriage finally collapsed in the 1560s.

WINIFRED BRYDGES (1510-June 16, 1586)
Winifred Bridges is identified in some genealogies as the daughter of John Brydges, 1st baron Chandos (March 9, 1492-April 13, 1557) and Elizabeth Grey (d. December 29, 1559), but the Oxford DNB entries for her husband and her daughter identify Winifred’s parents as Sir John Brydges (Bruges; Burges; Brugge; Brugges) (d.1530), draper and Lord Mayor of London in 1520-21, and his wife Agnes Ayloffe. This is confirmed by her will, in which she names Anthony Brydges, son of her brother Giles (d.1557), his wife Prudence, and other relatives. Winifred married Richard Sackville of Ashburnham and Buckhurst, Sussex (d. April 21, 1566), by whom she had Thomas, earl of Dorset (1536-April 19, 1608), two sons who died young, and Anne (d. May 14, 1595). In 1562 and again in 1566, the Sackvilles were given custody of Margaret Douglas, countess of Lennox, when she had offended Queen Elizabeth. As her dower house, Winifred inherited Salisbury Court, between Sackville House (later Buckhurst House) and the Temple in London. From 1568, she let the property to the French ambassador for use as his embassy. Before September 30, 1568, Winifred married John Paulet, second marquess of Winchester (1517-November 4, 1576) as his third wife. Many accounts, including my original entry in Wives and Daughters, incorrectly state that she married his father, William Paulet, first marquess (1485-March 10, 1572). From her second husband, Winifred inherited the house in Chelsea that once belonged to Sir Thomas More. The third marquess complained that his stepmother had used undue influence on his father but the will stood. Upon Winifred’s death, the Chelsea house went to her daughter. Winifred was buried in Westminster Abbey. She left a will dated May 18, 1583 and proved June 20, 1586. Portrait: effigy in Westminster Abbey.


ISABEL BUCK (d. 1538+) (maiden name unknown)

In the spring of 1538, Isabel Buck of Holderness, Yorkshire hired Mabel Brigge, a widow, to perform a “black fast” because Isabel was too weak after recently losing an infant to do it herself. She and Mabel both insisted that Isabel had given Mabel wheat and linen in exchange for her help in finding lost money by this means. Despite the testimony of the parish priest, who had granted permission for Mabel to fast in Isabel’s place, the two women were charged with trying to bring about the deaths of King Henry VIII and the duke of Norfolk, a treasonous offense. William Buck, Isabel’s husband, attempted to bribe the men conducting the investigation and was himself tried for that crime. All three were found guilty, but only Mabel Brigge was executed. Biography: entry for Mabel Brigge in Carole Levin, et al, editors, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen.



Catherine Bulkeley was the daughter of Rowland Bulkeley of Beaumaris, Wales (c.1461-1537) and Alice Beconsall. Her brother, Sir Richard, was a client of both Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell. In the 1520 visitation of Godstow in Oxfordshire, she was listed as the second most junior nun. On April 16, 1535, became abbess there. She wrote to Lord Cromwell in hopes of saving the abbey from dissolution. On March 7, 1538, she offered him the stewardship of the abbey, which he accepted. She sent his fee, and apples, on October 6. On another occasion she sent him a couple of Banbury cheeses. On November 26, however, Dr. John London was sent to suppress the abbey. Catherine wrote to protest, while still trying to sound submissive. She was granted a pension of £40 for life. Following the abbey’s surrender on November 17, 1539, she conformed to the New Religion and leased the parsonage of Cheadle church in Cheshire from her brother, John, who was (absentee) rector there from 1525-1545. She apparently lived in the rectory until her death. She was buried at Cheadle on February 13, 1560. For more information, see Mary C. Erler, Reading and Writing During the Dissolution: Monks, Friars, and Nuns 1530-1558, pp. 67-72.







ALICE BULSTRODE (d.1518+) (maiden name unknown)
Alice Bulstrode was the widow of William Bulstrode, son of Thomas, when she married John Soper. Records for 1515-1518 include the lawsuit Alice and John Soper brought against William Ludlow and John Bulstrode (William’s brother and executor) over the legacy William left Alice from the profits of lands entrusted by Philippa, William’s aunt and guardian, to Ludlow. John Bulstrode had refused to prove William’s will, prompting the lawsuit. As is so often the case, there is no resolution recorded, but the claim apparently involved lands in Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Wiltshire.

