ANNE VACHELL (1542-1612+)
Anne Vachell was the daughter of Thomas Vachell of Coley, Berkshire (c.1480-December 9, 1553) and Agnes Justice (c.1500-1544). She married Edmund Montague  (d. before 1609). Her brother, Thomas Vachell, was a recusant and much of his property was seized by the Crown. By 1609, he “had long been living at Ipsden (Oxfordshire) in the care of his sister Anne.” He died there on May 3, 1610. His heir was a nephew, Sir Thomas Vachell. In 1612, Sir Thomas charged Anne with exercising undue influence over her brother and with “retaining” his will.

An English recusant with the unlikely name of Kinborough Valentine appears to have been the second wife of Thomas Lee (c.1551-x. February 14, 1601). They had no children. Mary Hill Cole, in The Portable Queen (1999), offers an undated anecdote about Lee’s wife, calling her Valentine Lee. While he was in Ireland, she was left behind in England “without supporters or money.” Wanting either a reconciliation or financial support, she threatened to approach the queen during an upcoming progress to ask for help. When the earl of Essex left Ireland in September 1599, Lee followed him to England. On February 12, 1601, after Essex’s failed rebellion, Lee attempted to rescue him. He was arrested, tried, and executed at Tyburn.

Elizabeth Vanburen was an Antwerp gentlewoman with aristocratic connections. In about 1566, she married Jacob Verzelini of Venice (c.1522-1606), an expert in glass making. Their children were Francis, Jacob, Mary, Elizabeth (c.1555-February 1634) , and Katherine. By 1571, the family was living in London, where Verzelini took over operation of the glassworks in Crutched Friars after the death of Jean Carré. On December 15, 1574, he was granted a twenty-one year monopoly on making Venetian-style (cristallo) glass. The factory burned down in 1575, but he rebuilt. In 1576, he became an English citizen and acquired property in Westerham and Downe, Kent, but he spent most of his time in London, supervising his glass works. It was moved to Winchester House, Broad Street. The family home was in Hart Street. Portrait: memorial brass, St. Mary the Virgin, Downe, Kent.

DINGHEN VAN DEN PLASSE (d.1565+) (maiden name unknown)
Dinghen (Dingen/Dingham) was born in Taenen in Flanders (some sources say Brabant), where her father was a knight. She married William Van Den Plasse (Vanderplasse/Van Den Passe). In 1564 or 1565, they fled to England to escape religious persecution. To support her family, Dinghen opened a business as a starcher and soon set a new court fashion for starched ruffs. Her handiwork was first seen at the wedding of Ann Russell to Ambrose Dudley in November 1565. Starch replaced wire supports and was so popular that Dinghen could charge £5 to teach others the art of starching. For 20s more she would show them how to manufacture the starch.

see FANE

Jane van Kethulle was the daughter of a Flemish count, François van Kethulle, Lord Rihoven, a former governor of Ghent. She is better known as “Jane Rehora.” According to “Disasters and Misfortunes: The Story of John and Jane Daniell” by Martin Taylor, Jane came to England as a Protestant exile. In around 1587, she entered the service of Frances Walsingham, Lady Sidney. At that time, Lady Sidney, a widow. In1590, Frances married Robert Devereux, earl of Essex. On December 1, 1595, the bishop of London issued a general license for the marriage of “Jane Rehova, spinster, a foreigner and domestic servant of the countess of Essex, resident in the parish of St. Olave’s, Hart Street” to marry John Daniell of Daresbury, near Runcorn, Cheshire (c.1545-1610), one of the earl’s servants. Their children were John, Devereux, William, and Mary. The earl and countess promised Jane a dowry, but it was never paid. On October 1, 1599, the earl of Essex was put under house arrest. On October 10, the countess gave Jane, who was already entrusted with the care of her jewelry, a casket of letters and asked her to hide it for her. Daniell found the casket under his bed and took some of the letters to have copies made. In January 1600, when the countess reclaimed the casket, she realized that there were letters missing. At first Daniell denied all knowledge of the letters, and chastised the countess for putting his wife in danger by hiding them. Lady Essex claimed the letters were only affectionate messages from her husband and that her only concern was that Essex might be angry with her for letting their contents be divulged, but it has always been supposed that they contained hints of something more dangerous, given that Framces was so desperate to get them back. Daniell next suggested that Jane’s maid, who had recently been dismissed, must have stolen the missing letters. He offered to retrieve them for the countess. In March, he informed her that she would have to pay him £3000 to have them back. He later justified this on the grounds that Lady Essex had never paid the dowry she promised Jane. Lady Essex sold her jewels to raise part of the money and gave Daniell £1720, but he gave her only the copies he’d had made, not her original letters. When Jane tried to persuade her husband to relinquish the originals, Daniell insisted it was only his love for her that kept him from turning them over to the authorities. The letters from Essex do not appear to have survived, but court records and letters between Jane Daniell and her husband are quoted by Violet Wilson in Society Women of Shakespeare’s Time. She gives The Egerton Papers and State Trials (edited by Jardine) as her sources. Wilson quotes one letter from Daniels, written from Richmond in reply to a letter from his wife: Jane, I am glad that the Countess of Essex made you acquainted where her letters are, which I was loath to have done. But now I think good to let you know that my decayed estate is more than I was willing you should be a partaker of; and although I meant to have delivered the Countess’ letters to her Majesty, yet if I can recover myself by them that have wrought my decay, I will for your sake, forbear my purpose; hoping the Countess will deal well with me, and recompense all my losses sustained by her and her Lord, then I will willingly satisfy her request in that behalf; otherwise I will deliver her letters to the Queen, as I was before determined, and so do bid you heartily farewell. By February 11, 1601, when the earl of Essex was tried for treason, he had already informed the authorities of the theft of the letters. On June 17, 1601, John Daniell was tried before the Court of the Star Chamber and found guilty. He was sentenced to be fined, imprisoned, and “set upon the pillory, with his ears thereunto nayled, with a paper on his head inscribed: For Forgery, Corrupte Cosenage, and other leude practises.” The fine was £3000, £2000 of which was to go to Lady Essex. At this time, Jane and John and their children were living in Parsonage House in Hackney. Once John was imprisoned, Jane and her children and servants moved to the gatehouse. On October 5, 1601, they were evicted and were not allowed to take their belongings with them. To support herself and her children, Jane entered service, although the name of the noblewoman or gentlewoman she served is not known. She was at court, where she had to endure taunts that she and her husband had caused Essex’s downfall by giving the letters to his rivals. John was released from the Fleet in 1604. In 1606, the family was living in Great Sanctuary, Westminster, where one of their neighbors, Thomas Chamberlayne, broke into their house and threatened them. More than once, the family was turned out of a house they had rented. During this period, both Jane and John wrote their own accounts of the events of 1599-1601. The Misfortunes of Jane Danyell exists only in manuscript form. On April 30, 1610, John died in their lodgings in Tothill Street, Westminster. By then, Daresbury had been returned to him. Administration of his estate was granted first to his brother Geoffrey and then to Jane.

