see ALICE SUTTON
ANN RADCLIFFE (1576-October 1661)
Ann Radcliffe was the daughter of Anthony Radcliffe of London (d.1603) and Elizabeth Bright. She married Thomas Moulson (c.1568-1638) on December 15, 1600. They owned and operated an inn in London. They had two children but both died young. After her husband’s death, Ann managed her own business for the next twenty-three years. In addition to the inn, she loaned money and invested in import ventures. She was also active in the puritan cause, contributing toward hiring a puritan lecturer in her parish and giving generously to other charities, including a gift of £100 to the fledgling Harvard College in New England. Because of that, it was Ann Radcliffe who was honored by the name Radcliffe College in 1894. She bequeathed nearly £12,000 in her will. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Moulson[née Radcliffe], Ann.”
ANNE RADCLIFFE (c.1533-June 7, 1561)
Anne Radcliffe was the daughter of Robert Radcliffe, 1st earl of Sussex (1483-1542) and his second wife, Margaret Stanley (c.1505-January 1533/4+). On April 10, 1547, Anne married Thomas Wharton (1520-June 14, 1572), later 2nd baron Wharton, although he did not succeed his father until after Anne’s death. Their children were Philip (June 23, 1555-March 26, 1625), Anne (b.1557), Thomas, and Mary (b.1559). Anne was part of the household of Princess (later Queen) Mary before 1552. She is mentioned as such in the 1551 will of one of her fellow gentlewomen, Margaret Pennington Cooke, and also features in an oft-repeated but possibly apocryphal story about Lady Jane Grey. Lady Jane is supposed to have been visiting Princess Mary at Beaulieu when, upon seeing Anne genuflect in the chapel, she made several rude remarks about Catholic practices. This “Lady Anne Wharton” is said to have been a favorite of Mary’s, but she is often misidentified as Anne Talbot, second wife of Anne Radcliffe’s father-in-law. This is impossible because Anne Talbot was Lady Bray during Queen Mary’s reign and did not marry Thomas Wharton’s father until November 1561. That was not only after the death of Queen Mary, but also after the death of Anne Radcliffe. Anne Radcliffe, Lady Wharton was at court in 1558/9.
ANNE RADCLIFFE (d.1603+)
Anne Radcliffe was the daughter and heir of Thomas Radcliffe of Winmarleigh or Wilmerley, Lancashire. She married Sir Gilbert Gerard of Ince, Lancashire and Gerard’s Bromley, Staffordshire (d. February 4, 1593), attorney general of England. They had three sons and four daughters, including Thomas (c.1564-1618), Frances (d.1621), Margaret (1570-July 3, 1603), and Catherine. Anne and two of her daughters were recusants. Gerard’s will, written January 8, 1593 and proved April 6, 1593, left his widow all her jewels, most of the household stuff, and the use of his property in Middlesex provided their son Thomas and his wife wished her to live with them. To his only unmarried daughter, he left a dowry of £1000. Anne was still living in 1603 when her daughter, Margaret Legh, died. In a will made at that time, the widower, Sir Peter Legh, named Anne as guardian for his younger children.
see ANNE BENOLT; ANNE CALTHORPE; ANNE HASTINGS
see BRIDGET MORRISON
see CATHERINE MARNEY
ELEANOR RADCLIFFE (d. July 27, 1518)
Eleanor Radcliffe was the daughter of Geoffrey Radcliffe of Farmesdon (d.1505) and Anne Wyndham. By 1512, she married Sir Thomas Lovell of Elsinge Manor in Enfield, Middlesex (1453-May 25, 1524) as his second wife. They had no children. The Lady Lovell at court during the reign of Henry VII was Lovell’s first wife, Isabel Ros (1451-1508/9), but Eleanor Radcliffe may have been one of Elizabeth of York’s attendants before her marriage. There was also a “Mrs. Ratcliff” in the household of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond, in 1509. The Lady Lovell in Catherine of Aragon’s household was Eleanor. Henry VIII visited Elsinge more often than any other courtier’s house during the first part of his reign. A special suite of six rooms was kept for his use. Queen Margaret of Scotland stayed there in early May 1516, on her way to visit her brother at the English court. Foreign dignitaries and, in August 1520, French hostages, were also housed there.
ELIZABETH RADCLIFFE (May 31, 1594-December 6, 1618)
Elizabeth Radcliffe was the daughter of Robert Radcliffe, 5th earl of Sussex (June 12, 1569-September 22, 1629) and Bridget Morrison (March 1575-December 1623). Her parents separated in 1601and Elizabeth probably went with her mother to live with her maternal grandmother at Cassiobury, Hertfordshire. Elizabeth was married in February 1608/9 to John Ramsay, viscount Haddington (c.1580-1626), one of the king’s favorites. Their nuptials were celebrated at court by a masque in the Banqueting House at Whitehall. “The Hue and Cry after Cupid” was written for the occasion by Ben Jonson with sets and costumes designed by Inigo Jones. Elizabeth bore her husband three children, James (c.1609-February 26, 1618), Bridget (b. c. March1614/15), and Charles (1618-1621). She was buried in Boreham, Essex.
see ELIZABETH HOWARD; ELIZABETH PETRE; ELIZABETH STAFFORD
FRANCES RADCLIFFE (1552-1602)
Frances Radcliffe was the daughter of Henry Radcliffe, 2nd earl of Sussex (c.1506-February 17, 1557) and his second wife, Anne Calthorpe (1509-between August 22, 1579 and March 28, 1582). When Frances was two years old, her father attempted to have her declared illegitimate, having thrown her mother out of his house some years earlier. He was not successful. Although Francis’s father may have been Sir Edmund Knyvett (1509-1551), with whom her mother was accused of having a bigamous marriage, Sussex eventually accepted her as his daughter and left her an income of £20/year and a dowry of £600. Under Queen Elizabeth, Frances came to court as a maid of honor. She was there in January 1562 when Shane O’Neill (c.1530-June 2, 1561), son of the first Earl of Tyrone, came to England to negotiate with the queen for his father’s title. O’Neill was a violent man who had killed members of his own family in his quest for power. He had also been married twice (one wife he divorced and the other was dead) and kept his former father-in-law’s current wife as his mistress. Still, during his time in England, he reportedly asked Queen Elizabeth for a “proper English wife.” According to Violet Wilson’s Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor and Ladies of the Privy Chamber, he specifically wanted to marry Frances but his suit was refused. Wilson goes on to say that at a later date, when Frances visited her half brother in Ireland, O’Neill renewed his courtship and was again turned down. In 1561, Frances’s brother, Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd earl of Sussex, tried to assassinate O’Neill using poison. In 1563, O’Neill married his mistress. In July 1566, Frances married Thomas Mildmay of Moulsham (d.1608) and was the mother of Thomas Mildmay, Baron Fitzwalter (d.1625) and Henry (c.1585-1654). She is said to have had a long association with comedian Richard Tarleton, who praised her learned piety in his dedication to her in Tarleton’s TragicalTreatises (1576).
see FRANCES MEWTAS; FRANCES SIDNEY
see HONORA POUND
see ISABEL HERVEY
KATHERINE RADCLIFFE (c.1551-1621)
Katherine Radcliffe was the daughter of Sir Roger Radcliffe of Tunstall (c.1525-1588) and Dorothy Bigod (c.1529-1552). She was raised at Mulgrave Castle, Yorkshire but in about 1565 moved to Ugthorpe Manor, where she was a practicing Catholic for many years before being prosecuted for her religion. Her first conviction came in 1590. In 1591, Mulgrave Castle was taken by the Crown. In 1592, Katherine was imprisoned in Rotherham Castle and possibly sent to Hull, but she was later released because she was sent back to prison the following year. In 1599, she was a prisoner in York Castle.
see KATHERINE MALLORY
MARGARET RADCLIFFE (January 1573-November 10, 1599)
Margaret Radcliffe was the daughter of Sir John Radcliffe of Ordsall (1536-1590) and Anne Ashawe. She came to court as a maid of honor in the 1590s and there was courted by Lord Cobham’s son, Henry Brooke. Brooke also paid court to Frances Howard, countess of Kildare, and Elizabeth Russell, another maid of honor. When news came in August 1599 that Margaret’s twin brother, Alexander, had been killed in battle in Ireland, Margaret was inconsolable. She returned to Ordsall, where she pined away, refusing to eat. Advised of her maid of honor’s condition, Queen Elizabeth ordered Margaret back to court, which was then at Richmond, but her decline continued and it was there that she died. The queen ordered an autopsy (an unusual step in those days). According to a letter written by Philip Gaudy, Margaret’s body proved “all well and sound, saving certain strings striped all over her heart.” She was buried in St. Margaret’s, Westminster. There was a magnificent monument, which no longer exists. Ben Jonson composed the epitaph—not one of his better efforts—which includes the line “rare as wonder was her wit and like nectar ever flowing.” Portrait: called “a lady in court dress” and still extant at Ordsall, this may or may not be Margaret, but the clothing is correct for the 1590s.
see MARGARET WHETEHILL
MARY RADCLIFFE (1476-by April 1512)
Mary Radcliffe was the daughter of John Radcliffe, 1st baron Fitzwalter (d. November 24, 1496) and Margaret Whetehill (1446-1518+). She is probably the Mary Radcliffe in Elizabeth of York’s household. Before February 12, 1493, she married Sir Edward Darrell of Littlecote (d. March 9, 1528/9) as his second wife. His children all seem to have been the offspring of his first wife. In June 1509, the king sent a messenger to “Mary, Lady Darell,” probably to call her into service at court. If her date of death is correct, Mary was not the Lady Darrell at court in January 1518.
MARY RADCLIFFE (1550-July 1618)
Mary Radcliffe was the daughter of Sir Humphrey Radcliffe of Elstow (c.1509-August 13, 1566) and Isabella Hervey or Harvey (d. May 8, 1594). She was given to the queen as a New Year’s gift in 1561 and actually came to court as a maid of honor in 1564 at the age of fourteen. She spent the rest of the reign at court, earning a stipend of £40 a year as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber (1570) and as a lady of the bedchamber and keeper of the queen’s jewels (1580). Tracy Borman, in Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen, states that Mary was “something of a beauty” and names John Farnham as one of her admirers. The description of her as “comely” by Farnham, however, does not really imply physical attractiveness, and her portrait gives a rather different impression, being one of the plainest of any maid of honor of the era. Whatever her appearance, she never married. One account says she was 73 at the time of her death, which would give a birth date of 1545. Biographies: Oxford DNB entry under “Radcliffe, Mary”; a brief account of her life is also given in Eunice H. Turner’s “Queen Elizabeth and her Friends” in History Today, September 1965.
MARY RADCLIFFE (d. 1653)
Mary Radcliffe was the daughter of Sir John Radcliffe of Ordsall, Lancashire (1581-October 29, 1627) and Alice Byron. On June 20, 1622, she married Sir John Stanhope of Elvaston, Derbyshire (1591-May 29, 1638), by whom she had a son, John (1630-March 26, 1662). In December 1647 she married Sir John Gell of Hopton(June 22, 1593-1671) as his second wife. Gell had previously, as described in Mary’s petition to Parliament, hounded her first husband for payment of ship money. This marriage lasted less than a year and the couple separated in 1648. A pair of shoes, believed to have been worn by Mary, went up for auction in London in 1994 and sold for £12,100. They were described in the catalog as “a pair of shoes of blue velvet densely embroidered in silver and gilt metal threads with flower stems, with blue silk finding, with narrow square toe, with white kid rands, and leater covered 2 ¼ in. heel, lined in white kid, circa 1640.” Portrait: by William Larkin.
see MARY ARUNDELL
see ANNE WOODHOUSE
see ELIZABETH HEYWOOD
see DOROTHY WROUGHTON
see ELIZABETH THROCKMORTON
see KATHERINE CHAMPERNOWNE
RENÉE RALLAY (d.1587+)
Renée Rallay was the daughter of Madam Rallay, chamberwoman to Mary queen of Scots in 1555. Madam Rallay returned to France c.1567/8 but on December 13, 1574 Mary wrote a letter asking for her and her daughter to come to her in England to help her “invent and work novelties” (designs for her needlework). There was some suspicion that this was a plot to communicate with her allies, since the emblems used in needlework often had hidden meanings, but by February 1577, Mary got her wish. Renée is referred to as both Mademoiselle de Rallay and Mademoiselle de Beauregard in records of the household, which may indicate that she had married a man named Beauregard. Mary mentions that she has “lost” Ralley in a letter written on September 6, 1585, but it is unclear whether she meant Madam Rallay had died or simply that she had returned to France. Renée was still in England. She was listed as a genlewoman of the chamber in July 1586 and bore Mary’s train at her trial in 1587. After Mary was executed her ladies were held at Fotheringay until July 30, when they were taken to Peterborough Cathedral for Mary’s funeral. It was September before they were finally released and allowed to leave England. Renée appears to have returned to France.
see MARGARET HARLESTONE
see ELIZABETH RADCLIFFE
see MARY DALE
AGNES RANDALL (1521-April 22, 1605)
Agnes was from Coventry and was in service with Sir Thomas Lucy at Charlecote, Warwickshire when she married his son’s tutor, John Foxe (1516-April 18, 1587) on February 3, 1547. It has been said that Agnes’s father helped him attend Oxford. Shortly after the marriage, Foxe became the tutor of the duchess of Richmond’s wards, the children of the executed earl of Surrey. In 1554, however, with the accession of the Catholic queen, Mary Tudor, he was forced to flee into exile because of his religious beliefs. Agnes was pregnant at the time but she left the country with him and their daughter was born in Flanders. Foxe gained fame with the publication of his Acts and Monuments, better known as the Book of Martyrs. Their other children were Samuel (1560-1630), Rafe, Mary, Thomas (1564-1625), and Simon (1568-1642). Biography: see John Foxe by Warren W. Wooden for more information on Agnes.