Cecily Bulstrode was the daughter of Edward Bulstrode of Hedgerley (c.1457-February 8, 1516) and his third wife, Margaret Ashfield. In July 1533, she married Sir Alexander Unton of Wadley, Berkshire (c.1508-December 16, 1547). They had seven sons and two daughters, including Edward (1534-September 16, 1582), Henry, Elizabeth (1538-June 24, 1611), and Thomas (1540-January 1564). At the time of his death, Unton owned estates at Offchurch, Denchworth, Wadley, Shellingford, Sheepbridge in Swallowfield, and East Hanney in Berkshire and Minster Lovell and Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire. Her second husband was Robert Kelway of London and Combe Abbey, Minster Lovel, Oxfordshire (1510-1581), surveyor of wards and liveries to Queen Elizabeth, by whom she had one daughter, Anne (1549-May 25, 1620). Portrait: monumental brass on the tomb of her first husband in the Unton Chapel, Faringdon Church, Berkshire.

CECILY BULSTRODE (1584-August 4, 1609)
Cecily Bulstrode was the daughter of Edward Bulstrode (November 3, 1550-August 31, 1595) and Cecily Croke (d.1608+). In 1605 she was part of the countess of Bedford’s household and by 1607 had become a gentlewoman of the queen’s bedchamber to Queen Anne. Several poems were apparently written about her, some of them attacking her for promiscuity, and at least one poem was written by Cecily herself in reply. Poems were also written about her death, which occurred at the countess of Bedford’s house at Twickenham. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Bulstrode, Cecily.”

CECILY BURBAGE (d. before 1575?)
Cecily Burbage was the daughter of Thomas Burbage of Hayes Park Hall, Middlesex (d.1560) and Anne or Agnes Muncaster. She married Thomas Vitry. After she went mad, she was supported financially by her eldest brother, Robert Burbage (d.1575).


ELLEN BURBAGE (d. c. 1575)
Ellen Burbage was the daughter of Thomas Burbage of Hayes Park Hall, Middlesex (d.1560) and Anne or Agnes Muncaster. In 1571, she married Rocco Bonetti (d.1587), an Italian who had come to England in 1569 and who would later (in 1576) set himself up in Blackfriars as a fencing master. Bonetti had a somewhat checkered career. Various accounts identify him as a soldier of fortune, a secret emissary from Catherine de Medici, and a spy for England who copied letters between the French ambassadors in London and Edinburgh and passed them on to one of Sir Francis Walsingham’s agents. Bonetti left England shortly after his marriage. When he returned in 1575, it was to find that his wife had died and his house and goods had been seized by her eldest brother, Robert Burbage, and John Vavasour. Upon Burbage’s death that same year, his son-in-law, William Goring, laid claim to Bonetti’s property. Bonetti later remarried. Whether he got his property back is unclear, but he did have powerful friends who intervened on his behalf on other matters.


ANNE BURES (1526-September 19, 1609)
Anne Bures was the daughter of Sir Henry Bures (Buers/Bury) of Acton Hall, Suffolk (1501-July 1528) and Anne Waldegrave (1506-April 24, 1590). She and two of her sisters were married to the three sons of Sir William Butts, royal physician, Anne to Edmund of Barrow, Suffolk (1523-1550) in 1547, Jane (1522-1594) to William of Thornage, Norfolk (1519-September 3, 1583), and Bridget to Thomas of Great Riburgh, Norfolk. The marriage of Anne and Edmund was the only one to produce an heir, Anne Butts (c.1548-September 19, 1616), who married Sir Nicholas Bacon in 1564. Anne Bures Butts spent sixty-one years as a widow. Her monumental brass in the Church of St. Mary at Redgrave, Suffolk is on a slab of black Belgian marble of unusual size and beauty.