Isabel (Elizabeth) Vargas or Vergas was one of Catherine of Aragon’s Spanish ladies. So was Blanche Vargas, who was probably her sister. On October 18, 1511, Isabel was listed as a chamberer to the queen, a position she still held on November 18, 1514. On January 3, 1517, she obtained letters of denizenation. At that time she was listed as one of the queen’s gentlewomen. Isabel received several gifts from the royal wardrobe. On October 18, 1511, it was a gown of damask furred with “miniver pure” and edged with lettice. On November 18, 1514, she received russet damask with edge, cuffs, and collar furred with mink and lined with calabre. Also in 1514, “Mistress Vergas” bought clothing and/or cloth from the yeoman of robes. In January 1517, she was given a gown of tawny satin furred in the “vents, purfil and cuffs” with lettice and lined with “miniver gross,” as well as a kirtle of green satin. Both Isabel and Blanche were with Catherine of Aragon when she died in 1536, along with Elizabeth Darrell. In her will, Catherine left Isabel £20, but it is doubtful she ever received this legacy. Testamenta Vestusta (vol. 1, p. 37) transcribes this bequest as going to “the Sabell of Vergas.”

ANNE VAUGHAN (c.1535-c.1595)
Anne Vaughan was the daughter of Stephen Vaughan (d. December 25, 1549) and his first wife, Margery Gwynneth or Guinet (d. October 1544). Vaughan’s second wife (d.1557) was also named Margery and was the widow of Henry Brinklow (d. January 20, 1545/6), a London mercer who was also famous as an evangelist and as a pamphleteer. Both Margery Vaughans were royal silkwomen. Anne’s stepmother is generally credited with providing Anne’s education and influencing her religious beliefs. Anne married Henry Locke (Lock; Lok) (d.1571), another London mercer. They had three sons and a daughter, including Henry (1553-1608), Michael, and Anne. By 1552, they were followers of John Knox. When Mary Tudor became queen, Knox was concerned about their safety and urged them to leave England. Locke remained in England but sent his wife and two youngest children to Geneva. They arrived there in May 1557 and remained until after Mary Tudor’s death. Some accounts say that the daughter died during their exile. Others indicate that she grew up and married, so perhaps it was the unnamed son who died. Thirteen letters from Knox to Anne, written between 1556 and 1562 are extant. Later, when she provided printer John Field with Knoxiana, rumormongers claimed that Knox had lured her away from her husband. In 1560, Anne translated John Calvin’s Sermons upon the Song that Ezechias made after he had been sick and afflicted by the Hand of God. In 1572, Anne married Edward Dering (1540-June 26, 1576), a preacher with Puritan leanings. In late 1573, Dering described his wife as “rich in grace and knowledge.” Dering died of tuberculosis at Thoby in Essex at the height of his fame. By 1583, Anne married an Exeter merchant named Richard Prouze or Prowse (d.1607). They had at least two sons. In 1590, her translation of John Taffin’s Of the Marks of the Children of God was published. Biographies: There is more information on the Locke family in Mary Prior, ed., Women in English Society 1500-1800; Oxford DNB entry under “Locke [née Vaughan; other married names Dering, Prowse], Anne.”




ELLEN VAUGHAN (d. 1597+)
Ellen Vaughan was a maidservant in the household of Richard and Mary Philips when she claimed that another member of the household, Alan Carr, had got her with child. According to the account given in Eleanor Hubbard’s City Women: Money, Sex & the Social Order in Early Modern London, Ellen and her fellow maidservant, Agnes Loveday, contrived to lock Carr in his room and then persuaded their employers to join them in coercing him into marrying Ellen. When Mary Philips asked a friend, Lady Dixon, for advice, that gentlewoman sent for the vicar, Mr. Smart, and once they had all gathered at the Philips house, Carr was freed and the ceremony took place. Shortly thereafter, Carr sued for a separation on the grounds the marriage had been forced and since there was no sign of a child, Richard and Mary Philips testified on his behalf that he had only agreed to the marriage for fear of punishment.

FRANCES VAUGHAN (c.1562-July 1647)
Frances Vaughan was the daughter of John Vaughan of Sutton-on-Derwent (d.1566+) and Anne Pickering (1514-1582) and a cousin of Blanche Parry. She was at court in 1578 as a maid of honor. In about 1582, she married Thomas, 5th baron Borough or Burgh of Gainsborough (1558-October 14, 1597). Their children were Anne (c.1583-before 1608), Frances (c.1586-before November 24, 1619), Robert (c.1594-February 26, 1602/3), Elizabeth (d.1603+), and Catherine (d. May 1, 1646). Lord Borough was a soldier and served as Governor of Brill during the war in Flanders. When he fell ill, Frances petitioned Queen Elizabeth to allow him to return to England. A number of her letters to various correspondents are still extant, giving a clear picture of her “distressed condition.” By the time Borough died, while serving as Lord Deputy of Ireland, he was deeply in debt. Frances and their five young children were left nearly penniless at Starborough Castle. Queen Elizabeth eventually granted her a pension of £400 a year. According to the unpublished PhD dissertation All the Queen’s Women: The Changing Place and Perception of Aristocratic Women in Elizabethan England 1558-1620 (1987) by Joan Barbara Greenbaum Goldsmith, “Lady Burrow” was often at court during the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign. She continued to petition for assistance. Letters she wrote to Sir Robert Cecil in 1599 and 1600 are preserved in the Cecil correspondence. In April 1608, she petitioned King James to recover £2000 to £3000 out of recusant lands. It was not the first time she had made such a petition and this one apparently fared no better than her earlier efforts. In 1625/6, she petitioned King Charles for redress when the pension Queen Elizabeth had granted her had not been paid for a year. Although Frances had a life interest in Starborough Castle, requiring the sale of ¼ of it and of several nearby manors in 1626 to revert to the buyer only after her death, she was unable to afford to live there. At some point in her widowhood, she moved to Westminster. She was buried in St. Margaret’s, Westminster on July 19, 1647.