ELIZABETH RANDOLPH (d.1596+)
Elizabeth Randolph was the daughter of Thomas Randolph (1523-1590) and his second wife, Ursula Coppinger (d.1596+). On May 28, 1596, she eloped with her cousin, Francis Coppinger (c.1579-1526+). Details can be found online in “Francis Coppinger’s Secret Marriage” by Mary Partridge, University of Birmingham. Although this clandestine marriage should have been unbreakable once it was consummated, Coppinger’s powerful grandfather, Lord Cobham, managed to have it annulled.
ELIZABETH RASTELL (d.1593)
Elizabeth Rastell was the daughter and coheir of John Rastell (d.1536+ ) and the great niece of Sir Thomas More. She married Robert Lougher of Tenby, Pembrokeshire (d. June 1585), who held various ecclesiastical and academic appointments during his lifetime. They had three sons, John (d.1636), Thomas, and Robert, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Jane, and Lettice. Elizabeth’s sister and coheir, Anne Rastell (d.1586+) married Dr. Griffith Lloyd (d.1586) and had one daughter. Elizabeth was left a substantial fortune by her husband, although it was not actually released to her until c. 1592. As a widow, she received the unwelcome advances of a suitor, Rhys Morgan, who claimed they had been betrothed before her marriage to Rastell. When he tried to force her to marry him she appealed to the Star Chamber to put an end to his harassment.
see ELIZABETH MORE
JOAN RASTELL (c.1500-1574)
Joan Rastell was the daughter of John Rastell of London (c.1475-1536), a printer, and Elizabeth More (September 12, 1482-1538), sister of Sir Thomas More. According to an article on Dame Margery Astry (see MARGERY HILL), Joan married Margery’s son, John Revell, in around 1516 and they moved in with his mother in St. James Garlickhithe, London. Other sources give Joan a birthdate of 1504, but this would make her only twelve when she married. In September 1517, John and Joan Revell journeyed to Otham, Kent “to take . . . recreation for a weke or two,” but during that trip Revell contracted the plague and died. When Joan sent word to his mother in London, Margery acted quickly to seize her son’s possessions, including money, plate, and jewels—all in all worth over £1000. In 1497, his share of his father’s estate had been reckoned at £573 10s. 4d. As his childless widow, Joan would have expected to receive the bulk of her late husband’s goods and property and she had been granted the administration of his estate (another indication that she was older than thirteen in 1517), but her mother-in-law refused to release what she had confiscated. Furthermore, she would no longer allow Joan to live in her house. When Joan married Richard Pynson (d. June 1520), they brought suit against Margery. They were backed up by Joan’s father but the case was still pending when Pynson died. They had one child, Joan. On June 28, 1520, Joan requested the administration of her late husband’s goods. His estate was valued at £23 1s. 2½ d. in October of that year. On December 21, 1520, Joan’s father persuaded Richard Pynson the elder, Joan’s father-in-law, to sign a document that provided for Joan and her daughter by giving them the profits from lands in Stewardstonebury, Essex, the lease of property in Tottenham after the deaths of Pynson and his second wife, and the promise to make no objection to Joan obtaining new leases for the George in Fleet Street. In 1521, Joan filed a new suit in Chancery against Dame Margery Astry over her first husband’s estate. She was represented by her father but no outcome is known. Dame Margery died in 1523. The Pynsons, father and son, were printers and there is some indication that Joan continued her husband’s business. In 1523, John Heywood, later of North Mimms, Hertfordshire, and Hinxhill, Kent (1496/7-1578) was made free of the Stationer’s Company and it is likely that was because he had just married Joan. That same year, he earned £26 13s. 4d. as a virginals player at court. He was also a playwright. The Heywoods lived in St. Bride’s parish. After the death of her former father-in-law’s wife on November 21, 1528, Joan and Heywood negotiated a new lease for the George, to go into effect one year after RichardPynson’s death. When Pynson took exception to this, Joan’s father brought suit in the King’s Bench, charging that Pynson had violated the agreement of 1520. The judge was Sir John More, Joan’s grandfather. He awarded his son-in-law the £40 penalty specified in the agreement and 40s in court costs but for damages awarded him only a penny. Having lost the case, Pynson felt he had no further obligations to his former daughter-in-law and when he made his will four weeks later, he made no mention of her. He did leave £10 to his granddaughter, Joan Pynson, to be paid to her when she was sixteen. He probably died shortly before December 17, 1529. In 1530, John Heywood left the Stationers for the Mercers. He and his wife acquired tenements in the parish of St. Peter Westcheap. In 1536-39, he was working as a musician and player. In 1543, he was imprisoned, accused of plotting against Thomas Cranmer, but was pardoned. Their children were Ellis (1530-October 1578) and Jasper (1535-1598), both of whom joined the Jesuit order, Elizabeth (d. 1577+), Joan (d. 1574) and a second Elizabeth (d.1632), who was the mother of poet John Donne. In July 1564, Joan and her husband went abroad to Antwerp and elsewhere. The last mention of her husband was at Louvain in May 1578. Joan died in Malines.
see WINIFRED CLEMENT
ANNE RAWLEY (d.1560+)
Anne Rawley was the daughter of John Rawley of Billesby, Northamptionshire. She married William Owen (c.1535-1560+) and may have been the Mrs. Owen living in a part of the house called Cumnor Place in 1560, although some sources say he married Ursula Fettiplace, daughter of Alexander Fettiplace of Swinbrook (1503-September 12, 1564) and Anne Dale, in 1558. Cumnor Place belonged to William Owen and was leased to Anthony Forster (c.1510-1572), one of Robert Dudley’s servants. It appears to have been a large establishment with room for separate quarters for three ladies in addition to Forster and his wife and children. One “apartment” was occupied by Mrs. Owen, identified in some accounts as William Owen’s stepmother, Mary, the second wife and widow of George Owen (c.1499-October 18, 1558), the royal physician. The Oxford DNB entry for “Owen, George,” however, identifies the occupants of Cumnor Place in 1560 as William Owen and his wife, Anne Rawley. Another tenant was Amye Robsart, Lady Dudley. She fell to her death down a flight of stairs, sparking centuries of controversy over whether or not she was murdered. See the entry under AMYE ROBSART for more details.
see ELEANOR HERBERT
ANNE RAWSON (1513-February 20, 1587/8)
Anne Rawson was the daughter of Nicholas Rawson of Aveley, Essex and Gressenhall, Norfolk (1475-1529) and Beatrice Cooke (1478-January 14, 1554). In 1532, she married Sir Michael Stanhope of Shelford and Elvaston, Nottinghamshire (1502-x. February 26, 1552) and was the mother of Thomas (1532-August 3, 1596), Jane (1536-January 3, 1618), Edward (1538-1603), John (1545-March 9, 1621), another Edward (February 26, 1547-March 16, 1608), Michael (1548-1625), Eleanor, Juliana, and three others (Margaret, Edward, and William), who died young. She was allowed to remain in her home, Shelford Priory, Nottinghamshire, after her husband’s attainder and her household there had a reputation for piety and hospitality. Her mother lived with her until her death. There is a monument to Lady Stanhope in St. Peter and St. Paul, Shelford.
see ELIZABETH LAW
see MARY BEAUMONT
see ANNE PERCY
see ANNE FERNLEY
BRIDGET READ (1487-1558)
Bridget Read, sometimes called Katherine Read, was the daughter of Sir Robert Read of Horstal, Kent (d. January 8, 1518/19) and Margaret Alphew/Alphege. Around 1510, she married Sir Thomas Willoughby of Bore Place, Chiddingstone, Kent (d. September 28, 1545). Their children were Henry, Robert, Christopher (1513-January 11, 1586), Mary, and Elizabeth (c.1516-April 10, 1580). She constructed a monument to herself and her late husband.
see GERTRUDE PASTON
see ALICE BENTLEY
ANNE REDE (c.1510-January 5, 1585)
Anne Rede was the daughter of Sir William Rede, Read, or Reade of Boarstall, Buckinghamshire (1470-1527) and Anne Warham. The list of ladies attending on Princess Mary in December 1526 includes the name Anne Rede. It was there she met her first husband, Sir Giles Greville or Grevill of Wick, Worcestershire (d. April 1, 1528), controller of the household. Two letters are extant that refer to the courtship, the first from Margaret, countess of Salisbury, governess of the Princess Mary, to Lady Rede. Written from Worcester on August 20, 1526, it refers to the interest the comptroller has in her daughter and does not sound entirely approving of the romance. The second letter is from Lady Rede to Mr. Henry Golde, chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury. Written from Knole on April 8, 1527, it announces that “the matter betwixt Sir Giles Bryvel (sic) and my daughter is driven almost into conclusion.” Barbara J. Harris, in “Women and Politics in Early Tudor England,” reveals that Sir Giles grew so frustrated with Lady Rede’s demands concerning her daughter’s jointure that he threatened to break off negotiations. In about 1530, Anne married Sir Adrian Fortescue (c.1481-x. July 9,1539). He was engaged in a long-running dispute over land with the family of his first wife, Anne Stonor (c.1484-June 14, 1518). On one occasion, according to later testimony before the Star Chamber, a party led by Sir Walter Stonor attacked Stonor Manor and dragged Anne Rede, who was pregnant, out of her chamber. Anne and Fortescue contested the inheritance of one of Sir Giles Greville’s manors by his daughter from an earlier marriage. In 1532, Fortescue joined the knights of St. John of Jerusalem, an order that was abolished by Parliament in 1534/5. In August 1534, for refusing to take the Oath of Succession, he was imprisoned in the Marshalsea. The family was based at Brightwell Baldwin in Oxfordshire when, in February 1539, for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, Sir Adrian was arrested again and this time charged with “sedition and refusing allegiance” and beheaded. He was beatified in 1895. By Fortescue, Anne was the mother of John (1533-December 23, 1607), Thomas (May 13, 1534-1611), Anthony (c.1535-c.1611), Elizabeth (d.1602), and Mary. In about 1540, she married Sir Thomas Parry of Hampstead Marshall and Welford, Berkshire (c.1505-December 15, 1560). According to The History of Parliament, the marriage was troubled. In August 1540, the Bishop of London set up a commission to investigate Parry’s complaint that his wife had left him. They were reconciled and eventually had two sons and three daughters: Thomas (1544-1616), Edward, Anne, Frances, and Muriel (d.1616). In October 1542, Anne was granted 1,500 sheep in Gloucestershire and other goods confiscated from her second husband. Thomas Parry had entered the service of Princess Elizabeth by 1548, when he was her cofferer. He was arrested in 1549 because of his knowledge of the activities of Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour but later released. The Parrys lived at Wallingford, Berkshire and at Welford Park, Berkshire. Anne was in the household of Elizabeth Tudor before she became queen, but on September 30, 1553, she was in attendance on Queen Mary. Mary granted her Pannington, Gotherington, Tredington, Washbourne, and Hamstead in Gloucestershire. Under Queen Elizabeth, Anne Parry was a lady of the privy chamber. When she retired from the court in 1566, she received an annuity and more land in Gloucestershire. Portrait: alabaster effigy on her tomb in Welford, Berkshire, erected by her son Thomas.
see ANNE CURSONNE; ANNE DONNE
AGNES REDMAN (d.1604+)
Agnes Redman was the daughter of William Redman of St. Swithin’s, London. By a marriage license dated January 28, 1579/80, Agnes married attorney Richard Kitchen of Clifford’s Inn (c.1559-1604). Agnes inherited goods from her father in a will dated January 16, 1586/7 and when her husband died she was left all his goods and chattels and a house in Skipton in Craven in the West Riding of Yorkshire, with the reversion to Abel Kitchen of Bristol. She was named executrix. They had no children. It was a different Agnes Kitchen, widow of Gabriel Kitchen of Skipton (d.1591) who died in 1613/14 at the age of about 102. That Agnes Kitchen was the mother of Gabriel (d.1603), Elizabeth, Christopher, Abel, and Thomas (d. before 1591).
see ELIZABETH PICKERING
see MARY BRANDON
see CATHERINE GREVILLE
JOAN REGENT (d.1509/10) (maiden name unknown)
Joan married William Regent, a merchant who was mayor of Bristol in 1495. They had one daughter, Agnes (d.1524), who became a nun at Syon, where she was a boarder as early as 1504/5. After her husband died, Joan appears to have become a vowess. She was probably living at St. Mark’s hospital, Bristol at the time of her death. Notes in her hand appear in the margin of a copy of Vitas Patrum, at the opening of Jerome’s life of Paula, a noble Roman widow. The signature of her daughter is also found in that book. In her will, Joan left plate and linen to Agnes.