JANE BURES (d. May 1557+)
Jane Bures (sometimes written Birch) was born in Suffolk. By a marriage settlement dated January 1530, she married Roger Stourton of Rushton, Dorset (d. January 31, 1551), a younger son of Edward, 6th baron Stourton. They lived at Rushton. By his will, written on January 28, 1551, Stourton left Jane the manor house at Rushton, another at Up Carne, Dorset, and a flock of 1000 sheep at Up Carne. At the time of his death he also owned a flock of sheep at Langford, Wiltshire and corn and cattle on the Bures manor of Brook Hall, Essex. As executor of the will, Jane, a childless widow, was soon at odds with her late husband’s nephew, Charles, 8th baron. In 1553, she complained to the king that she was being persecuted by the 8th baron’s servants. Her brother, Robert Bures, supported her claim. At the same time, she had to fight a claim to Rushton made by George and Elizabeth (née Ashley) Percy. The Court of the Star Chamber decided in Jane’s favor and she was reinstated at Rushton by the sheriff in May 1557.

MARGARET BURGES (before 1532-before 1597) (maiden name unknown)
Margaret Burges was the wife of John Burges (Bruges; Brydges), clothier of Kingswood, Wiltshire (d.1597). Her children were John (1546-1607), Richard (d.1620), who settled at Combe, Gloucestershire and Scampton, Linconshire, Margaret, and Alice (d.1599). During the reign of Mary Tudor, Margaret and her husband continued to hold protestant views. A good friend and not-too-distant neighbor was the rector of Winterbourne, Gloucestershire, Paul Bush (1489/1490-October 11, 1558), who had been Bishop of Bristol until he was removed for having married during the reign of Edward VI. According to his entry in the Oxford DNB, he lost his post even though his wife Edith (née Ashley) died in October 1553. John Burges was at one point tried for “mocking and disparaging the blessed mass” and Margaret did not hesitate to voice heretical views at dinner with Bush. This prompted Bush to write Exhortation, published in London in 1554. It was a defense of the mass and was dedicated to Margaret.







FRANCES BURROUGHS (1576-March 3, 1637)
Frances Burroughs was the daughter of Anthony Burroughs and Maud Vaux (1536- 1581). Her mother came from a recusant family but her father was a conformist and took his little daughter to church every Sunday. According to the family legend, she would immediately fall into a deep sleep and not wake up until she was out of the church once more. At the age of five, after her mother’s death, she was adopted by her cousin, Eleanor Vaux Brooksby, a widow with two young children of her own. From an early age, Frances had to deal with raids on her home and showed extraordinary courage in dealing with the searchers. At eleven, according to the Chronicle of St. Monica’s, when armed pursuivants burst in on the family, Frances cried out “Oh! put up your swords or else my mother will die, for she cannot endure to see a naked sword.” Then Eleanor, or possibly her sister, Anne Vaux, impersonating Eleanor, pretended to swoon. When Frances was sent to fetch wine to revive her, she was able to make certain that the priests were safely hidden away. On another occasion, a pursuivant held a dagger to her breast and threatened to stab her if she did not tell him where the priests were hidden. She answered that if he did, it would be “the hottest blood that ever thou sheddiset in thy life.” Impressed by her courage, the pursuivant tried to buy her for £100. In 1595, after some ten years of wavering about her vocation, Frances left England with the help of Father Henry Garnet and joined the Canonesses Regular of the Lateran at Louvain, entering the convent of St. Monica’s where, although she was reportedly sickly all her life, she lived for more than forty years. The writer of the Chronicle criticized Frances for “hasty words” and other “small defects” in her character, including “but a weak voice for the choir.”

ALICE BURTON (December 28, 1542-May 21, 1616)
Alice Burton was the daughter of Simon Burton (1508-May 23, 1593), wax chandler and governor of St. Thomas Hospital, London, and his first wife, Elizabeth. She was married three times, first to Richard Waterson, by whom she had a son, Simon (d.1564+), then to Francis Coldock, gentleman (1530/1-January 13, 1603), by whom she had two daughters, Joan and Anne. They were married for forty years. After the death of her father, Alice erected a monument in his memory in St. Andrew Undershaft, showing his two wives, one son, and three daughters. Like Alice’s first husband, Coldock was a stationer. His shop was at the sign of the Green Dragon in Paul’s Churchyard. In his will, dated September 3, 1602, he divided his belongings between Alice and their daughter Joan, who was by then married to William Ponsonby, a bookseller. As her third husband, Alice married Isaac Byng, gentleman, another stationer. She was buried in the same vault as her father. Portrait: on her father’s brass, St. Andrew Undershaft, London.