Jane Vaughan was probably the daughter of Cuthbert Vaughan (c.1519-July 23, 1563) and Elizabeth Roydon (1523-August 19, 1595), even though they were noted puritans and she was a recusant. Jane married Thomas Wiseman of Braddocks, Essex (1528-December 7, 1585). Their children were William, Jane (c.1570-July 8, 1633), John (1571-1592), Thomas (1572-1596), Robert, Anne (d.1650), Barbara (d.1649), and Bridget (1582-1627). After her husband’s death, she lived at Braddocks with her son William (sometimes called Walter) and his wife. In January 1593, she was indicted for hearing mass there in September 1592. In December 1593, her house at Bullocks was searched for evidence that she’d been harboring priests. Although none were found, it is likely that it was at this point that she was imprisoned. By July 1594, the authorities had learned that all four of her daughters had been sent to the Continent to become nuns. Anne and Barbara joined the Bridgettines and both became abbesses. Jane and Bridget entered St. Ursula’s in Louvain and Jane later became the first prioress of that convent’s English offshoot, St. Monica’s. Since the Jesuit John Gerard was the Wiseman family chaplain in 1591, there was no question of Mrs. Wiseman’s guilt. While in prison, she associated with the priests being held there. In December 1595, she gave first aid to one of them. Charged with “helping and maintaining” priests, she was sentenced to death on July 3, 1598. She was reportedly eager to become a martyr, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison. When James I took the throne, she was pardoned. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Wiseman [née Vaughan], Jane.”


KATHERINE VAUGHAN (c.1555-1605+)
Katherine Vaughan was the daughter of Rowland Vaughan of Porthaml, Breconshire (c.1525-1566) and Elizabeth Parry (d.1566+). She married Sir Robert Knollys (c.1547-January 1619), fourth son of Sir Francis Knollys, one of Queen Elizabeth’s chief councillors. Their children were Frances and Lettice. Knollys was involved in lawsuits over property against Katherine’s relative, Blanche Parry, the queen’s confidante. In Blanceh’s will, dated June 21, 1589 and proved March 5, 1590, she left Katherine “a girdle of friar’s knots of gold with a jewel of masonry work set with stones, two pair of Holland sheets, to pair of pillow-beres, a tablecloth of damask imagery, a towel and a dozen napkins of the same, and two hundred pounds in money.” Katherine and her husband lived at Porthaml and in St. Martin’s Lane, London. The East Sussex Records Office holds a document relating to their daughter Frances’s proposed marriage to Charles Vaughan, dated April 20, 1605, and indicates that Katherine was still living at that time.

MARGARET VAUGHAN (c.1540-1619)
Margaret Vaughan was the daughter of Charles Vaughan of Hergest, Kington, Herefordshire and Elizabeth Baskerville. She was said to have been one of the women of Queen Elizabeth’s bedchamber but what position she held is not clear. Sometime after his first wife’s death in 1591, she married Sir John Hawkins (1532-November 12, 1595). In March 1595, just before the voyage on which her husband perished, she sent for Simon Forman the astrologer to have a horoscope made. Lady Hawkins seems to have maintained her contacts with the court. In 1601, when Mary Fittonwas about to give birth to an illegitimate child, she was sent to Lady Hawkins for keeping. The child’s father was sent to the Fleet. Lady Hawkins lived primarily in London, in Mincing Lane, although she had properties elsewhere. At the time Sir John died, his son, Richard Hawkins, had been a prisoner in Spain for some two years. His ransom had been set at £12,000. Sir John left £3000 in his will to contribute toward that amount. Richard, still a prisoner in June 1602, accused his stepmother of interfering with the payment of this money. He returned to England in January of 1603. Margaret made a detailed will on April 23, 1619. It was proved on January 4, 1620. She endowed a school, left money and jewelry to a considerable number of relatives and friends, including the countess of Leicester and Lady Mary Wroth, and asked to be buried in St. Dunstans in the East in London “near the monument there erected for my late beloved husband.”




Sybil Vaughan was the daughter of Watkin Vaughan of Hergest, Herefordshire and Elizabeth Baskerville. In 1511, she married John Scudamore of Holme Lacy, Herefordshire (d. September 25, 1571). Their children were William (1514-1560), Katherine, Joan, Sybil, Richard (d.1586), Elizabeth, Philip (d.1602), Jane, and John (d. January 29, 1599/1600). Portrait: tomb effigy in St. Cuthbert’s Church, Holme Lacy.


ALICE VAUX (d.1543)
Alice Vaux was the daughter of Nicholas Vaux (later baron Vaux) of Harrowden, Northamptonshire (c.1460-May 14, 1523) and Elizabeth FitzHugh. In 1501, she married Richard Sapcote or Sapcott of Elton, Huntingdonshire (1483-July 9, 1542), as his third wife. She was probably the mother of his son William, although some genealogies give her no children. Alice is sometimes called Anne, but Anne Vaux was her sister. Alice Vaux may have been the Mrs. Sapcote in the household of Princess Mary Tudor in 1509.

ANNE VAUX (1494-1548+)
Anne Vaux was the daughter of Nicholas Vaux (later baron Vaux) of Harrowden, Northamptonshire (c.1460-May 14, 1523) and Elizabeth FitzHugh. In 1501, when she was seven and he was ten, she married Thomas Le Strange of Hunstanton Hall (1494-January 16, 1545). Their son, Nicholas (d.1580), was born between 1511 and 1513. Their other children were Richard, William, Roger, Henry, Thomas, William, Edmund, Elizabeth, Alice, Anne, Katherine, and Mary. In 1515, Thomas inherited Hunstanton Hall in Norfolk from a cousin. In 1519, when Anne gave birth to her third or fourth child at Hunstanton, her own mother was dead and her mother-in-law had remarried and moved away, leaving it to two of her husband’s aunts, Lady Woodhouse (née Elizabeth Radcliffe, daughter of Sir Thomas’s grandmother by her second husband) and Anne Banyard, to attend her for the three weeks leading up to the birth. After her eldest son’s marriage to Ellen Fitzwilliam in 1528, Anne’s daughter-in-law gave birth to all of her children at Hunstanton with Anne in attendance. When her husband was at court, where he was a supporter of the divorce of Catherine of Aragon, Anne remained in Norfolk to manage the estate. She did not travel far from home, but she frequently entertained. Guests included a wide assortment of relatives and friends. Among her visitors in 1526 was Elizabeth Howard, Lady Boleyn, mother of the future queen, who accompanied her kinswoman, Anne Shelton Knyvett. Records of expenses at Hunstanton survive and can be found in Daniel Guerney’s “Extracts from the Household and Privy Purse Accounts of the LeStranges of Hunstanton,” Archaeologia 24 (1834), 411-569. Details given here come from Barbara J. Harris’s summary of this material in English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550.