JANE REHORA or REHOVA
see JANE van KETHULLE
ELIZABETH REIGNOLDES (d.1599+) (maiden name unknown)
Elizabeth was the young wife of Edmond Reignoldes, an elderly saddler in the Old Bailey. She turned to prostitution in about 1599, working first for Mrs. Agnes Wilkinson, then for Mrs. Cesar, both of whom she had met while incarcerated in Bridewell, and finally went to Mrs. Anne Miller’s establishment in Chick Lane, where she began work around Easter, April 11, 1599. During her time there her best customer was John Cotton, a gentleman in the service of the Lord Chamberlain, who had been made a groom of the wardrobe in 1597. Most clients were charged between 5s. and 10s., but each visit cost Cotton £1, half of which (10s.) went to Elizabeth and half to Mrs. Miller. Elizabeth went to plays with Cotton and, in the hope of attracting more custom, dressed well above her station. After her arrest, an inventory of her apparel was drawn up for the governors of Bridewell. Most of the clothing had come from Mrs. Miller, but Elizabeth had bought one gown of her own for £2 2s. The examination of Elizabeth Reignoldes on August 15, 1599, covers the details of her profession, from methods of contraception to differences in fees charged at the three houses she worked in (Mrs. Cesar only took 25% of Elizabeth’s earnings). She was released on October 1, 1599 and allowed to go home, where her elderly husband appears to have taken her back. Biography: 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.
KATHERINE REINOLDS (d.1565+)
Katherine Reinolds’ first husband was Thomas Warneford of Highworth, Wiltshire (d. 1539). He is said to have gained no property through his marriage to her. At that time, he tried to break the entail on his property to prevent their future children from inheriting before their mother’s death. Their son John was born in 1522. According to “Star Chamber Suits of John and Thomas Warneford,” edited by F. E. Warneford, in Wiltshire Record Society, Vol XLVIII (1992) Thomas had second thoughts when a marriage between John and Susan Yate of Lyford (1525-1583) was proposed and he was unable to provide a marriage settlement. Thomas left a will dated June 30, 1539. Katherine remarried shortly thereafter. Her second husband was Christopher Ashton of Fyfield, Berkshire (d.1561+), who had previously been married to Lady Catherine Gordon. Almost immediately, her son John brought suit against his mother and stepfather over his inheritance. He appears to have won the case, since he subsequently settled an estate on his mother and Ashton for the term of her life. This consisted of over 1800 acres at an annual rent of £22. In 1556, when Ashton became involved in a plot to overthrow Queen Mary, his goods were confiscated. They were given to Walter Loveden, who had initially been in on the plot with Ashton but who was pardoned on February 10, 1557, probably for turning state’s evidence. In 1565, by which time Katherine was married to her third husband, Robert Temple, she brought a bill of complaint against Loveden in an attempt to recover some of the Ashton property. The date of her death is not known.
see JEANNE LULLIER
see ANNE WOTTON
see ELIZABETH HOLLAND
ELIZABETH RERESBY (1568-1614/15)
Elizabeth Reresby was the daughter of Lionel Reresby of Thribergh, Yorkshire and Anne Swift. She was the second wife of Francis Copledike of Harrington, Lincolnshire (d. December 29, 1599). Her two children, John and Anne, died young. She was a patroness of the rectories of Harrington and Aswarby. Portrait: effigy in Harrington, Lincolnshire.
see ALICE DENSELL
see ALICE WILKES
JANE RESTWOLD (d.1585+)
Jane Restwold was the daughter of Edward Restwold of The Vache, Buckinghamshire (d. July 24, 1547) and Agnes Cheyne (d.1552+), who were married in 1512. Agnes married her second husband, Thomas Waterton (d.1558) in 1549. Jane was one of six sisters and a coheir of her childless brother. Her first husband was Sir Francis Hastings of Fernwick, Buckinghamshire, to whom she was married on December 20, 1545 in Lincoln. Some accounts give his seat as Fenwick Manor, Campsall, Yorkshire and his date of death as September 1589, but the latter is clearly impossible since Jane was married to her second husband, Robert Lee of Hatfield, Yorkshire (c.1533-1598), by the time of her brother’s death in 1560. The History of Parliament entry for Lee gives the Fernwick location and states that Lee was a country gentleman who succeeded Hastings as keeper of the game in Hatfield Chase by 1570. Online genealogies give Jane two daughters by Hastings, Jane (who married Edmund Eltofles) and Bridget (who married Robert Swift), and one daughter, Barbara (d. before 1598), by Lee. By 1585, Jane had separated from Lee and complained to the queen “both of his hard usage of her whilst she lived with him and of her miserable estate since she left him, being destitute in all things.” Lee offered her an allowance equal to half the rent from lands in her possession at the time of their marriage.
see AGNES WALTER
JOAN REVELLsee JOAN RASTELL
see MARGERY HILL
ISABEL REYNARD (d.1539+)
Isabel Reynard was the daughter and coheir of John Reynard. She married Thomas Gilbert (d.1529) and was the mother of Otho or Otes Gilbert (d.1547), another son, and a daughter named Joan (d.1539+). Through her marriage to Thomas Gilbert, she was the aunt of Honor Grenville, Lady Bassett and in 1526 loaned that lady some money. Apparently, it was slowly being repaid over the course of the next eleven years, during which time Honor remarried and became Lady Lisle, but in 1537 payments stopped. Two letters from Isabel to Honor are included in The Lisle Letters, both of them appeals for Lady Lisle to instruct her bailiff to pay Isabel the money she was owed. The situation was somewhat desperate. In the first, written from Tresorrow, Cornwall on August 1, 1539, Isabel writes: “pleaseth it you to remember me your poor woman in this my great need with the residue of the money which remaineth in your ladyship’s hands to me due. It is now ij years since I had any of your good ladyship, and since that time it hath cost me above iij hundred marks for the marriage of my daughter, what for her marriage money, the dinner, her apparel and her going up and down to London, and yet remaineth a hundred marks to pay, and the day of payment is expired, and he sayeth if I pay him not of half before Michaelmas and the whole residue before Christmas he will sue me to the extremity, which undoubtedly I cannot do unless my creditors help me.” Apparently, in trying to raise the money, she had incurred other debts, for later in the same letter she writes “I am for a small debt sued to the outlawry.” In the second letter, written on October 10, 1539 from Greenway, Churston Ferrers, Devonshire, she writes: “I am troubled and vexed in the law for my late debts, and . . . shall be outlawed before Christmas, if I end not with him, and also pay his costs.” She does not give a name to this “him” but he is clearly a different creditor than her son-in-law’s father, Humphrey Prideaux. Of him, she writes: “Master Prideaux will or hath begun an action against me for the hundred marks unpaid.” She continues: “I have foreborneyour good ladyship as long as my power would stretch. It is ij years sithen I had any penny of your ladyship . . . if that your good ladyship help me not I am liken to fall in the danger of the law, and also in slander that I cannot pay my debts, which will grieve me and those that be my loving friends.” As is unfortunately so often the case, we do not know how Isabel’s troubles were resolved.
see FRANCES AYLWORTH
see LUCY BRANDON
ELIZABETH REYNER (d.1612)
Elizabeth Reyner was the daughter of Sir William Reyner (Rayner/Raynor) of Orton Longueville, Huntingdonshire (1525-1606). Her mother’s name is unknown. After October 1586, Elizabeth married Henry Talbot of Burton Abbey, Yorkshire (1563-January 1596), youngest son of George Talbot, 6th earl of Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury stayed at Orton Longueville, sixteen miles from Fotheringay, during the trial of Mary Queen of Scots. Elizabeth had two daughters, Gertrude (c.1588-1649) and Mary (c.1595-March 6, 1674/5). In his will, Talbot left Elizabeth two parts of his land until their younger daughter should be eighteen years old and, thereafter, one part. She was also his executrix. Her second husband, as his second wife, was Thomas Holcroft of Vale Royal, Cheshire (1557-1620). In 1598, Holcroft entered into a dispute with Gilbert Talbot, 7th earl of Shrewsbury, over the terms of Henry Talbot’s will and the wardship of his daughters. On June 19, 1606, at the age of eighty, Elizabeth’s father married the widowed Mary (née Beaumont), Lady Villiers. He died less than five months later. His will, dated October 27, 1606, was proved November 13, 1606.
MARGARET REYNOLD (d.1528) (maiden name unknown)
Margaret was the wife of John Reynold (d.1492), a wealthy mercer. When he died, she received a third of his estate, £1000, and their six children each received 250 marks. She also had the responsibility of carrying out her husband’s charitable bequests. The children were Richard (d.1543), Ralph, Ellen, Jane, Margaret, and Mary. Anne F. Sutton, in The Mercery of London, speculates that Margaret was a silkwoman, since she appears to have had apprentices of her own and in her will (proved November 27, 1528) left her “frames” to her servant, Ellen. Her daughter-in-law, Blanche, wife of Richard Reynold, may also have been a silkwoman.
see BLANCHE STANNEY
see MARY VERNEY
AGNES RHYS (d. August 19, 1574)
Agnes Rhys was the daughter of Sir Rhys ap Griffith of Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire (c.1505-x.January 4,1531) and Katherine Howard (1508-1554). She was raised in the household of her grandmother, Agnes, dowager duchess of Norfolk, along with her two sisters. She became the mistress of William Stourton, 7th baron Stourton(1484-September 16, 1548) and lived with him after his separation from his wife, Elizabeth Dudley. In a chancery case in 1553, Agnes claimed they had been married in January 1547 in the chapel at Stourton House, but if so, it was a bigamous marriage since Lady Stourton was still living. Agnes traveled with Stourton and persuaded him to give her mother a house at Stourton Caundle. They had a daughter, Mary. Stourton left Agnes most of his goods and chattels, as well as a sum of money owed to him at the time of his death. Agnes then removed jewels, plate, and cash from his house in Lambeth, Surrey and took up residence in Stourton House, refusing to be evicted by Stourton’s heir, Charles. According to John Bellamy’s Strange, Inhuman Deaths: Murder in Tudor England, Agnes “locked the gates and placed servants to guard them with bows, guns, and other weapons. She kept charge of the gates herself and allowed into the manor house only the sheriff, his servants, and her ally, [William] Hartgill.” Further, she took possession of some of the livestock at Stourton, in spite of the objections of Charles’s wife. It was 1550 before Charles could remove her from Stourton House. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to get her to return the jewels and plate. The estate was finally settled in 1557, after Charles was executed for murder. Meanwhile, around 1553, Agnes married Sir Edward Baynton (c.1520-1593), by whom she had thirteen children, including William (d.1564), Henry (1571-1616), Anne (d.1587), Margaret (d. yng), and Elizabeth (d.1593+). In 1564, William Baynton, while still an infant, was allegedly murdered by witchcraft. There were charges and counter charges but the gist of the story is that Dorothy Mantill or Mantell, wife of Sir Edward’s brother Henry, enticed Agnes Mills or Mylles to bewitch the child, thinking that by his death her husband would inherit. Agnes Mills was hanged for the crime but in spite of proceedings in Chancery the following year, Dorothy does not seem to have been prosecuted. Confusing the issue was the testimony of Jane Marshe, who at first supported the accusation against Dorothy and then, fearing she would never be let out of prison if she did not change her story, accused Edward and Agnes of bribing her to accuse Dorothy. Jane’s fate, too, is unknown. One further bit of confusion is caused by the fact that Sir Edward Baynton had two brothers named Henry. The younger, actually his half brother, was not implicated in the murder. Portrait: memorial brass at Bromham, Wiltshire, which she shares with her husband and his second wife, Anne Packington (d.1578).
see BARBARA FULLER
BEATRICE ap RICE (d.1558+) (maiden name unknown)
Beatrice was the wife of David ap Rice/Rhys (d.1540+), a groom or yeoman of the chamber in Princess Mary’s household prior to 1525. Beatrice became Mary’s laundress in 1519 and was still with her when her household was dissolved in October 1533. She also held this post when Mary was queen.
see ANNE WENTWORTH
see ELIZABETH JENKS
see FRANCES WRAY
see KATHERINE KNYVETT
see PENELOPE DEVEREUX
WINIFRED RICH (d. November 1578+)
Winifred Rich was one of the ten daughters of Richard Rich of West Smithfield, Middlesex and Rochford and Leez, Essex (1496/7-June 12, 1567) and Elizabeth Jenks (1510-December 16, 1558). Her father was created baron Rich in 1547, by which time Winifred is said to have been the widow of Sir Henry Dudley. This Sir Henry is the subject of some confusion. Some genealogies and the Oxford DNB entry for her second husband make him the eldest son of John Dudley (later duke of Northumberland; created Viscount Lisle in 1542). It seems unlikely to me that the heir to a viscount would have been married to a girl who was only one of so many siblings, especially given their ages. This same Oxford DNB entry specifies that she was Rich’s sixth daughter. Henry Dudley (1525-1544) was only nineteen when he died. Winifred was at least ten years younger, since her parents, according to the Oxford DNB entry for Rich, did not marry until c.1535. If she was indeed the sixth daughter, she could not have been more than a baby in1544. Moreover, Northumberland biographers fail to make any family connection between the two fathers. Some online genealogies mistakenly have Winifred married to the second Northumberland son named Henry (d.1557), but he still living after the date of her second marriage and his own marriage to Margaret Audley is well documented. Whatever Sir Henry Dudley Winifred married, it indeed there was a marriage and not just talk of a betrothal, he had died by c.1547 when she wed Sir Roger North of Kirtling, Cambridgeshire and Mildenhall Suffolk (February 27, 1531-December 3, 1600). They had four children, Thomas (d. yng), John (1551-June 5, 1597), Henry (December 28, 1556-November 20, 1620), and Mary. In 1564, North succeeded his father to become the 2nd baron North of Kirtling. In the late summer of 1578, the queen spent two days with Lord and Lady North at a cost to them of £762. Lady North was still living that November but appears to have died soon after.