ELIZABETH BURTON (d. 1520+) (maiden name unknown)
Elizabeth Burton, wife of John Burton, received a pension of twenty marks (£13 6s. 8d.) from Henry VIII for her service to his mother, Elizabeth of York. She was still collecting it in 1520.



AGNES BUSSY (c.1523-January 8, 1583)
Agnes Bussy was the only child of John Bussy or Bushy of Houghham, Lincolnshire (d. January 31,1542) and Anne Borough or Burgh (c.1500-1582). This considerable heiress was betrothed to a son of Sir William Fairfax in 1536, but disputes between the two fathers over the manor of Wigsley in Nottingham and other properties led Bussy to pay Fairfax £450 in 1539 to relinquish his claim to both Agnes and the land. She was then married to Edmund Brudenell of Deene (1521-February 24, 1585). After the death of Anne Borough Bussy’s second husband, Sir Anthony Neville, on September 3, 1557, Anne lived with her daughter. It is unclear whether her son (George) and three daughters by Neville were with her. Deene was visited by Queen Elizabeth on her progress of 1566. Agnes and Edmund Brudenell quarreled over money, Edmund’s unfaithfulness, religion (She was a staunch Protestant; he was sympathetic to Catholic recusants), how long to stay at Deene and how long at Houghham, and (in 1562) over title deeds. As a wife, Agnes had few legal rights. At one point she had to borrow money from her cousin, John Bussy, to pay her dressmaker’s bill. However, she did apparently have some say in the distribution of Bussy lands after her death and she paid her cousin, Richard Topcliffe (their mothers were sisters and Topcliffe’s sister was married to Brudenell’s brother) an annuity. Because Agnes was childless, there were several cousins with claims on her estate. Early on, Brudenell conspired with John Bussy to defraud the others by taking Agnes to London while another woman impersonated her in court and surrendered the Bussy lands. The plan was to split the inheritance, but Bussy backed out at the last minute. In the October following the death of Agnes’s mother, when Agnes was ailing, Sir Walter Mildmay brokered an agreement for the distribution of the property after Agnes’s death. In addition to deciding on her heir, Agnes wished to endow schools. Included was a provision that Brudenell (now Sir Edmund) “banish Kelam’s wife out of his company.”  Brudenell, however, had new plans of his own. He secretly negotiated a deal with Anthony Mears of Kirton, the principal heir to the seven manors Agnes had brought with her when they married. Two days after Agnes died, Sir Edmund purchased the Bussy inheritance from Mears for an undisclosed amount. This was contested by other Bussy relatives and the lawsuits were still ongoing in 1589, well after Sir Edmund himself had died. At one point he was accused of giving her “lewd physic” to shorten her life, but there was no basis for this charge. Some three months passed between the date when Sir Edmund was supposed to have poisoned his wife and her death and in the interim she was well enough to have a company of players come to Deene and perform. After Agnes’s death, Sir Edmund married Audrey Fernley, widow of Anthony Rone of Hounslow, Middlesex. They had one child, a daughter, in 1584. Audrey died soon after. Upon Sir Edmund’s death the following year, the infant inherited an annuity of 100 marks (£55 13s. 4d.) and a marriage portion of £3000. The ghost of Agnes Bussy is said to haunt Deene. Biographies: Joan Ware’s The Brudenells of Deene and Mary E. Finch’s The Wealth of Five Northamptonshire Families, 1540-1640. Portrait: memorial brass.

JANE BUSSY (d.1557+)
Jane or Joan Bussy was the daughter of Sir Miles Bussy of Hougham, Lincolnshire (d.before February 12, 1525/6) and Margery Foljambe and the aunt of Agnes Bussy (above). She married Thomas Mears, Meres, or Meers of Kirton (d. before October 1, 1535). They had two sons, Francis (d. June 24, 1557) and Thomas (d. before 1535). Apparently, a man named Milnes was killed in Jane’s chamber at court and she was attainted for his “surmised murder,” then pardoned by Henry VIII. Her sons’ legitimacy had to be “proven” following the incident. Most sources say that Jane’s husband was disinherited by his father, but do not give a reason. Thomas’s much younger half brother, Anthony Mears, inherited the estate. Some genealogies give Jane a second husband, William Radcliffe. I am hoping to discover more about this “surmised murder.” Another mysterious death in a lady’s chamber at court is associated with Dame Katherine Grey (see KATHERINE SCALES).