ANNE VAUX (July 1562-c.1637)
Anne Vaux was the youngest daughter of William Vaux, 3rd baron Vaux of Harrowden (August 14, 1535-August 20, 1595) and Elizabeth Beaumont (d. August 1562). From 1571, Elizabeth and her siblings lived at Grace Dieu, Leicestershire with their maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Beaumont (née Hastings). By an arrangement made in February of that year, their father agreed to pay Thomas Thresham, his brother-in-law, an annuity of £100 a year for fifteen years for each of his three daughters by his first wife. In return, Tresham would give each of them £500 as a marriage portion.Vaux also promised to pay £10 a year toward the upkeep and educational expenses of each girl for a period of ten years. Despite chronic ill health that sometimes rendered her speechless. Anne was a dedicated recusant. She used the alias “Mrs. Perkins” to hire houses for use as meeting places for missionary priests. On occasion, she impersonated her sister, Eleanor Brooksby, who was exceedingly timid, when confronting the authorities. In Michaelmas term 1593, Anne sued Thomas Thresham for her marriage portion. Tresham had refused the pay the £500 because her father had failed to pay all fifteen installments of £100 to Tresham. Anne’s uncle, Francis Beaumont, defended her interests. Tresham was particularly annoyed because Anne paid her lawyers with money he had loaned her and because she did not drop the suit after he was imprisoned in the Fleet. She also accused him of defrauding her sister Elizabeth by sending her to a nunnery instead of finding her a husband. On November 2, 1594, they met so that Anne could, as ordered by the court, apologize for her behavior and ask him for her portion, which he was then required to give her. Anne was arrested when the Gunpowder Plot was uncovered but released soon after. At one point it was thought that she was the one who sent a letter to Lord Monteagle, warning him of the plot, but this is unlikely. She was arrested again the following March and this time confined in the Tower of London. She was released in August 1606. She and her sister Eleanor lived quietly at Shoby, Leicestershire for some years but were arrested for recusancy in 1625. After Eleanor’s death, Anne moved to Stanley Grange, Derbyshire, which became a center of Jesuit activities in England and the site of a school for the sons of the Catholic gentry. Biographies: Oxford DNB entry under “Vaux, Anne;” Jessie Childs, God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England (especially the chapter titled “The Widow and the Virgin”).


ELEANOR VAUX (c.1560-1625)
Eleanor Vaux was the daughter of William Vaux, 3rd baron Vaux of Harrowden (August 14, 1535-August 20, 1595) and Elizabeth Beaumont (d. August 1562). According to Jessie Childs in God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England, it is Eleanor Edmund Campion refers to in a letter to her brother Henry in the summer of 1570, when he calls her “your rival in study and in work. She shares the same intellectual interests and I warn you that if you underrate her now, even a little bit, and take things easy, she will achieve renown before and triumph over you.” Campion predicted that “you and your sister will be a matchless pair; you will reach the delights you so eagerly seek for, you will shine with marvellous lustre, you will be filled with the desire to do your duty and act generously, and you will be surrounded by fame and affection in the sight of all men.” From 1571, Elizabeth and her siblings lived at Grace Dieu, Leicestershire with their maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Beaumont (née Hastings). By an arrangement made in February of that year, their father agreed to pay Thomas Thresham, his brother-in-law, an annuity of £100 a year for fifteen years for each of his three daughters by his first wife. In return, Tresham would give each of them £500 as a marriage portion.Vaux also promised to pay £10 a year toward the upkeep and educational expenses of each girl for a period of ten years. In about 1577, Eleanor married Edward Brooksby of Shoby, Leicestershire (d.1581), but Tresham only paid £160 of her dowry. They had two children, William (d. June 1606) and Mary (c.1579-1628). Shortly after Brooksby’s death, Eleanor adopted a motherless cousin, Frances Burroughs (1576-March 3, 1637). At that point she was living in the manor house of Great Ashby, part of her jointure. Her sister, Anne, lived with her. Their third sister, Elizabeth, was smuggled out of England in 1582 and became a Poor Clare at Rouen. From 1586, Jesuit Henry Garnet was a regular member of Eleanor’s household, which by that time was situated in Warwickshire. After his arrest, Eleanor and her sister Anne moved frequently, continuing to help hide priests while narrowly avoiding arrest. In 1621, the translator of The Widows Glass, praised her “long, constant & most exemplar profession of that noble and worthy state of chaste widowhood.” In 1625, she was convicted of recusancy at Leicester and fined £240, but she never paid the fine. She died later that same year. Her adopted daughter, Frances Burroughs, became a nun. Biographies: Oxford DNB entry under “Brooksby [née Vaux], Eleanor;” Jessie Childs, God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England (especially the chapters titled “The Widow and the Virgin”and “Mrs. Brooksby’s Household”).