ISABEL RICHARD (d.1588) (maiden name unknown)
Isabel “Richard” is the name usually given to the first wife of explorer/pirate Martin Frobisher (c.1535-November 22, 1594), but there is a great deal of misinformation about her on the web, not only in her name but in her life dates. She married Thomas Rigatt (Riggat/Rickard/Richard) of Snaith, Yorkshire and London, by whom she had at least three children. She was left comfortably well off and continued to live in Blackfriars, where she had been, by her own account, since 1554, as “maid, widow and wife.” Although most sources, including the Oxford DNB, give the date and place of her marriage to Martin Frobisher as September 30, 1559 in Snaith, her own account makes the date 1569 in Walbrook, London. This makes more sense, as Frobisher was on a voyage to Barbery in 1559. In 1565-6, he was in prison for piracy and he was again arrested in July or August 1569 and held in the Fleet and then the Marshalsea until March 1570. The sites that have Isabel dead and Frobisher married to his second wife by 1564 are in error. He did not remarry until 1590 or 91. By the mid-1570s, he had gone through Isabel’s inheritance and abandoned her and her children. She was reduced to living “in a poor room within another at Hampstead near unto London.” and was “ready to starve.” This information comes from two petitions for redress, one undated and sent to Sir Francis Walsingham and the other dated 1574 but unsigned. Both warn of conspiracies and other illegal dealings Frobisher was involved in and may be found in their entirety at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com. Isabel does not appear to have received any help. She died in a poorhouse. Although one source says she and Frobisher had three children, it is more likely that these were her children from her first marriage.
JANE RICHARDS (d.1586+)
Jane Richards was an Englishwoman living in St. Stephen Walbrook, London. On July 18, 1564 she married Eliseus or Eligius Bomelius (c.1530-1579), also known as Elijah Bomel and Dr. Elisei, a native of Westphalia who had come to England in 1558 to study medicine at Cambridge. His sponsor was Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, who had been in exile with her second husband, Richard Bertie during the reign of Mary Tudor, and had given birth to their son, Peregrine in Wesel in October 1555. It was Eliseus’s father, Henry Bomelius who baptized Peregrine. Eliseus worked in London as a physician and astronomer, living for a time in 1567 in Lord Lumley’s London residence near Tower Hill and later in the parish of St. Michael-le-Querne, but he neglected to follow the regulations of the College of Physicians and was arrested in 1567 for practicing without a license. He was first imprisoned in the Wood Street Compter but by Easter 1570, was an “open prisoner” of the King’s Bench. Jane appealed for help to Sir William Cecil, who was already acquainted with her husband, for help and appeared before the censor’s committee of the College of Physicians to petition for his freedom. Having decided that London was no longer welcoming, Eliseus made arrangements to accompany the departing Russian ambassador to Moscow, taking Jane with him. They arrived late in 1570. There he served Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible) as a magician and physician and held a post in the household of the tzar’s son. He cast horoscopes, concocted poisons, and accumulated a fortune. In 1575, however, he was caught trying to sneak into Riga (controlled by the Tzar’s enemies, the Polish) in disguise. Under torture he admitted to all sorts of crimes against Russia. He died in prison. Jane, who had been left behind in Moscow in 1575, was not permitted to return to England until Queen Elizabeth interceded on her behalf in 1583. It is uncertain when she left, but it was certainly no later than May 1584, when Sir Jerome Bowes, the departing English ambassador, sailed home. On October 28, 1586, a marriage license was issued to Jane, widow of Eliseus Bomelius, and Thomas Wennington, gentleman, of St. Margaret Pattens, London.
ISABELLA RICHARDSON (1552-November 25, 1652)
Isabella Richardson’s parentage is unknown. She married Gerard Corby or Corbie of Durham (1558-September 18, 1637) in about 1585. In 1598, they left England for Ireland, where they were in the service of the countess of Kildare. Their son Ralph (March 25, 1598-1644) was born in Maynooth, Kildare. Their other children were Ambrose (December 25, 1604-1649), Robert, Richard, Mary and Catherine. The family returned to England in 1603, but the situation of Catholics there was no better and they soon left again, this time for Belgium. This family’s devotion to their faith cannot be questioned. All four sons studied for the priesthood and three became Jesuit priests (the other died), as Gerard did in 1628. Both daughters and Isabella became Benedictine nuns. In 1633, she took her vows as Sister Benedicta Corby. She died in Ghent.
see CECILY MACWILLIAMS
see ANNE BLOUNT
ELEANOR RIGGES (d.1608+)
Eleanor Rigges was the daughter of William Rigges of Stragglethorpe, Lincolnshire (c.1502-September 1, 1558) and Anne Babington. She married Rowland Lacon of Willey and Kinlet, Shropshire (c.1537-December 3, 1608), by whom she had two sons, Francis and Thomas, and three or four daughters including Jane and Beatrice. Eleanor was a recusant. The entry for her husband in the History of Parliament suggests that he made some arrangement to safeguard her from loss of property after his death, thus explaining why the only thing he left her in his will, dated November 2, 1608, was the jewel he was accustomed to wear about his neck. This source has no explanation for his bequest to Mary, wife of Hector Danby of Kinlet, to whom he left £200 and a gold ring.
see ELIZABETH GEDNEY
see DIONYSIA LILY
see THOMASIN DERHAM
see ANNE STANLEY
see ELIZABETH PARKER
see HELEN TOWNELEY
see ELIZABETH BARNE
GRISEL RIVETT or REVET
see GRISEL PAGET
see FRANCES HENDER
see MARGERY PIGOTT
see URSULA HUSSEY
ELIZABETH ROBINS (d. 1580+)
Elizabeth Robins was the daughter of William Robins, alderman of London. She married John Southcote (1510/11-April 18, 1585), who at that time was a lawyer in London. They had thirteen children, including John (1542-1637), Martha (d.1612+), Elizabeth (d. before 1585), and Anne (c.1557-1585+), only three of whom were still living when Southcote died. In 1554, he was J.P. for Middlesex and in about 1563 he began to acquire land at Witham in Essex. This became the family estate although there was also a house in Carter Lane in the Parish of St. Gregory by Paul in London. Southcote was remembered after his death as “a good natured man . . . governed by his wife.” When he made his will on August 4, 1580, Elizabeth was named one of his executors, but she must have died before him because on April 7, 1585, he named his son as sole executor. Portrait: effigy in Witham, Essex. Using this effigy as a model, Herbert Norris made a sketch of Elizabeth to include in his Tudor Costume and Fashion.
see ALICE WILKES
see ANNE FRIER
BRIDGET ROBINSON (d. June 12, 1594) (maiden name unknown)
The murder of Bridget, wife of Thomas Robinson of Rye, a sailor is one of the most disturbing on record. She was poisoned during a conjugal visit to her imprisoned husband by the insertion of broken glass and poison into her private parts. Robinson obtained a paper filled with poison mixed with glass from a certain Humphrey, who lodged in the court house and who “told him to poison his wife.” Robinson “conveyed it into his wife’s body on Sunday, May 26 but because the poison had no immediate effect he then persuaded Richard Sadler, his sister Jane’s husband, to buy a pennyworth of ratsbane (arsenic) for him, giving him 4d. to pay for it. He claimed he would use the poison to open a lock, so at the least Sadler must have thought he was planning a jail break. Sadler bought the poison from Goodwife Fysherand brought it to Robinson on June 7. The next day, he went back and took away the poison and later said that he could not tell if any had been removed. On June 11, Robinson again had intercourse with his wife during a conjugal visit to his prison cell. The coroner held an inquest into Bridget’s death on June 13, 1594 and on that same day an inventory was taken of Robinson’s goods. In the hall were a cupboard, a table, and a form with two trestles. There were two bedsteads in the chamber, together with a mat, a featherbed, a bolster, a coverlet, a quilt, and three chests. The total value of the property was 35s. 4d. The coroner, Robert Brett, was also mayor or Rye that year. As was his right, he would have laid claim to all of Robinson’s property. The grand jury indicted Robinson on June 17. Their records state that after her May 26 visit, Bridget “immediately fell ill and languished at Rye until 12 June when she died.” Robinson plead not guilty but was hanged. One June 19, he was buried under the gallows where this sentence was carried out. A later pamphlet about the case confuses several of the details, calling the murderer Henry Robson and dating the crime in 1597 or 1598. According to this version, Robson was imprisoned for debt and a fellow prisoner named Glasier purchased ratsbane from a mercer in Rye after his release to pass along to Robson with instructions on how to use it. These were very specific. He should mix the ratsbane with “glass small beaten and wrapt in the skinne of a shoulder of mutton to the quantity of a haslenut or lesse” and then, when his wife came “to lie with him he should convey it into her privy parts.” More details from the pamphlet can be found in Strange Inhuman Deaths by John Bellamy. The actual account from the inquest and indictment are in R. F. Hunnisett, ed., Sussex Coroner’s Inquests 1558-1603.
see CHRISTIAN ANDERSON
see JOAN ORWIN
AMYE ROBSART (June 7, 1532-September 8, 1560)
Amye or Amy Robsart was the daughter of Sir John Robsart of Syderstone, Norfolk (d. June 8, 1554) and Elizabeth Scott (1504-June 1557). On June 4, 1550, at Sheen, Amye married Lord Robert Dudley (June 24, 1532-September 4, 1588), a younger son of the duke of Northumberland, at a ceremony attended by both Elizabeth Tudor and King Edward VI. When Lord Robert was arrested in 1553, following his father’s attempt to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary Tudor, Amye visited him in the Tower of London. He is said by some to have been released in October 1554 and by others not until January 1555, the same month he was pardoned. The whereabouts of the young couple is uncertain for most of the reign of Queen Mary. In 1557, Robert was restored in blood, granted his goods and the manor of Hemsby, and allowed to inherit the Robsart estate. Unfortunately, Syderstone Manor was uninhabitable. From at least mid-1557 until mid-1559, Amyeresided primarily in Throcking, Hertfordshire, about ten miles northwest of Bishop’s Stortford, the guest of William Hyde. There were two men with this name. Her host was William Hyde (d.1580), who named a daughter Dudley, not William Hyde of Denchworth in Berkshire, although he owned a house quite near to CumnorPlace, where Amye later lived. During this period Robert Dudley was most often in London, where he stayed in Christchurch, a house near Aldgate. They visited each other but did not live together for more than brief periods. In August 1557, Dudley was with King Philip’s army in France. He visited her at Throcking for a few days in the spring of 1559, after which she visited him in London for about a month. By September 1559, Amye had moved to Sir Richard Verney’s house, Compton Verney, in Warwickshire. In December she was at Cumnor Place, Berkshire, a house that belonged to William Owen and was leased to Anthony Forster (c.1510-1572), one of Robert Dudley’s servants. It appears to have been a large establishment with room for separate quarters for three ladies in addition to Forster and his wife and children. One “apartment” was occupied by Mrs. Owen, identified in some accounts as William Owen’s mother, the widow of George Owen (c.1499-October 18, 1558), a royal physician. This would be Mary Long (see her entry). The DNB entry for “Owen, George,” however, identifies the occupant of Cumnor Place in 1560 as William Owen’s wife. This was Anne Rawley, daughter of John Rawley of Billesby, Northamptonshire (or possibly Ursula Fettiplace, said by other sources to have married William Owen in 1558). The other gentlewoman resident, besides Lady Dudley, was a widow, Mrs.Odingsells. She was probably Edith Williams (c.1535-July 1599), niece of John, 1st baron Williams and wife of Edmund Odingsells. Edith’s sister was Anne, wife of Anthony Forster, so this makes sense. Edith had a young son, Edmund. It isn’t clear when her husband died (see EDITH WILLIAMS for more details of her life). In 1559, Dudley was made Lieutenant of Windsor Castle, which is about thirty miles from Cumnor Place. It is probable that by 1560 Amye had heard rumors that her husband and Queen Elizabeth were lovers. She is said to have discovered a lump in her breast at about that time. Some argue that Amye’s death from a fall down a flight of stairs on September 8, 1560 was a suicide. Others believe it was murder. A third school favors the actual verdict of accidental death. Robert Dudley’s enemies were unwilling to believe that he had nothing to do with his wife’s death. Ironically, had she died of cancer, Dudley might have married the queen, but even the slightest suspicion that he’d murdered her meant that would never happen. What is certain is that Amye sent all of her servants and the other residents of the house to the fair at Abingdon that day. Mrs. Odingsells refused to go, apparently because it was a Sunday, and Mrs. Owen also remained behind. Mrs. Owen dined with Amye. The body was discovered by returning servants. Amye was given a grand funeral which, as was the custom, her husband did not attend. The chief mourner was Mrs. Forster’s cousin, Lady Norris (Marjorie Williams). Biographies: Oxford DNB entry under “Dudley [née Robsart], Amy”; Chris Skidmore, Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart (2010); Dr. Ian Aird, “The Death of Amy Robsart: accident, suicide, or murder . . . or disease?” in English Historical Review 7 (1956), pp.69-79.Portraits: one said to be Amye Robsart has a hairstyle and clothing much later than 1560; another, usually identified as either Lady Jane Grey or as Queen Elizabeth and probably painted by Lavina Teerlinck, has been tentatively suggested as a portrait of Amye Robsart by Eric Ives in Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery.