According to David Loades in Two Tudor Conspiracies, Catherine Butler was probably the daughter of the Sir John Butler of Woodhall and Watton at Stone, Hertfordshire (c.1511-February 23, 1576) and Griselda Roche (d.1576+). Butler’s house in London was a meeting place for malcontents in 1555. Catherine was questioned on March 20, 1556 concerning her knowledge of what became known as the Dudley Conspiracy. By that date, she had been married to Arthur Throckmorton for some time. They lived in a house in St. Martin’s Ongar, London and Arthur’s brother John, fourth son of William Throckmorton of Tortworth, Gloucestershire, had lived with them since 1549. John had a chamber to himself and it was there that he fomented rebellion. He was convicted of treason on April 21, 1556 and executed at Tyburn on April 28. Catherine, having given her evidence, was apparently released.



ELEANOR BUTLER (1545-1636)
Eleanor Butler was the daughter of Edmund Butler, Lord Dunboyne (d.1567), an Irish peer, and Cecily MacCarthy. Three weeks after Gerald Fitzgerald, earl of Desmond (c.1533-November 11, 1583) buried his first wife in January of 1565, he began his courtship of Eleanor Butler. After their marriage, they were almost immediately embroiled in hostilities with the first countess’s sons by her first marriage (to James Butler, earl of Ormond). Desmond spent the next seven years in English captivity, which Eleanor voluntarily shared. From October 1570 until his release in March 1573, he was in the custody of Sir Warham St. Leger. Eleanor’s son James (June 6, 1570-October 1, 1601) may have been born in St. Leger House, Southwark, although a story in William McFee’s The Life of Sir Martin Frobisher, dated 1571-2, seems more likely in connection with the birth of the son and heir. According to McFee, Desmond was living in London on parole with his pregnant wife and asked Frobisher to smuggle them out so the child would not be born in England. Frobisher, who had lodgings in Lambeth, met the earl at St. Leger House in Southwark. Desmond had also applied at court for a passport for his wife. McFee indicates she was allowed to go home but does not say when. Their other children were Thomas, Catherine, Jane, Ellen, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Ellice. Natalie Mears in “Politics in the Elizabethan Privy Chamber” in Women and Politics in Early Modern England, 1450-1700, edited by James Daybell, credits Eleanor with persuading her husband to agree to English reform in Ireland and resist the rebellion of Fitzmaurice FitzGerald in 1567, and with obtaining the earl’s release in 1573. When they returned to Ireland, their son James was left behind in England to ensure his father’s good behavior. More than six years passed before he was allowed to visit Ireland. He resided with his mother at Askeaton, Limerick, but only for a month. Then she was obliged to hand him over to the English authorities. He was kept in Ireland, a prisoner, until his father’s death, and then sent back to England and housed in the Tower of London. An account of the involvement of both the earl and countess in Irish rebellions can be found in Richard Berleth’s The Twilight Lords, An Irish Chronicle. It ended with Eleanor, a price on her head, surrendering to the English in 1582. After Desmond’s execution, she was resettled near Dublin with her daughters and still resided there, living in poverty, when her son was allowed to return to Ireland in 1600. He died the following year. Eventually, Eleanor was pardoned and pensioned by Queen Elizabeth. She made several visits to London during the latter part of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and the early part of that of King James. Biography: Eleanor, Countess of Desmond by Anne Chambers.