Elizabeth Vaux was the daughter of Thomas Vaux of Catterlen, Cumbria, comptroller of the household to Henry VIII. She married Henry Bowyer of Cuckfield, Sussex (d. September 1588), gentleman and ironmaster. Their children were Thomas, Francis, Henry (d.1606), Anne, and Mary. Her husband built Cuckfield Park between 1574 and 1581 and eventually held almost 1,000 acres in the area, as well as other properties. The family had Puritan leanings. Chapter Three of David Cressy’s Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England is devoted to a case in which Elizabeth and her husband played major roles. In 1577, they had a domestic servant named Mercy Gould. She had formerly been a servant to Edmund Curteys, vicar of Cuckfield, and his wife Joan. Mercy became pregnant and by the end of March 1578 her condition was obvious. She was dismissed from service and taken in by a neighbor, Goodwife Boniface, who had also formerly been in service to the Bowyers. Goody Boniface sent her boy to Mrs. Bowyer to ask for some dragon water to treat someone who had fallen sick in her house and was feared to have the plague. This remedy, while believed to be a precaution against plague, also had side effects that could have caused the early delivery and death of Mercy Gould’s child. Mercy was very ill when she gave birth on April 18, 1578. The child was born dead and buried in the fields by John Boniface. Several local women, including Elizabeth Bowyer, swore to the fact that the death of the child had been natural and this “confession of Mercy Gould” was sent to London. At about the same time, the Bowyers were attempting to get rid of the vicar, probably over religious differences. By March 1579, Secretary of State Sir Francis Walsingham had decided that Curteys should be replaced, but that same spring, conflicting testimony was gathered and submitted to the authorities concerning Mercy Gould and her bastard child. In this version, Elizabeth Bowyer was accused of poisoning Mercy Gould by giving her a potion intended to cause an abortion. Joan Curteys and her supporters had questioned Mercy and got her to name the father of the child—John Orgle, a servant to Henry Bowyer—and to state that the drink Mrs. Bowyer had given her “was a cruel hot drink . . . which provoked me oftentimes to be delivered of my child.” Mercy claimed that no one else in the house except another maid named Agnes had been given this preventive for the plague. “These words with others unmeet to be set down, the said Mercy Gould spake, as the said women have witnessed, and also will testify their oaths whensoever they shall be called thereunto.” As David Cressy summarizes it, “The Curteys group intimated that Mrs. Bowyer was a liar, an abortionist, and keeper of a disorderly household, while the Bowyer faction charged Edmund Curteys with disabling deficiencies as a priest.” The dispute continued until July 1581. Although the Privy Council was told that Mrs. Bowyer was anxious to present written testimony and be cleared, by that time Curteys had been discredited and replaced as vicar and the matter was not pursued. Portrait: memorial brass in Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield.


JOAN or JANE VAUX (c.1463-September 4, 1538)
Joan Vaux, better known as “Mother Guildford,” was the daughter of Sir William Vaux (d. May 4, 1471) and Katherine Penyson (1440-1509+). She was a protégée of Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond (Henry VII’s mother). In 1489, she married Sir Richard Guildford (1455-September 6, 1506) as his second wife. Their only child was Sir Henry Guildford (1489-1532). Both the king and queen attended the wedding. Joan was in the household of Elizabeth of York and by 1499 had become “lady governess” to Margaret and Mary Tudor. She met the great scholar and philosopher Erasmus when he visited the royal children and apparently impressed him during the two conversations she had with him. In 1519, he referred to Joan in a letter to her son, Henry Guildford, as “the noble lady your Mother” and wished her happiness and prosperity. Joan was again in Elizabeth of York’s service when Catherine of Aragon married Prince Arthur in 1501. Many years later, when Henry VIII was attempting to divorce Catherine, Joan gave a deposition concerning whether or not Catherine’s marriage to Arthur had been consummated. She reported that they had spent their wedding night together in the same bed, from her personal knowledge, and that she had heard from Queen Elizabeth herself that Arthur and Catherine “lay together in bed as man and wife all alone five or six nights after the said marriage.” Joan’s husband, in a move most unusual at that time, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When he died there, he was deeply in debt. The previous year he had lost his post as controller of the king’s household due to poor management of money and had spent six months in the Fleet before being released by the king’s order. He was pardoned just before he left England. As his widow, Joan was again one of Margaret Beaufort’s ladies in 1509. By 1510 she had retired and was living on a small pension in a house in Blackfriars. That same year she inherited a life interest in second house, this one in Southwark, “with my lease, which I have of my Lord of Winchester,” along with lands in Norfolk and Suffolk, from Sir Thomas Brandon. The latter were “for life, she to pay my nephew, William Sidney, twenty marks a year.” Joan leased the Southwark house back to Brandon’s principal heir, Charles Brandon. Lady Guildford was called out of retirement to travel to France with Mary Tudor in 1514. Her dismissal by King Louis, along with most of Mary’s English attendants, on the day after the French wedding ceremony, caused a furor. In particular, Mary objected to sending her “Mother Guildford” away. On October 12, in a letter to  Cardinal Wolsey, Mary wrote “I have not yet seen in France any lady or gentleman so necessary for me as she is.” Upon Lady Guildford’s return to England, she resumed her retirement. In 1515, she was granted two pensions by the king totaling £60 per annum. In 1519, she was granted for life an annual gift of a tun of duty-free Gascon wine. She also received several New Year’s gifts from the king, including a garter with a gold buckle and pendant in 1531/2. She may have returned to court as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine. Before February 20, 1522, she married Anthony Poyntz (c.1480-December 1532). After his death, Joan spent some of her time at the house of the black friars called Gaunts in Bristol (some sources call this the Hospital of St. Mark). A proposed injunction forbidding women to come within the precincts led to a letter from Lady Guildford to Lord Cromwell, written from Hill on September 6, 1535. Gaunts, she wrote, was where she had “a lodging most meetest, as I have chosen, for a poor window to serve God now in my old days.” She asked for an exception to be made to the new rules for herself and her women. The reply is missing, but in 1536 the Hospital of St. Mark was suppressed. Joan’s primary lodgings continued to be in Blackfriars. On September 9, 1538, she was one of the last people to be buried in the convent of the Blackfriars. In her will, dated August 30 and proved September 18, 1538, she left bequests to a cousin (Sir William Penison), a niece (Bridget Walsh), her nephew (the Lord Vaux—she left him her book of French and her “hanging of tapestry that has his arms”), and her fool (Maud). Her ready money, plate, and jewels were valued at 12,000 marks.

KATHERINE VAUX (c.1489-1571)
Katherine Vaux was the daughter of Nicholas, 1st baron Vaux of Harrowden (c.1460-May 14, 1523) and Elizabeth FitzHugh. She married Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton, Warwickshire (d. August 6, 1552). Their nineteen children included Robert (c.1510-February 12, 1581), Kenelm (c.1512-c1587), Nicholas (1515/16-1571), Clement (c.1516-1573), John (d. May 22, 1580), Elizabeth, Anthony, Mary, Anne (c.1532-December 21, 1553), George, Catherine, Margaret, and several others who died young. The couple spent years rebuilding their house at Coughton. In 1535, Sir George wrote to Thomas Cromwell that he and his wife had lived in Buckinghamshire for most of that year because “the great part” of Coughton was “taken down.” A devout Catholic, Katherine ruled over the household at Coughton long after her eldest son succeeded to the property. Portraits: date unknown (formerly identified as Katherine Vaux but now called an unknown lady by the National Trust); brass in Coughton church showing her with her eight sons and eleven daughters.