see ELIZABETH KERDESTON; ELIZABETH SCOTT
see MARGARET HOPTON
ELIZABETH ROCHE (d. before May1532) (maiden name unknown)
A History of the County of Hertford, Volume 2, edited by William Page (1908) recounts that the manor of Lamer, Delamers, or Lammershe was settled on Brian Roche and Elizabeth his wife, and the heirs of Elizabeth, in 1502 and goes on to say: “Who this lady was is not known, but it seems possible that Lamer descended to her from the Carews.” In 1499 it belonged to Richard Carew (d. May 23, 1520), who had inherited it from his father, James Carew of Beddington (d. December 22, 1492). Elizabeth married three times. Her first husband was Brian Roche of Wickersley, Yorkshire (d. May 1514), sergeant of the acatery of the Household. Their children were Nicholas and Grissel (d. February 1582). Roche’s will was dated May 12, 1514 and proved May 29, 1514 and the inquisition post mortem was taken at York between April 22, 1516 and April 21, 1517. Elizabeth’s second husband was Henry Eden of London (d.1518), a merchant of the Staple of Calais. They had two sons, Richard (c.1516-1576), erroneously identified by the DNB as the son of George Eden, and John. At some point before June 10, 1523, Elizabeth married Sir Griffith Donne (c.1487-January 18, 1543). They had one child, Elizabeth (c.1525-1590). Grissel Roche, Elizabeth’s daughter by her first marriage, married John Boteler in 1528. According to the Chancery records for 1532-38, they brought suit against Elizabeth over the manors of Lamer, Butlers, and Brydell (Bride Hill) and other lands in Wheathampstead, Harpenden, Standridge, and Luton in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. A second Chancery suit was later brought by Boteler against Elizabeth’s widower, Sir Griffith Don, for “money due for occupation of lands of the said Grysseld after the death of Elizabeth, her mother.” Although Elizabeth is said by some sources to have died in 1541, a bill of complaint in the first Chancery suit, addressed to Sir Thomas More, mentions her death, thus placing that event before More was deprived of the post of Lord Chancellor in May 1532. I am indebted for most of this information to Nina Green at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/documents.html
see ELIZABETH COMPTON
see ____ BIGGS
see ANNE WEST
see CATHERINE WESTON
see ELEANOR POOLE
FRANCES ROGERS (d.1611)
Frances Rogers was one of the twenty children of Sir John Rogers of Bryanston, Dorset (1498- July 22, 1565) and Katherine Weston (1501-1580). Her claim to fame lies in having five husbands. The first was John Willoughby of Silton, Dorset. On online genealogy says they married c. 1548 and had two children, William and Francis, but others say Frances wasn’t born until 1546. This later date seems more likely, as it was after May 1571 before she married her second husband, John Hyettof Wimborne Minster, Dorset (d. by 1574). Her third husband was Matthew Ewens of Middle Temple, London (c.1548-May 23, 1598). They may have had a daughter. She was sole executor of his will. Her fourth husband was F. Kellaway of Rockborue (Rockborne?) and her fifth was Sir Thomas Smyth of Gloucester.
HONORA ROGERS (1562-1615)
Honora Rogers was the daughter of Sir Richard Rogers of Bryanston, Dorset (c.1527-1605) and Cecilia Luttrell (d.1566). She and her brother, Andrew (who had married Lady Mary Seymour, sister to the earl of Hertford c.1575), spent the summer of 1581 at Hanworth with Edward and Thomas Seymour, Hertford’s sons. Edward (September 21, 1561-July 21, 1612), who was Lord Beauchamp and heir to the earl, courted Honora. By the end of the summer he had given her a ring. According to the account in Charlotte Merton’s The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, Beauchamp called Honora his wife and “knew her in the orchard.” When the elderly Anne Stanhope, duchess of Somerset, in whose care they were, fell ill, Honora “stole the keys from under the chambermaid’s bedhead and stole sweetmeats.” The young people were nominally supervised by “two old hags,” Elizabeth Moninges and her sister, Thomasine Audley. Hertford took a dislike to Honora (he called her “Onus Blous” in his letters). According to the entry for her father in the History of Parliament, Hertford sent George Ludlow to discuss the situation with the Rogers family. Ludlow called Honora “a baggage” and Sir Richard Rogers “a fool” and insisted that Beauchamp had intended to have “but a night’s lodging with her.” Since Hertford refused to acknowledge the marriage, the young people were kept apart for the next four years, although Lady Mary Seymour argued in favor of the marriage. Eventually, they were allowed to be together. Their children were Edward (1587-1618), William (d.1660), Francis (d.1664), Honora (d.1620), Anne, and Mary.
see JANE WINTER
see MARY SEYMOUR
MARY ROGERS (c.1565-1634)
Mary Rogers was the daughter of Sir George Rogers of Carrington, Somersetshire (1540-1587) and Jane or Joan Winter (c.1545-1598). She married Sir John Harington of Kelston (1561-November 20, 1612) and had at least nine children by him: Frances (b.c.1584), Henry (b.1589), George (b.1591), Helena (b.1591), James (b.1592), Edward (b.1593), Mary (b.1600), Hannah (b.c.1601), and Robert (b.1602). When Mary’s mother died, Mary and her husband attempted to disinherit her brother, Edward. Harrington was called before the Star Chamber in January 1603 over the matter but by December he was back in favor at court. For more details see JANE WINTER. Portraits: portrait by an unknown artist, c.1585-90; double portrait with her husband, c.1590-95 by Hieronimo Custodis; portrait by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, 1592.
MARIA de ROJAS (c.1488-1531+)
Maria de Rojas was the daughter of Francisco de Rojas, count de Salinas, an influential Spanish diplomat. She was a maid of honor to Catherine of Aragon, accompanying her to England from Spain. After the death of Prince Arthur, she slept in her mistress’s bed. She was courted prior to 1504 by Thomas Stanley, the earl of Derby’s grandson, but their marriage plans were thwarted first by the old earl and then by Catherine’s duenna, Doña Elvira Manuel. The latter wanted Maria to marry her son, Inigo (sometiems called Antonio) Manrique. According to the story told by William Hepworth Dixon in his History of Two Queens, Volume III (1874), Catherine of Aragon wrote to her father for permission for Maria de Rojas to marry Stanley when he succeeded his grandfather and became the 2nd earl of Derby. Elvira Manuel, however, managed to get from Maria de Rojas a paper that implied a promise to marry Manrique and thus could have made marriage to anyone else impossible without a papal dispensation. When Elvira and her son were banished from England in December 1505, Maria, still unwed, remained with Catherine. At an unknown date after that, she returned to Spain and there married Don Alvaro de Mendoza-y-Guzman. She had at least one child, a son named Luis. In 1531, when she was being sought to give a deposition concerning the consummation of the marriage between Catherine and Prince Arthur, she was believed to be living close to Najera, or near Vitoria.
see ANNE ELLERKER
see ELIZABETH OGLETHORPE
see ALICE LONDON
JANE ROKEWOOD (c.1536-c.1605)
Jane Rokewood was the daughter of Roger Rokewood or Rookwood of Euston, Suffolk (c.1520-c.1558) and Olivia Wyckingham (d. August 20,1563+). The Suffolk manor of Salthouse came to Jane from her father and in 1604 a moity of the manor of Slanton was vested in her as his daughter and coheir. Her sister Anne, the wife of Henry Cornwallis of Norwich, had died in 1565. Both properties passed to the eldest son of Jane and her first husband, Christopher Calthorpe or Calthrop of Cockthorpe, Norfolk (d. April 4, 1562) by whom she had John, Elizabeth, James (August 31, 1558-June 15, 1615), Anne, and Jane. On August 12, 1562 she married Sir Jerome Bowes of Elford, Staffordshire and Hackney, Middlesex (d.1616), a courtier who was sent as ambassador to Muscovy in 1583. They had no children, but he was granted the wardship of James Calthorpe in February 1569.
see MARGERY BRINKLOW
MARY ROLLESLEY (d.1538+)
Mary Rollesley was one of the twelve children of John Rollesley or Rowsley of Rollesley, Derbyshire (d. June 3, 1513) and Elizabeth Cheyney, whose will is dated August 23, 1513. By the time her parents died, Mary was a nun at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, a priory in London. Her mother left her £5 and left another £5 to the prioress and convent. Elizabeth Rollesley also left 40s to St. Botolph’s Without Aldgate “for tithes of her beerhouse named the Swan, negligently forgotten.” Mary advanced to become sub-prioress and was acting prioress on December 21, 1528 when a lease was granted by Dame Mary Rowlisley (sic), prioress of St. Helen’s. She was elected prioress on August 22, 1529. Dame Mary surrendered the priory on November 25, 1538 and received a pension of £30.
ELIZABETH ROLLESTON (d. August 2, 1556)
Elizabeth Rolleston was the daughter of Thomas Rolleston or Rowlston of Swarkestone, Derbyshire and Katherine Fitzwilliam. She married William Whitlok or Whitelocke, merchant tailor of London (d. August 1520). They had two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth, both of whom died before 1554. Whitlok wrote his will on August 2, 1520 at Barowe and named his wife executrix, although one source says he died in Flanders. It was proved August 30, 1520. Elizabeth’s second husband was another merchant tailor, Thomas Lee of London (d. August 1527). They had a son, Thomas (d.1572) and a daughter, Anne (d.1561). He wrote his will on August 24, 1527 and it was proved August 27, 1527. Once again Elizabeth was named executrix. After a number of charitable bequests, Lee left the bulk of his estate to her and specified that the lease of his dwelling house in Watling Street go to her, then his son, his daughter, and Elizabeth’s children by her first husband, in that order. Her third husband was Robert Wade of London (d. June 1529). They had no children, but she acquired a stepson, Guy Wade (d.1557), and a stepdaughter, Maryan. Elizabeth was named executrix of Wade’s will. Her fourth husband was John Onley of London and Catesby, Northamptonshire (d. November 22, 1537). She was his second wife and he had two surviving teenaged sons, Edward (1522-1582) and Thomas (1523-1589), and a daughter, Mary, by his first marriage. Onley was assessed at £1000 in 1536, and was therefore a wealthy man. He made Elizabeth his executrix in his will of November 12, 1537, but before it was proved, she fraudulently obtained £5 in expenses from the court of augmentations, where her husband had been a solicitor. Apparently, he had already collected this sum and, as the History of Parliament puts it, “the truth came out.” The stepchildren were raised in the household of their uncle, George Cotton. Elizabeth wrote her will in 1554. It was proved August 11, 1556. Although she expressed a preference to be buried in the parish church of St. John Zachary’s, within the city of London, she was interred in St. Mary the Virgin, Cropredy. She left bequests to her surviving children, her grandchildren, and her stepchildren. To her son, Thomas Lee, she left the lease of the house in which she’d been living, in Wood Street in London. Considerable space is also given to the disposition of her manor of Severn Stoke in Worcestershire, which she had purchased from Henry, earl of Cumberland.