MARGARET BUTLER (1465-1539/40)
Margaret Butler was the younger daughter and coheir of Thomas Butler, 7th earl of Ormond (1424-August 3, 1515) and his first wife, Anne Hankeford (1431-November 13, 1485). I previously had life dates for her of 1458-April 3, 1537, but have altered these and the life dates of some of her children based on the Boleyn genealogy included in Alison Weir’s biography of Mary Boleyn. Before November16, 1469, Margaret married Sir William Boleyn (1447-October 10, 1505). Their children were Anne (November 18, 1474 [Weir says 1478]-October 31, 1479), Anne (c.1475-December 1556), Thomas (1477-March 12, 1539), Amata (Amy/Jane) (c.1485-1543), Alice (1487-November 1, 1538), William (1491-1571), James (1493-1561), Edward (1496-1530), Margaret, John, and Anthony. It was through Margaret that her son, Thomas Boleyn, earl of Wiltshire, claimed the title earl of Ormond in 1529, taking it away from Margaret’s father’s cousin, Piers Butler, in exchange for the title earl of Ossory. Margaret was rarely mentioned in her granddaughters’ biographies until Alison Weir’s Mary Boleyn. Weir supplies the following details: Sir William’s will required Thomas Boleyn to pay his mother 200 marks/year. She lived at Blickling at that time, but went with Thomas and his family to Hever Castle in Kent c.1506. When her father died, Margaret inherited thirty-six manors. As a widow, she could have kept control of them herself but instead allowed Thomas to manage her inheritance. By 1519, she was judged to be insane. She remained at Hever Castle for another twenty years. Her son Thomas’s will left a generous sum for her upkeep and stipulated that she remain there and she was allowed to stay on even after Hever became the property of the Crown. She died between September 30, 1539 and March 20, 1540. Her heir was Thomas’s only surviving child, Mary Boleyn.

Margaret Butler was the daughter of Sir Thomas Boteler (1461-1522) and Margaret Delves. Her first husband was Sir Richard Bold of Bold, Lancashire (d. November 16, 1528), by whom she had Matilda (d. November 10, 1568), Richard (d.1558/9), and Dorothy, and possibly Margaret, Elizabeth, and Robert. Her second husband was Thomas Southworth of Salmesbury, Lancashire. Their children were John (d. November 3, 1595) and Margaret. Her daughter Dorothy Bold married Sir John Holcroft the younger of Holcroft. According to Barbara J. Harris in “Sisterhood, Friendship and the Power of English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550” in Women and Politics in Early Modern England, 1450-1700, edited by James Daybell, the senior Sir John Holcroft (c.1485-1560) accused Margaret, in the Duchy Court of Lancashire, of defrauding Dorothy of her dowry. Harris does not give an outcome.

MARGARET BUTLER (c.1500-June 2, 1575)
Margaret Butler was the daughter of Richard Butler of London and Biddenham, Bedfordshire (c.1475-1515) and Grace Kirton. Her uncle, William Butler, Lord Mayor of London in 1515, left ten marks to “Margaret, my brother Richard’s daughter” in his will and left 40s and a black gown to her first husband, Andrew Fraunces. Margaret married four times but had no children. She married Andrew Francis/Fraunces of London (1495-March 1543) in 1520. His will was dated January 22, 1542 and proved March 9, 1543. In 1544, she wed Robert Chertsey/Charlsey (1498-October 1555), an alderman of London. Her third husband, Sir David Broke (Brooke/Brook) of Horton, Gloucestershire (c.1499-1559/60), was Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. They married in 1557. According to Broke’s will, proved on January 29, 1560, Margaret forsook a “substantial marriage” in order to wed him. In 1561, she became the second wife of Sir Edward North, 1st baron North (c.1496-December 31, 1564). She may have been Lady North in time to serve as her husband’s hostess during Queen Elizabeth’s stay at the Charterhouse from July 10-13, 1561. When North died, he left Margaret jewels, his leasehold property in London, and £500. From her second husband, Margaret had inherited lands in Chertsey, Surrey and property in St. James Garlickhithe, London. The latter was for her life, provided she paid two poor householders in the parish of St. Laurence Jewry 7d./week. When she died, the property was to pass to the Mercers’ Company. In 1566, when Margaret was in her fourth widowhood, members of the Mercers grew, to quote Anne F. Sutton in The Mercery of London, “increasingly concerned about delapidations. ” They threatened to sue. In February 1568, she agreed to turn the property over to them. She proposed to continue paying the 7d/week but asked for an annuity from the Mercers. Sutton reports that they invited her to their next company dinner but did not agree to the annuity. In 1574, Margaret made a new proposal to the Mercers and after some negotiation it was agreed, in April 1575, that the Mercers would pay her an annuity of £40 for life (with reversion to twenty-one of her kinsfolk for their lives) in return for £500 to be given by her estate to fund university scholarships for poor grammar-school scholars. Another part of the agreement with the Mercers was that Margaret be buried in their chapel in the church of St. Laurence Jewry, London. Her will named Robert Halton as executor. On September 13, 1582, administration of Lady North’s will was granted to Jane Drayner Halton, widow of Robert, as “next of kin” to Lady North. Jane was the daughter of Margaret’s first cousin, Elizabeth Butler Drayner of Hoxton, Middlesex.