MERILL VAUX  (January 28, 1570-1598+)
Merill (Muriel/Merial) Vaux was the daughter of William Vaux, 3rd baron Vaux of Harrowden (August 14, 1535-August 20, 1595) and his second wife, Mary Tresham (c.1542- December 29, 1597). She was probably brought up by her uncle, Thomas Tresham, at Hoxton, while her father was imprisoned for recusancy. She was there on August 27, 1584, when pursuivants raided the house and confiscated Catholic books and images. In around 1590, Tresham was negotiating a match for her with a Mr. Lovell but it came to nothing. Tresham, thought his niece “worthy the saluting” in 1593, the same year in which Lady Tresham wrote to Merill (on May 8) to warn her to obey the new law that forbade recusants to travel more than five miles from their homes without a license. In September 1597 she scandalized the family by marrying Tresham’s servant, George Fulshurst, described by Tresham afterward as “a land-lopper, a very beggar and bankroot base fellow.” To obtain her dowry of £1,700, which Tresham controlled, Merill and her new husband had to take him to court. Tresham ended up in Fleet Prison over the issue. He blamed this “so wicked mismatching herself” for Lady Vaux’s death soon after.


ANN VAVASOUR (c.1560-c.1650)
Ann Vavasour was the daughter of Henry Vavasour of Tadcaster, Copmanthorpe, Yorkshire and Margaret Knyvett. She came to court as a gentlewoman of the bedchamber, probably sometime in 1580, and on March 23, 1581 scandalized everyone by giving birth to an illegitimate child in the maidens’ chamber. The father was Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604), who was married. The pregnancy had been hidden right up until the birth. The next day, together with the child, named Edward (d. August 18, 1629) after his father, Ann was imprisoned in the Tower. The date of her release is not known, but by 1588 she was free. By 1590, she married a sea captain named John Finch (d.1621+), about whom little is known, and had taken a second aristocratic lover, Sir Henry Lee (1533-February 12, 1611). In Elizabethan Women and the Poetry of Courtship, Ilona Bell argues convincingly that Ann wrote the poem “Thoughe I Seame Straunge” to Henry Lee in 1590 to tell him she was ready to leave her husband and live with him. She had a second illegitimate child, Thomas Vavasour, alias Freeman, by Lee. In 1605, Lee pensioned off John Finch, granting him an annuity of £20. By all accounts, Lee looked on Ann as his wife, leaving her in his will an income of £700 a year, the use of a house, and money to pay for her burial with him at Quarrendon, Buckinghamshire. The tomb he erected there was for both of them. The church stepped in, however, to object to this plan. By 1618, Ann married John Richardson, but because John Finch was still alive, Ann was charged with bigamy and brought before the High Commission on August 8, 1618. This case dragged on until February 1, 1622, when Ann was ordered to pay a fine of £2000. She should have been obliged to perform public penance as well, but was granted a dispensation. Ann is said to have been over ninety years old when she died. She did not marry Sir Richard Warburton (d.1610). He was the husband of another, younger Anne Vavasour (d. 1646). Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Vavasour [married names Finch: Richardson], Anne.” Portraits: attributed to John de Critz, c.1605; attributed to Robert Peake (National Trust, Hatchlands).

Anne Vavasour was the daughter of Sir Thomas Vavasour of Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire and Ham, Surrey (1560-1620) and Mary Dodge and the niece of the more notorious Ann Vavasour, with whom she is sometimes confused. She was referred to by Anne Clifford as her cousin, but this covers a multitude of possible relationships. Anne Vavasour was brought up in the household of the Lucy, countess of Bedford. From 1601 until the death of Queen Elizabeth, she was a chamberer to the queen. She attended the queen’s funeral and received a pension of £66 13s. 4d. from King James. In 1603, she married Sir Richard Warburton of Arley, Cheshire and London (c.1550-1610). They had at least one child, a son named Cecil. Anne was granted administration of Warburton’s estate on January 27, 1610.


FRANCES VAVASOUR (1568-c.1606)
Frances Vavasour was the daughter of Henry Vavasour of Tadcaster, Copmansthorpe,Yorkshire, and Margaret Knyvett and the younger sister of Ann Vavasour. Frances came to court as a maid of honor around 1590, when “our new maid, Mistress Vavasour” was said to “flourisheth like the lily and the rose.” By 1591, she was romantically involved with Sir Robert Dudley. Later that year, he married Mary Cavendish while Frances secretly wed Sir Thomas Sherley or Shirley (1565-1633). They had at least three sons and four daughters (some sources say five sons), including Cheyney (d.yng.), Henry (d.1627), and Thomas (b. June 30, 1597). Before the marriage was revealed in September 1591, Sherley publicly courted Frances Brooke, the widowed Lady Stourton, as if he were free to marry her. Sherley was imprisoned until the spring of 1592 as punishment for his deceitful behavior. In 1606, after Frances’s death, Dudley claimed he had married her around 1591 and thus had never been legally married to either Mary Cavendish or his second wife, Alice Leigh. Dudley was trying to free himself from this second marriage in order to wed his mistress, Elizabeth Southwell, with whom he had eloped to the Continent. A. L. Rowse, in Sex and Society in Shakespeare’s Age records a visit to Dr. Simon Forman the astrologer by a Frances Vavasour, age 29, in July 1600, to inquire who she would marry. This seems odd, since her husband was still living.


INEZ DE VENEGAS (1475-1514)
Inez de Venegas/Agnes de Vanegas was one of Catherine of Aragon’s Spanish ladies and was with her from the time Catherine was eleven and was assigned six “damas” of her own. Inez’s mother, also Inez (or Ynes) was governess to Catherine and her sister Maria. On July 30, 1509, Inez married William Blount, Lord Mountjoy (1479-November 8, 1534), as his second of four wives. They had no surviving children. At the time of their marriage, King Henry VIII wrote on her behalf to Ferdinand of Aragon to help her claim a legacy from Ferdinand’s  late wife, Isabella of Castile.