see REBECCA TAYLOR
JANE or JOAN ROMONDBYE (d.1505)
Jane or Joan Romondbye was the daughter of William Romondbye of Romondbye, Yorkshire. She married Richard Pigot (d. 1484), then, as his second wife, Richard Hastings, (1433-September 1503), younger brother of William, Lord Hastings. In both his will and Jane’s, he is styled Lord Willoughby, although there is some question about whether or not he was granted this title. In Jane’s will, dated March 19, 1504/5, she arranged for masses to be said for the souls of her children, indicating that she had more than one child. None survived her. North Country Wills creates some confusion over her identity by saying she is Joan Welles, first wife of Sir Richard Hastings, but Joan Welles died in 1475.
see AUDREY FERNLEY
ANNE ROOS (d.1618+)
Anne Roos was the daughter of Peter Roos of Laxton, Nottinghamshire (d. November 15, 1605) and Agnes Harvey. Her stepmother was Bridget Roos (d.1621?), daughter of Robert Roos of Ingmanthorpe (d.1583). After Anne’s father’s died, Bridge married Stephen Clarke. On May 29, 1592, Anne married Griffin Markham (c.1564-c.1644). Anne’s husband was apparently banished from court around 1593 but in 1594 he was knighted by the earl of Essex after the siege of Rouen. He was involved in both the Bye Plot and the Main Plot and was sentenced to death in 1603. In 1605 he was given a stay of execution and exiled instead. The Markhams were recusants and friends with Father Gerard, but Anne was so desperate to obtain a pardon for her husband that she entered into communication with Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury, intending to betray Father Gerard’s whereabouts to him, as well as the location of other recusants such as Anne Vaux. Several of the letters they exchanged are reprinted in Godfrey Anstruther’s Vaux of Harrowden. Anne failed in her efforts and her husband remained in exile until his death. According to some accounts, he was acting all that while as a spy for Salisbury. According to others, he was only suspected of being a spy because of his wife’s activities. Anne, meanwhile, remained in England. Since all of her husband’s properties had been forfeited at the time of his attainder, she lived for a time at Laxton in the Rectory House. In 1618, she was charged with committing bigamy with one of her servants. She was obliged to do penance in a white sheet at Paul’s Cross in London and fined £1000.
ELEANOR ROOS (d.1486+)
Eleanor Roos was the daughter of Robert Roos of Moor End (in Pottlepury), Northamptonshire (c.1409-December 30, 1448) and Anne Halsham. According to Medieval Madiens: Young Women and Gender in England c.1270-c.1540 by Kim M. Philips, Eleanor was at court as a damsel to Margaret of Anjou shortly after her father died. Around 1455, she married Robert Lovell. By 1466/7 was had married Thomas Prout or Proud, squire to Edward IV, and was in the household of Queen Elizabeth Woodville. By 1474, she had married Richard Haute of Ightham Mote, Kent (x.1483), cousin to the queen and controller of the king’s household. In 1482, her uncle, Sir Robert Roos, left her his copy of the illuminated manuscript titled The Romance of the San Graal (c. 1315-25) and she appears to have subsequently presented it to the young princesses Elizabeth and Cecily of York. Because it contains their signatures with the identifying words “the kyngys dowther” this must have been before the death of Edward IV in April 1483. Haute, one of the guardians of the two princes, was executed later that year. He is not to be confused with the Richard Haute who wrote his will on December 14, 1492 (proved January 24, 1492/3). That Richard was survived by a widow named Katherine. Eleanor was the “my Lady Dame Elyonor Haut” who attended the christening of Prince Arthur in 1486. She may also be the Eleanor Roos who is the subject of an Inquisition Post Mortem in 1499, at which time she was said to have been fifty-five years old “on the last day of September last.” That would give her a birth date of September 1444.
MARY ROOS (d.1540+)
Mary Roos, Ros, or de Roos was the daughter of Richard Roos (1429-1492), brother of Thomas, 10th baron Ros of Hamlake. She married Hugh Denys (d. October 9, 1511), groom of the stole to Henry VII. Mary was in the households of Elizabeth of York and Catherine of Aragon. In 1494, Elizabeth of York and her mother-in-law, Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond, presented Mary with a copy of Walter Hilton’s Scale of Perfection and Mixed Life, inscribing it to “Mastres Rosse.” Mary had an annuity of forty marks in 1496 that was later increased to £53 6s. 8d. by Henry VIII. This was still being paid in 1540. Mary’s second husband was Sir Giles Capel/Capell (1455-1556).
MATILDA or MAUD ROOS (d.1511/12) (maiden name unknown)
Matilda or Maud, Lady Roos married three times. Her first husband was Richard Harbord or Horbard, by whom she had Anne, Matilda, and Thomas. She married Richard Gorges (d. 1480), by whom she had Marmaduke (d. June 20, 1509). Her third husband was Sir Henry Roos (c.1435-c.1504). They had no children. In his 1504 will, he left his wife a considerable inheritance, including West Grinstead, Sussex, with the reversion to her granddaughters, Elizabeth and Matilda Gorges. Several online sources erroneously call Matilda/Maud the daughter of John Harbon and give the date of Gorges’s death as 1491. At sometime after her son Marmaduke’s death, Lady Roos was sued by her granddaughters for “detention of deeds relating to the manor of Horsington and lands in South Cheriton whereof the complainants are seized of one-third, and to a messuage and land in West Grinstead whereof they have the reversion after the defendant’s death; and dilapidation of the premises in West Grinstead.”
see CATHERINE SEBORNE
ELEANOR, ELLEN, or HELEN ROPER (1500-May 1563)
Eleanor Roper was the daughter of John Roper (c.1453-March 29, 1524), attorney general to Henry VIII, and Jane Fineux (1475-April 7, 1544). In c. 1520, she married John Morton of Bencham, Surrey (1498-August 21, 1521). Her second husband, as his second wife, was William Digby (d. by 1529). Her third husband, as his third wife, was Sir Edward Montagu (d. February 10, 1556/7). Her only child by Morton, Mary (February 15, 1522-1568) was born posthumously. She had five sons and six daughters by Montagu, including Edward (1532-1602) and Eleanor. Some sources say she also had five children by Digby, including William, Lebbaeus, Margery, and Isabella.
ELIZABETH ROPER (c.1564-c.1625)
Elizabeth Roper was the daughter of John Roper of Lynsted, Kent (c.1534-August 30,1618) and Elizabeth Parke (1544-September 15, 1567). According to Jessie Childs in God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England, she signed herself Eliza Roper. She married George Vaux of Harrowden (September 27, 1564-July 13, 1594) at Harrowden on July 25, 1585, the same day his older brother died. It was a love match and since George married without permission, he was disinherited. The new heir was his younger brother, Ambrose. Thomas Tresham, brother-in-law of Lord Vaux, did not think much of Elizabeth, describing “her creditless carriage when she went for a maiden.” She had a dowry of £1,500 plus £400 worth of jewels and apparel. According to Godfrey Anstruther’s Vaux of Harrowden, Elizabeth “completely bewitched Ambrose, who would do anything she demanded.” Early in 1590, a reconciliation was achieved between George and his father and Ambrose surrendered his right to the forfeiture. Around Shrovetide 1592, Elizabeth is alleged to have read Lord Vaux a letter she said was from her father. It promised to pay all his debts if he would “renounce amity” with Tresham and be ruled by Roper. Roper denied writing such a letter. Elizabeth and George had six children: Mary (c.1587-before 1624), Edward (September 13, 1588-September 8, 1661), Henry (d. September 29, 1662), William, Joyce (d.1667), and Catherine (d. July 10, 1649). The Vauxs were noted recusants, as was Elizabeth’s sister, Lady Lovell. Elizabeth was strong-willed and by 1594 completely dominated her in-laws, even moving them from Harrowden to a smaller house at Irthlingborough. Most of what we know of her comes from Thomas Tresham, her mother-in-law’s brother, and is extremely biased, but she was certainly possessed of a forceful character. She was also, apparently, completely devoted to her husband. Father Gerard reported that she was “completely overwrought” when he died of a sudden illness at Harrowden on July 13, 1594 and barely left her room for the next year. She was said to have been unable to force herself to enter the wing of the house where he died for more than four years after his death. When her mother-in-law died, however, she sent three servants to her house to evict her caretaker and take over the premises. In 1596, she brought suit against Tresham in the Court of Wards, accusing him of tricking Lord Vaux out of large sums of money. In 1598, at which time she was living at Irthlingborough with her six small children, she was able to purchase the wardship of her son, the new Lord Vaux. This was also the year Father Gerard moved into her household. Shortly afterward, Elizabeth founded what was essentially a Jesuit college at Harrowden—a place to educate Catholic boys before they were old enough to be smuggled out of England to Douai. In 1605, she was questioned over a letter she had written to her cousin, Agnes Wenman (née Fermor), that made it seem as if she had ties to the Gunpowder Plot. Sir Richard Wenman, questioned separately from his wife, claimed he had always objected to his wife’s friendships, especially that with Lady Vaux, who had “corrupted his wife in religion.” The letter in question was written around Easter 1605. As Agnes later recalled, Lady Vaux complained that Wenman had snubbed her in London because “those of her profession were now in disgrace.” Then, again according to Agnes, she added, “Notwithstanding pray, for Tottenham may turn French, or words to the like effect.” The expression was a common one at the time—in one case I know of, a variation of it was used by Elizabeth Cooke, Lady Russell, who was certainly no Papist! It was used to refer to any event that was absurd or highly unlikely to happen. I rely on the account by Jessie Childs for the rest of the story. She gives many more details that are not included here, but the key point is that when the letter from Lady Vaux arrived, Lady Wenman’s mother-in-law, Lady Tasburgh (Jane West), intercepted and read it. She then showed the letter to her son and claimed the line about Tottenham was treasonous. At first, no one took this interpretation seriously. In around August of 1605, when Lady Vaux and and Lady Wenman met at the home of Lady Vaux’s daughter, Mary Simeon in Oxfordshire, they found Lady Tasburgh’s behavior annoying but not alarming, and it was around this time (on August 12, 1605) that the king visited Harrowden on progress, a signal of royal favor. By November, however, when the Gunpowder Plot was uncovered, even a careless word could be damning. Lady Vaux asked Lady Wenman’s mother, Lady Fermor, her neighbor at Easton Neston, Northamptonshire, to retrieve the letter and send it, or a copy, to her. On November 12, 1605, Lady Fermor wrote to her daughter in Oxfordshire to pass on this request. Agnes Wenman replied that she had dealt with the letter “as those did letters which were not regarded,” which Childs interprets as saying she had either burnt it or lost it. On that same day, November 12, Harrowdenwas surrounded by armed men and searched. Elizabeth took to her bed. On November 15, while the search was still ongoing, orders came for Elizabeth to be taken to London. They reached there, “ill accommodated of coach and horses for so sudden a journey” on November 18. Elizabeth was questioned and told a variety of versions of recent events but although she was known to harbor priests and suspected of knowing about the plot in advance, she was not charged or imprisoned but rather put under house arrest in the house of Sir John Swynnerton. By September 1606, she was back at Harrowden Hall. On All Saints Day, 1611, Harrowden was raided and ransacked and Elizabeth was again taken to London, confined first in the Gatehouse Prison in Westminster, then in the Fleet, and finally in a house in Fleet Street. She was tried on February 19, 1612 and sentenced to imprisonment and forfeiture of all lands, tenements, goods, and chattels. This time she was held in Newgate, but she still managed to hear Mass. On July 3, 1613, she was paroled for eight months to recover her health. She does not appear to have gone back to prison. By 1616, she was living at Boughton, a manor on the Vaux estate. In 1618, she was ordered to appear before the Privy Council but she was still living at Boughton in 1625. The last mention of Elizabeth, Lady Vaux is in the will of Mary, Lady Fermor, dated August 13, 1625, in which she is bequeathed two long silver boxes with elephant heads engraved on them, used to keep medicines in. Her burial place is unknown. Childs suggests she was the Mrs. Vaux for whom composer John Dowland wrote “Mrs. Vaux’s Jig” and “Mrs. Vaux’s Galliard.” Biographies: Godfrey Anstruther, Vaux of Harrowden; Jessie Childs, God‘s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England. Portrait: effigy on her parents’ tomb in Lynsted Church, Kent (with her sister, Mary Roper).