ELA BUTTRY (d.1546)
Ela Buttry was the prioress of Campsey in 1532. There were many complaints about her stinginess, both from nuns and visitors. Meals were sparing and the food was often unwholesome. As Eileen Power points out in her Medieval English Nunneries, Ela was even stingy in death. Rather than erect her own monument in St. Stephen’s Church, Norwich, she appropriated the brass of a fourteenth century laywoman.




JOAN BYFIELD (d.1485+) (maiden name unknown)
Joan married Robert Byfield (d. March 1482), London ironmonger and merchant of the staple. He was buried on March 27, 1482 and on the 28th his widow “took the mantle and the ring” as a vowess. Her husband left her money and also part of their Water Lane tenement. She was to have the chief chamber, the withdrawing chamber, and the chapel chamber, and have access to the hall, parlor, buttery, kitchen, and cellar, and the right to use the garden both to gather herbs in and “for to walk therein for her consolation and pleasure at all times,” so long as she did not remarry. Sometime in the next three years, Joan brought suit in Chancery against her oldest son William, in which she stated that her late husband had been very rich and that William refused to tell her the extent of the estate, making it impossible for her to determine “what she should ask for her third part.” One of the witnesses in the case was Joan’s younger son, Robert. This story comes from Mary C. Erler, “English Vowed Women at the end of the Middle Ages,” Medieval Studies 57 (1995), 155-203.



MARGARET BYRON (c.1592-September 1619)
Margaret Byron was the daughter of John Byron or Biron or Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire and Clayton, Lancashire (1556-March 7,1623), who was knighted on April 11, 1603, and Margaret Fitzwilliam (March 3, 1559-March 7, 1623). According to Touched with Fire by Kay Readfield Jamison, quoting from Violet Walker, The House of Byron, Margaret’s mother “went out of her mind and never recovered her reason” after bearing five sons and five daughters. A woman “of rare talent and beauty, skilled in the composition of music and poetry,” even “her ravings were more delightful than other women’s most rational conversations.” By the time she was ten, Margaret was a member of the household of Lady Arbella Stuart. She was devoted to her mistress and was a witness to Lady Arbella’s marriage to William Seymour on June 22, 1610. Her brother John (c.1588-September 28, 1625) came and fetched her home after Arbella was imprisoned for the crime of marrying without royal permission. Margaret married Thomas Hutchinson of Owthorpe, Nottinghamshire (September 4,1589-August 18,1643). The marriage license was dated April 11, 1612. They had three sons, John (1615-1664, George, and a third son who died young.



Margaret Bysley was the daughter of John Bysley and Elizabeth London (d.1577+). The so-called abduction of Margaret Bysley was not, in fact, a kidnapping. It appears that when her father died, his executors, William Bysley and John Rede, together with Sir William Barantyne, removed Margaret from her mother’s custody. This was not such an unusual move. Margaret’s mother, however, together with her new husband, Henry Planckney (Plankney/Plankeney) (d.1535), who had been mayor of Calais in 1511, sued the “abductors.” There is no date for these proceedings and although Margaret seems to have been returned to her mother, the case dragged on until after Margaret had married Christopher Planckney, her stepbrother. Christopher wrote a letter about the matter to Lord Cromwell in which he refers to her as “the petitioner’s wife.” Margaret’s mother, meanwhile, seems to have three children by Planckney, Henry (who was old enough to marry in 1545), Margery (d.1545), and Alice (who married before 1551 and made her will in 1577), although the two girls could have been from her first marriage. Elizabeth was living in Calais near her sister, the widowed Margaret Baynham, in April 1545, when her daughter Margery died very suddenly. Elizabeth had a shop there. She remarried at about that time. Her marriage license to wed Adam Copcott was dated April 23, 1545.