JANE VERDON (d. February 1521+)
Jane (or Joan) Verdon is listed on one genealogy site as the daughter of “Richard Verdun, lord Grey of Wiston,” but there is no such title. She married Thomas Ilam (d.1482), a London mercer. They had a daughter, Margaret (1467-1502+), who in 1479  married John Shaa, a goldsmith who was later Lord Mayor of London. Jane married Sir Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers of Chartley (c.1432-August 22, 1485) as his second wife. There is a reference in a record in the PRO to “Jane, now lady Ferrers, late the wife of the said Ilam” in connection with an obligation given to Ilam when he was sheriff of London in 1479-80. Ferrers was killed at Bosworth fighting for Richard III, attainted for treason posthumously, and stripped of all his possessions. In 1486, at Weobley Castle, Worcestershire, Jane married Thomas Vaughan of Bredwardine, Herefordshire (d.1493). They may have had a daughter, Elizabeth (d. January 15, 1515). Jane continued to call herself Lady Ferrers. Jane later married Sir Edward Blount of Sodington, Worcestershire (c.1454-July 6, 1499). They had no children. The manor of Sodington was settled on her at the time of their marriage. He was buried in nearby Mamble Church. In his will, he calls Jane “Lady Johane Ferres my wif.” Before June 11, 1500, Jane married Thomas Poyntz of Alderley, Gloucestershire. They were involved in several lawsuits during their marriage and were included on the pardon roll at the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. On October 19, 1520, they were both mentioned in the will of Robert Poyntz, brother of Thomas. The Gloucestershire archives contain a lease for the manor of Alderley dated 26 February, 12 Henry VIII (1521), by which Sir Anthony Poyntz of Frampton Cotterell was to pay an annual rent of £20 for four years, unless Lady Ferrers, wife of Thomas Poyntz of Alderley, died within that time.



BRIDGET de VERE (April 6, 1584-c.1630)
Bridget de Vere was the daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604) and Ann Cecil (December 5,1556-June 5,1588). She was brought up by her grandfather, Lord Burghley. In 1597, when she was thirteen, he intended that she marry William Herbert, heir to the earl of Pembroke. Pembroke refused the match when Burghley balked at immediate payment of an annuity. Bridget and her younger sister Susan lived at Theobalds until Burghley’s death in August 1598 and remained there afterward until October. In April 1599, she was at Chenies with Bridget Hussey, dowager countess of Rutland and Bedford, awaiting her marriage to the countess’s grandson, Francis Norris of Rycote, Oxfordshire (July 6,1579-January 29,1622). There was discord between Bridget and her husband as early as November 1599. In March 1603, they went north together to greet the new queen, Anne of Denmark. They had one child, Elizabeth (c.1603-November 1645) but had separated by May 1606, when Bridget was living with Sir Walter Cope and his family in Kensington. She miscarried in June. Bridget afterward went to Lancashire to live with her sister Elizabeth, countess of Derby. In 1608, Norris tried to disinherit his daughter but Bridget’s uncle, Robert Cecil, convinced him to abandon the plan. In 1621, Norris was created earl of Berkshire. He was contemplating divorce when he committed the crime of elbowing Lord Scrope in the presence of royalty and was sent to the Fleet. Upon his release, he went home to Rycote and killed himself using a crossbow. Or, he shot himself in the Fleet and went home to die. Sources do not agree. His estate was then forfeit to the Crown. There was a rumor of a marriage between the widowed countess of Berkshire and Sir Philip Mainwaring, but it apparently never materialized. The Oxford DNB says she married Sir Hugh Pollard of Eggesford and King’s Nympton, Devon (November 1603-1666) and says they had a daughter. Bridget died between December 1630 and March 1631. Portraits: effigy on the tomb of her mother and grandmother in Westminster Abbey.


DOROTHY de VERE (d. February 7, 1526/7)
Dorothy de Vere was the daughter of Sir George de Vere (1447-August 1500) and Margaret Stafford. In about 1518, Dorothy married John Neville (November 17, 1493-March 2, 1543), heir to the second baron Latimer. Their children were John, 4th baron (c.1520-April 22, 1577) and Margaret (c.1526-1546). Dorothy is likely to have been the Lady Neville at Richmond with Princess Mary in 1520, when most of the court was in France at the Field of Cloth of Gold. She was the sister and coheiress of John de Vere, 14th earl of Oxford (August 14, 1499-July 14, 1526).

ELIZABETH de VERE (1488-November 1559)
Elizabeth de Vere was the daughter of Sir George de Vere (1447-August 1500) and Margaret Stafford. In 1508, she married Anthony Wingfield of Letherington, Suffolk (1485-1552). They had seven sons and three daughters, including Elizabeth, Charles, Robert (1509-March 19, 1596/7), Richard (1515-August 1591), Anthony (d.1593), Henry, Mary, and Margaret. She was the sister and coheiress of John de Vere, 14th earl of Oxford (August 14, 1499-July 14, 1526). In October 1529, with her sister Ursula Knightley, Elizabeth made an agreement with Anne (née Howard), dowager countess of Oxford, over claims that had been submitted at arbitration. In her will, dated July 28, 1557 and proved November 13, 1559, she left various household goods to four of her children. The will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com.

ELIZABETH de VERE (1511-December 26, 1565)
Elizabeth de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 15th earl of Oxford (1490-March 21, 1540) and Elizabeth Trussell (1496-c.1527). She married Sir Thomas Darcy of Wivenhoe, Essex (December 4, 1506-June 28, 1558) as his second wife. He was later created first baron Darcy of Cliche. Their children were John (1525-March 3, 1581/2), Constance, Robert, Arthur, Richard, Elizabeth, and Thomasine. On August 30, 1552, Lady Darcy traveled from St. Osyth Priory to Ingatestone Hall with a retinue of some thirty persons and was entertained there by Lady Petre (Anne Browne) for two days. At that time, both their husbands were members of the Privy Council. Lady Darcy wrote her will, in her own hand, in 1564, and left it in a coffer in her lodging at Master Tuke’s house in Layer Marney. She fell ill and died while visiting her daughter Constance, wife of Edmund Pyrton. The will, which was proved December 29, 1565 left her daughter Thomasine mourning apparel, 100 marks if she was still unmarried, a flower of diamonds, Lady Darcy’s best edge of pearl, and several items of bedding.