ELIZABETH ROPER (d.1658)
According to the entry for her husband in the History of Parliament, Elizabeth Roper was the daughter of Sir John Roper and other sources suggest she belongs to the Teynham branch of the Roper family, but the relationship is unclear. One online genealogy says she was the daughter of Edmund Roper of Leaveland, Hartlipp(c.1538-September 1621) and Cecilia Dibald and born c.1591. The will of Edmund Roper of Hartlipp, Kent (d.c.1653) refers to her as his aunt, which seems to make her the daughter of John Roper, 1st baron Teynham (c.1534-August 30, 1618), but his daughter Elizabeth married into the Vaux family. Possibly he had a second daughter named Elizabeth, born to his second wife, Elizabeth Dyon (d. before 1618). Whoever this Elizabeth Roper was, by 1605 she was at court as one of the maids of honor to Anne of Denmark. She remained in that post until her marriage in 1617. According to Archaeologia Cambrensis, when she was about to marry Robert Mansell (or Mansfield) of Penrice, Glamorganshire (c.1569-1656) in November 1616, she was referred to as “his old mistress.” The Oxford DNB entry for Mansell takes this literally, but the term “mistress” need not have implied a physical relationship. In any case, the king gave Mansell £10,000 and the queen hosted the wedding at Denmark House on March 11, 1617 and presented the couple with “a fair cupboard of plate.” As a widow, Elizabeth was granted letters of administration for the Mansell estate on June 26, 1656.
see ELIZABETH PARKE
see JANE FINEUX; MARY ROPER
see MARGARET MORE
MARY ROPER (d. March 20, 1572)
Mary Roper was the daughter of William Roper (1495-1578) and Margaret More (1505-1544) and the granddaughter of Sir Thomas More. As such, she was given a fine education, did many translations, and was an ardent Catholic. She married twice, first to Stephen Clarke (d.1554) and second, around June 1556, to James Bassett (1527-November 21, 1558). She bore Bassett two sons, Philip (b.1557) and Charles (b.1559). Mary was at court under Queen Mary as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Bassett [née Roper], Mary”
MARY ROPER (c.1565-November 12, 1628)
Mary Roper was the younger daughter of John Roper of Lynsted, Kent (c.1534-August 30, 1618) and Elizabeth Parke (1544-September 15, 1567). Although she was christened Jane, she later took the name Mary. She married sir Robert Lovell of Martin Abbey, Surrey (d. by 1606), by whom she had two daughters, Christina (1597-1639) and another girl born in 1601. Lady Lovell was a well-known recusant. She was present at a raid in London on July 21, 1599. After one occasion when she was “disquieted” by pursuivants, she wrote to the earl of Salisbury to complain, saying that “If your Lordship did rightly understand their abuses, you would not permit that gentlewomen of my sort should be subject to the authority of so base persons.” On November 19, 1605, she was questioned in connection with the Gunpowder Plot. Her lodgings were ransacked and she was put under house arrest, along with her daughters, age five and eight, after admitting she knew some of the conspirators. In June of 1606 she left England along with her daughters and her niece, Joyce Vaux, to travel to Spa in the Spanish Netherlands, a notorious haunt of English Catholics in exile. She claimed she was seeking treatment for breast cancer. It was at that time that she changed her name to Mary. In 1608-9 she was living in the English Benedictine convent in Brussels but left there with the intention of founding a Benedictine convent in Louvain. This apparently did not happen. In late 1611, when her sister was arrested in England, Mary was living in Brussels. She went to Archduke Albert to beg him to intercede with King James. He did, but it had no effect. In 1616, Mary was attempting to found a Carmelite convent in Liège. In 1619, her donation of £1600 finally led to the foundation of a Carmelite convent in Antwerp. For the next few years she was involved in frequent disputes over the way the convent was being run, but she also provided further funding and even went to England to solicit more donations. It was written of her that “she is as forward in her monastery as she was four or five years since, being a person humorous and inconstant, not only as she is a woman but as she is that woman the Lady Lovell.” By 1625, she was seeking to found a Bernardine cloister at Bruges, but her plans were still incomplete when she died. Her daughter, Christina, was a Benedictine nun at Brussels. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Lovel, Mary [née Jane Roper].”
see JANE PENTIRE
WILBRANDIS ROSENBLATT (1504-1564)
Wilbrandis Rosenblatt was born in Bad Säckingen and raised in Basel. Her first husband was Ludwig Keller (d.1526), a reformer also known as Cellarius. In early 1528, she married Johannes Hussgen of Basel (1482-November 24, 1531), better known as Johannes Oecolampadius. They had three children, Eusebius, Irene, and Aletheia. Her third husband was Wulfgang Fabricius Capito (d.1541), dean of the collegiate chapter of the church of St. Thomas in Strasbourg. They had one daughter, Agnes. The plague came to Strasbourg in 1541, taking not only Capito but also the wife and all but one of the children of theologian Martin Bucer (November 11, 1491-February 28, 1551). On her deathbed, Elizabeth Bucer, a former nun who had borne her husband thirteen children, heard that Capito had died and suggested that her husband marry the widow. Bucer did so in 1542. Wilbrandis already had a total of eight children by her three previous husbands and now bore Bucer three more. In 1549, the family traveled to England, where Bucer was to become regius professor of divinity at Cambridge. He took up his duties there in January 1550, but he was in poor health, possibly suffering from tuberculosis, and died a little more than a year later. During Wilbrandis’s time in England, Matthew Parker was master of Corpus Christi College and she met his wife, Margaret (see MARGARET HARLESTONE). As a widow, Wilbrandis returned to Basel and died there of the plague. Portrait: unknown artist or date.
PHILIPPA ROSEWELL (c.1562/3-1594+)
Philippa Rosewell was the daughter of William Rosewell (Roswell/Russell) of Loxton, Somerset and Forde Abbey, Thorncombe, Devon (c.1520-1566), Solicitor-General to Queen Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Dale, widow of Gregory Isham of Brauston, Northamptonshire. The will of William Rosewell was written June 10, 1566 and probated November 4, 1566 and stated that his children were to be “well godlie and vertuoslie brought opp and maineteyned.” Philippa married Sir George Speke of Dolishe, White Lackington, and Ollington, Somerset (1555-1637) on November 17, 1584 in Exeter. Speke was sheriff of Somerset in 1592. Their children were George (d. January 25, 1637), Anne (d.1665), Dorothy, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Philippa (1594-1628). Portrait: artist unknown, 1592 (NOTE: this portrait was misidentified as either Elizabeth Luttrell or Joan Portman, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law respectively of Philippa, in the catalog for an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1980-81 titled Princely Magnificence: Court Jewels of the Renaissance 1500-1630) .
JOAN ROSSITER (c.1494-July 20, 1558)
Joan Rossiter (Rosseter/Rowcetter/Roucestre) was the daughter and heir of Richard Rossiter of Shaftesbury, Dorset (d. September 3, 1529) and Elizabeth Perye. In 1514, she married William Hartgill, later of Kilmington, Wiltshire (c.1491-January 12, 1557), steward to the 7th baron Stourton. Their children were John (d. January 12, 1557), Thomas, and Edward. William Hartgill was said to have killed a man in his youth and there were suspicions that he was not entirely honest in his dealings with the Stourtons. At the least, he was probably a poacher. Lady Stourton was living with the Hartgills at the time of Stourton’s death in September 1548. If they were not already feuding, William’s championship of Lady Stourton and of Lord Stourton’s mistress, Agnes Rhys, supporting the terms of the late baron’s will, would have provoked the new Lord Stourton’s fury. The next nine years were filled with incidents. On Whit Sunday 1549, Stourton attacked Kilmington. The Hartgill house was adjacent to the church and the family took refuge in the church tower. While Joan’s son John rode to London to report the matter to the Privy Council, they were besieged. Stourton killed a valuable gelding belonging to William Hartgill, but he allowed Joan to return home unmolested. Stourton was arrested shortly thereafter and imprisoned in the Fleet, but not for long. A much worse outbreak of violence came in January 1557, when Stourton and his men invaded Kilmington. Charles Stourton struck Joan with his sword and his men took her husband and son prisoner. Joan and John’s wife, Dorothy (daughter of Richard Harvey) sent word to the Privy Council, but by the time the authorities arrived, the two men had been murdered. It took some time for their bodies to be found where they had been buried in a dungeon. Stourton was executed for the crime. According to John Bellamy’s Strange, Inhuman Deaths: Murder in Tudor England, Sir James Fitzjames, suspected of being one of Stourton’s confederates, was ordered to pay £25 each to Joan and Dorothy Hartgill in April 1557. The History of Parliament says the widows were also granted the wardship of Cuthbert Hartgill, John’s son, but Bellamy indicates that they were granted only his custody while the Crown kept control of his lands. They were granted an annuity of five marks. William Hartgill’s will, proved on November 13, 1557, left Joan “all her lands in Shaftesbury, Barow [South Barrow, Somerset] and Bristol” for life, the house in Kilmington during her widowhood, if she chose to live there, and £100 out of the debts owed to William by Charles Stourton.
ELIZABETH ROTHERFIELD (d.c.1530)
Elizabeth Rotherfield was the daughter and heir of William Rotherfield of Rotherfield, Hampshire (d.1489). She married Richard Norton of East Tisted, Hampshire (d.1556) in about 1495 and was the mother of his son and heir, John Norton (d.1564) and at least one other son. Portrait: effigy in St. James’s church, East Tisted, Hampshire.
see ELIZABETH BRUGGE
see MARGARET COOKE
ELIZABETH ROYDON (1523-August 19, 1595)
Elizabeth Roydon was the daughter of Thomas Roydon of Roydon Hall, East Peckham, Kent (c.1482-August 10, 1557) and Margaret Whetenhall (1484-1576). She married William Twysden of Wye and Chelmington, Kent (1514- November 19, 1549), by whom she had at least four children, Bennet 1539-1541), Catherine (b. 1541 d. yng), Roger (1542-1603) and Margaret (1545-1608). On September 30, 1550, she married Cuthbert Vaughan of Great Chart, Kent (1519-July 23, 1563), and may have been the mother of Jane Vaughan (d.1610), although most genealogies say they had no issue. In 1558, Vaughan was involved in a land dispute with Elizabeth’s stepson, Thomas Twysden. Vaughan died of the plague while serving in the English garrison at Newhaven. Elizabeth was, according to the Oxford DNB entry for “Vaughan, Cuthbert,” a “noted puritan patron.” On May 25, 1564, she married Thomas Golding of Belchamp St. Paul, Essex (d.1571), brother of the dowager countess of Oxford. In 1565, Elizabeth was coheiress to her nephew, Thomas Roydon, and inherited Roydon Hall, East Peckham, Kent. She was also the residual legatee in her mother’s 1576 will. Elizabeth was buried in East Peckham church in Kent on November 15, 1595. Her will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com. It was written October 4, 1591. Portrait: 1563 by Hans Eworth.
JOAN ROYDON (d. February 1631/2)
Joan Roydon was the daughter of Henry Roydon of Battersea, Surrey. In December 1568 she married Thomas Holcroft of Battersea (d.1591). Some sources mistakenly give his first name as William. They had two children, Geoffrey and Henry (1580-1648). In about 1592, she married Oliver St. John (c.1560-December 29, 1630), by whom she had no children. In 1621, he was created Viscount Grandison and in 1626, Baron Tregoz. Joan made her will on February 19, 1630/1 and was buried on March 20, 1630/1 at Battersea. Portrait: a memorial at Battersea, Surrey displays busts of Joan and her second husband.
see MARGARET WHETENHALL
MARY ROYDON (before 1543-1566+)
Mary Roydon was the daughter of Sir Christopher Roydon of Roydon Hall, Ramsey, Essex (d.1543/4) and his wife, Katherine. Mary (sometimes called Margaret), became the ward of the 16th earl of Oxford. According to a story told after the death of John Lucas of Colchester, Essex (d. September 13, 1556), Lucas was “a great gamester” and won Mary’s wardship at dice. She is mentioned in his will and later married his youngest son, another John Lucas. Their children were Roydon, Mary, Margaret, Elizabeth, Edward, John, Edmund, and Christopher. They lived at Roydon Hall.
AMY ROYSE (d.1594+)
Amy Royse had a brother named Robert and she styled herself a gentlewoman in her will, but nothing else is known of her family. In around 1546, she married Thomas Cooper (c.1517-April 29, 1594), headmaster at Magdalen College School, Oxford. If the ribald verses directed at her are to be believed, she had affairs with at least two men during the early days of their marriage, but Cooper refused to divorce her. She also reportedly threw an early draft of his dictionary, the Thesaurus(1565) into the fire. In 1556, Cooper left the university to practice as a doctor. He was reappointed in 1559, after Elizabeth Tudor became queen. By 1560, he had been ordained, and in 1571 he was made bishop of Lincoln in 1571. The family, which consisted of at least one daughter, Elizabeth, lived at Buckden. In 1584, Cooper became bishop of Winchester. At his death, Amy lost her home, but she seems to have coped with the changes. According to Mary Prior in “Reviled and crucified marriages: the position of Tudor bishops’ wives,” in Women in English Society 1500-1800 (edited by Mary Prior), she leased the parsonage of Buckden and ran a working farm during her widowhood.
see CHRISTINE BALDRY
ANN RUSSELL (December 1548-February 9, 1603/4)
The eldest daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd earl of Bedford (1527-July 28, 1585) and Margaret St. John (c.1524-August 27, 1562), Ann went to court as a maid of honor after her mother’s death. Poet Pietro Bozzari wrote of her that she had “a form like Helen’s, by delight attended.” On November 11, 1565, she married Ambrose Dudley, earl of Warwick (1531-February 21, 1590) but remained at court as a lady of the privy chamber. She became extremely influential and was once said to have refused a bribe of £100 to advance a suit in chancery because the sum was too small. In addition to her lodgings at court, Ann kept a house in what had once been the garden of the priory of the Austin Friars in Broad Street, London. She was also lady of the manor of Rowington, Warwickshire and it was to her that William Shakespeare had to apply for the copyhold on his cottage and grounds in Stratford-upon-Avon. Ann was a patron of the arts. She had no children of her own, but she was guardian to her nephew, the 3rd earl of Bedford, and took an interest in the upbringing of three of her nieces, Anne and Elizabeth Russell and Ann Clifford. Ann Russell was with Queen Elizabeth when the queen died. In the new reign, she returend to Northall but made frequent visits to friends and family. She was at Chenies in Buckinghamshire when she died. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Dudley [née Russell], Anne.” Portraits: There are several portaits of Ann Russell, countess of Warwick, including one c.1565; effigy at Chenies, Buckinghamshire, erected 1619.
ANNE RUSSELL (c.1578-April 1, 1639)
Anne Russell was the younger daughter of Lord John Russell (d.1584) and Elizabeth Cooke (c.1528-May 1609). She went to court as a maid of honor in 1594. On June 16, 1600, she married Henry Somerset, Lord Herbert (later earl of Worcester) (1577-December 18, 1646). Her nine sons and four daughters included Edward, 2nd marquis of Worcester (1601-April 3, 1667), John (d.1630), Thomas (d.1676+), and Elizabeth (d.c.1684). Biography: Roy Strong’s The Cult of Elizabeth gives a detailed account of Anne’s wedding and the painting attributed to Robert Peake called “Queen Elizabeth going in Procession to Blackfriars in 1600.” Portraits: There were at least two portraits done of Anne Russell, one as a child and one c.1600, plus her likeness in the wedding portrait. She also appears in effigy on her mother’s tomb in Bisham Church.
see ANNE ST. LEGER; ANNE SAPCOTE
see BRIDGET HUSSEY
see CATHERINE BRYDGES
see CHRISTIAN COKE
ELIZABETH RUSSELL (October 22, 1575-July 1600)
Elizabeth Russell was the elder daughter of Lord John Russell (d.1584) and Elizabeth Cooke (c.1528-May 1609). She was born within the precincts of Westminster Abbey, where the Dean, Dr. Gabriel Goodman, had given her mother permission to take refuge from an outbreak of the plague. Queen Elizabeth and Frances Sidney, countess of Sussex, were her godmothers with Anne Russell, countess of Warwick, serving as the queen’s proxy. Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, was her godfather. She was christened on October 27 at 10 AM in Westminster Abbey. The midwife, Mrs. Bradshaw, carried the infant. Her mother’s sisters, Mildred Cooke Cecil and Anne Cooke Bacon, bore Lady Warwick’s train. A “costly delicate banquet” followed. At nineteen, she went to court as a maid of honor. She and her sister Anne sold their inheritance, Russell House in St. Martin-in-the-fields, provoking a quarrel with their mother. Elizabeth further irritated Lady Russell by being thrown out of the Coffer Chamber in April 1597, in company with Elizabeth Brydges, for going unchaperoned to watch the earl of Essex and other gentlemen play at ballon. One rumor makes Elizabeth Russell the earl’s mistress. She certainly had admirers, Lord Cobham and Lord Admiral Charles Howard (later earl of Nottingham) among them. Although the Lord Admiral was already married, Lady Russell urged her daughter to use her influence with him. Lady Russell wanted him to grant her the lease to Donnington. At one point in the 1590s, negotiations were ongoing for Elizabeth Russell’s marriage to the earl of Worcester’s heir, but that young man died and the next brother in line was betrothed to Elizabeth’s younger sister, Anne. Elizabeth danced at their wedding. Then, within a fortnight, she fell ill and died. There are various stories about her death. One says she died of consumption. Another blames her death on a prick from a needle and asserts that it was her punishment for working on a Sunday. However she died, she was buried in Westminster Abbey, where she is the subject of a most unusual sculpture. She is shown asleep sitting up, one foot resting on a skull.
see ELIZABETH COOKE; ELIZABETH LONG; ELIZABETH SHELDON
JANE RUSSELL (d. 1557/8) (maiden name unknown)
Jane was the wife of William Russell, by whom she had several children, possibly including the Mary Russell in the household of Queen Mary from 1554-7. Jane herself served Mary before she was queen, since she is listed among the “fellows in service” with Margaret Pennington, Lady Cooke, from 1552. She is listed as a chamberer in 1553 and as a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber from 1554-7. She was granted five leases of land by the queen. In the winter of 1557/8, Jane was invited to live in the London house of Henry Fisher, a wealthy skinner and one of the founders of the Russia Company, and his wife, Elizabeth, “for the great friendship she showed to the same Fisher in such suits as he had” to Queen Mary. According to the entry for Fisher in The History of Parliament, the Fishers nursed Jane during her last illness, for which expenses Fisher later sued in the court of requests. Jane had a son to whom Frances Baynton, in her will in 1583, repaid a loan.
JANE SYBILLA RUSSELL
see JANE SYBILLA MORISON
see LUCY HARINGTON
MARGARET RUSSELL (before 1505-1568)
Margaret Russell was abbess of Tarrant in Dorset and related to the earl of Bedford, although I have not been able to sort out the exact relationship. She became a Cistercian nun and was elected abbess after the death of the previous abbess, Edith Coker, in 1535. The abbey was surrendered on March 13, 1539. Margaret received a pension of £40 and seems to have had the means to live well. In her will, proved in July 1568, her bequests included “my best gown of silk chamlet, my kirtle of satin, my scarlet petticoat, my best bonnet of velvet,” and money, jewels, and plate. She was buried in Bere Regis Church.
MARGARET RUSSELL (July 7, 1560-May 24, 1616)
Margaret Russell was the daughter of Francis Russell, 2nd earl of Bedford (1527-July 28, 1562) and Margaret St. John (d. August 27, 1562). Following her mother’s death, she was placed in the household of an aunt, Alice Elmers or Elmes, at Lilford, Northamptonshire. It was not until she was seven that she joined her father and his second wife, Bridget Hussey (d. January 12, 1602). On June 24, 1577, more “on the ground of common good than any particular liking,” she married George Clifford, earl of Cumberland (1558-October 30, 1605). In 1591, she left him, taking with her their daughter, Anne (1590-1676), and went to live in Austin Friars with her sister, the recently widowed countess of Warwick. She had borne two sons, Francis (1584-1589) and Robert (1585-1591), but both had died. When her daughter was old enough, Margaret hired Samuel Daniel as her tutor. She was a patron of the arts, receiving a number of dedications, and a subscriber to the Virginia Company. After Cumberland’s death, Margaret had difficulty with his brothers over her inheritance. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under Clifford [née Russell], Margaret.” Portraits: Portraits of Margaret Russell are in the Bodleian Library, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. She is also shown in the Clifford family portrait commissioned by her daughter many years after Margaret’s death, and in an effigy on her monument in Appleby Church, Cumberland.
see MARGARET LYGON; MARGARET ST. JOHN
see ISABEL STANLEY
see JANE PEYTON
see ELIZABETH GEDNEY
see AGNES HUSSEY
MARGARET RYTHER (d.1540) (maiden name unknown)
Margaret, wife of Nicholas Ryther of Castle Hedingham, Essex (d. before 1537), was from Wakefield, Yorkshire. She was a waiting gentlewoman to Elizabeth de Vere (née Scrope) countess of Oxford. The countess’s 1537 will left Margaret 100 marks in ready money, two salts of silver gilt, two featherbeds with sheets, bolsters, pillows, and other household items. She received these bequests “for true and faithful service that she of long continuance hath done to me.” Margaret was also one of the will’s executors. Margaret’s husband had been in the household of the 13th earl of Oxford and their son John Ryther (d.October 11, 1552) was comptroller of the countess’s household in 1537. Later he entered royal service. Elizabeth Ryther, the countess’s goddaughter, is also mentioned in the will and is likely Margaret’s daughter or granddaughter. Margaret made her own will on March 22, 1539/40 and it was proved July 21, 1542. She made bequests to several relatives of the late countess, giving them such items as rings, beads, spoons, bonnets, gowns, and sheets. She also left a bequest to her maid, Agnes, and to the churches in Wakefield, Yorkshire and Castle Hedingham and Earls Colne, Essex.
MARY RYTHER (1575-1643)
Mary Ryther was the daughter of Sir William Ryther or Ryder, Lord Mayor of London in 1600-1601 (c.1544-September 1611) and Elizabeth Stone (d.1611). She was raised in wealth and luxury. On June 29, 1591, she married Sir Thomas Lake of Canons or Cannons, Middlesex (October 1561-September 17, 1630), an up and coming administrator and politician who had been appointed a clerk of the signet in 1589. Their children were Thomas (c.1595-1653), Arthur (c.1598-1633), Anne (November 1599-1630), Elizabeth, Mary, and Bridget. In 1611, Mary and her surviving sibling, Susanna (1577-1640) were her father’s coheirs, but they disputed the terms of the will. Anne already had something of a reputation for temper and arrogance by this point. The Lakes’ London house was next door to that of the Venetian ambassador and the family made a practice of attending Catholic services in the embassy chapel. In January 1616, in spite of his religion, Lake was appointed secretary of state to James I. On February 12, 1616, Mary’s daughter Anne married William Cecil, baron Ros (May 1590-June 27, 1618), another secret Catholic. Soon after, Lake arranged Cecil’s appointment as ambassador to Spain, but before he could leave England, there was serious trouble in the marriage. Mary took her daughter’s part. What happened next filled 17,000 pages of legal paperwork for a case before the Star Chamber and enlivened numerous letters and diary entries. Mary and her daughter were charged with forgery, slander, and extortion in their attempt to wrest the manor of Walthamstow, Essex and other financial and property considerations from Lord Ros. Lord Ros went to Spain in November 1616 with the matter still unresolved, mostly because his grandfather, the earl of Exeter, had a claim on Walthamstow and refused to turn it over. Ros returned to England in the spring of 1617. In late May, he attempted to take Anne from her parents’ house, where she had been living, and the resulting altercation ended up in the street outside, creating even more scandal. In August, Ros secretly left the country for Rome, but by then the earl of Exeter was directly involved and determined to protect his absent grandson’s interests. In retaliation, late in 1617, Mary and Anne launched a vicious attack on the character of Exeter’s young second wife (see FRANCES BRYDGES), claiming she’d had an adulterous affair with her step-grandson and had tried to poison Anne. Exeter made countercharges against the two women and the matter came before the privy council. In February 1618, when Anne refused to answer questions, she was confined in the bishop of London’s house until she changed her mind. She was released on March 5. Although Lord Ros had died in Naples, the matter went to trial before the Star Chamber. Mary, Lake, Anne, and Anne’s two brothers were accused of slandering the earl and his wife, suborning witnesses, and forging documents. Anne was popularly believed to be guilty of everything from incest with one of her brothers to attempted murder. King James himself presided over the trial in February 1619 and meted out the punishments he thought fit. He declared that Mary was to blame for the conspiracy and had convinced her daughter and husband to go along with her evil plans. Mary, Lake, and Anne were sent to the Tower and fined. Mary and Anne together were fined £15,000. Anne’s portion of the fine was 10,000 marks. The two women were universally condemned by the general public and were regarded as great villains, but Lake was also punished. He was stripped of his position as secretary of state and fined £5000. In May 1619, Anne confessed to her crimes and supplied the Crown with further evidence against her family, claiming that her brother Arthur had composed the slanders against Lady Exeter and that her own maid, Hobbie, had copied them, creating the forgeries. By June 3, both of Mary’s sons were in prison. Anne was released from the Tower in early July. She remained in confinement, but was allowed to choose where she was held and she was apparently freed sometime during the following year. She remarried, c.1621, taking as her second husband a second son, George Rodney, and living quietly with him in Somerset. Mary and her husband remained in the Tower. Both initially refused to confess, but Lake relented and by July he was out of the Tower and in the custody of his brother, the bishop of Bath and Wells. Later he retired to Canons, where he remained until his death. Mary remained in the Tower until December 14, 1620. She did not formally confess until May 1621. She was buried February 27, 1642/3 at Whitchurch. Biography: entries for her father, husband, and daughter in the Oxford DNB.