ELIZABETH de VERE (July 2, 1575-March 10,1627)
Elizabeth de Vere was the daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604) and Ann Cecil (December 5,1556-June 5,1588). She was brought up by her grandfather, Lord Burghley, and went to court as a maid of honor in 1590. Burghley wanted her to marry Henry Wriothesley, 3rd earl of Southampton, whose wardship he held. In 1591 Wriothesley refused to wed her and was fined £5000. That same year, a marriage was considered with the earl of Bedford and in 1592 the earl of Northumberland entered the running, but Elizabeth did not “fancye” him. On January 26, 1595, she married William Stanley, 6th earl of Derby (1561-September 29, 1642) at Greenwich in the presence of Queen Elizabeth. They waited to be sure his sister-in-law’s posthumous child would be a girl, making his title secure, before they wed. The wedding is sometimes given the date of June 26, 1594, and is mentioned as the possible occasion for the first performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Their children were James, 7th earl of Derby (January 31,1606/7-October 15,1651), Elizabeth (d. yng.), Robert (d.1632), Anne (d. February 15,1657), and another Elizabeth (d. yng.). As early as May 1595, Elizabeth was rumored to be having an affair with the earl of Essex. These rumors flared up again in late 1596 and again in the summer of 1597. In August 1597, Lord Burghley intervened. By one account, Elizabeth and her husband separated in 1598 but were reconciled in 1599. Johanna Rickman in Love, Lust and License in Early Modern England has Elizabeth leaving court for Lancashire in July 1597 and remaining there for several years. According to her, Elizabeth arrived at Knowsley on July 28, and Derby received letters from court on August 8, telling him about her affair with Essex. He flew into a rage but, within a few days, loyal servants had prevailed upon him to reconcile with his wife. Lady Derby later returned to court. David C. Price, in Patrons and Musicians of the English Renaissance cites a 1602 letter from William Browne to Gilbert Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, in which he says that Lady Derby aroused the queen’s jealousy by wearing a locket containing a miniature of Sir Robert Cecil around her neck and that Cecil had to write lyrics to a song to appease the queen. Robert Hayes, royal lutenist, wrote the music. Why this should make the queen jealous is unclear. Derby was the patron of a company of players and at one point c.1597-9 had Elizabeth write to her uncle, Sir Robert Cecil, asking that the company not be barred from playing in their usual places. Lady Derby went on to become a lady in waiting in Queen Anne of Denmark’s “drawing chamber” by February 1604. She left before the birth of her son in January 1606/7 and did not return. Portraits: unknown artist; effigy on the tomb of her mother and grandmother in Westminster Abbey.



FRANCES de VERE (1517-June 30, 1577)
Frances de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 15th earl of Oxford (1490-March 21,1540) and Elizabeth Trussell (1496-c.1527). She had no fortune, but in April 1532, she married Henry Howard, earl of Surrey (1517-x.January 19,1547). They lived apart until 1535 because of their youth. Alison Weir in Henry VIII: The King and his Court, states that Anne Boleyn arranged the match over the objections of the duchess of Norfolk and that Frances was at court as one of Anne’s ladies from 1533. She was also at court when Catherine Howard was queen, but not, apparently, afterward. Catherine gave her a brooch set with tiny diamonds and rubies. According to one of her grandsons’ biographers, Frances, in common with her more famous husband, wrote poetry. Her children were clever and well educated, although Frances did not have charge of their education. They were Jane (1537?-1593), Thomas (March 10, 1538-June 2,1572), Catherine (1539?-April 7,1596), Henry (February 1540-1614), and Margaret (January 1543-March 17,1592). Frances miscarried in 1547, the year her husband was executed for treason. She was ill for some time afterward. Robert Hutchinson in House of Treason says Frances gave birth to her daughter Jane three weeks after Surrey was executed and Catherine was the eldest daughter. W. A. Sessions in Henry Howard The Poet Earl of Surrey gives the birth order as Thomas (March 12, 1536), Henry (February 25, 1538), Jane, Catherine, and Margaret (1547). By 1553, Frances married Thomas Steyning (d. c. 1582). Their two children were Henry and Mary (d.1596). They lived at the manor of Earl Sohamnear Framlingham Castle, returned to her from her first husband’s estate by Edward VI. She was granted nine manors by the duke of Norfolk, her father-in-law, after his restoration in 1553. They were worth £353/year. In July 1554, Frances represented Queen Mary at the christening of the French ambassador’s son and in December 1557 she was chief mourner at the funeral of her sister-in-law, Mary Howard. She was also chief mourner for her daughter-in-law, Margaret Audley, on January 17, 1563. In 1576, she received a valuable lease from Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, her grandson. She died at Earl Soham. Portrait: sketch by Hans Holbein, 1535.

KATHERINE de VERE (c.1541-January 17, 1600)
Katherine de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 16th earl of Oxford (1512-August 3, 1562) and his first wife, Dorothy Neville (1515-c. January 1548). On February 1, 1548, while still a child, she was promised in marriage to the duke of Somerset’s son, Henry Seymour, age seven. This marriage contract was cancelled after Somerset’s execution. Katherine married Edward, 3rd baron Windsor (1532-January 24, 1575). Their children were Frederick, 4th baron (February 2, 1559-December 24, 1585), Henry, 5th baron (August 10, 1562-April 6, 1605), Andrew (d.1598+), Edward (d.1598+), William (1566-before 1598), Catherine (c.1567-December 15, 1640), and Margaret (d.1598+). After her father’s death, Katherine brought suit against her half brother, claiming that his mother’s marriage to her father had not been valid because there had been a precontract between her father and Katherine’s lady-in-waiting, Dorothy Fosser. Katherine’s will, written February 14, 1598, can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com. She died at Hewell in Worcestershire and was buried at Tardebigge. Portraits: alone, 1567; with her family, 1568 (both by the Master of the Countess of Warwick).


MARY de VERE (1554-June 24, 1624)
Mary de Vere was the daughter of John de Vere, 16th earl of Oxford (1512-August 3, 1562) and his second wife, Margery Golding (1525-December 2, 1568). She was sworn in as a maid of honor in January 1573/4. Soon after, she was reported to be planning to marry “Lord Garrat.” This was probably Gerald Fitzgerald (1559-1580), Lord Offaly, son of the 11th earl of Kildare. By July 1577, Mary was being courted by Peregrine Bertie (October 12, 1555-June 25, 1601). Both families objected to the match, but by December Bertie’s mother, Catherine Willoughby, duchess of Suffolk, had been won over. The couple wed early in 1578, as evidenced by a letter written by the duchess in March. Theor children were a daughter who died young, Peregrine (d. November 13, 1639), Henry (d. November 21, 1655), Vere (1581-September 13, 1614), Robert (December 16, 1582-October 23, 1642), Roger (1584-1611), Ambrose, and Sophia (1586-February 15, 1610/11). There were some initial difficulties, but after Bertie succeeded his mother and became 11th baron Willoughby d’Eresby in 1580, they seem to have been worked out. They lived in the Barbican in London. In 1582, when Bertie went to Denmark as ambassador, Mary stayed behind in England. In 1586, their second daughter was to be named Sophia after the queen of Denmark, but there was some confusion over gaining permission for the name from Queen Elizabeth and the child ended up being given the name Sophia by one godmother and Katherine by the other. A number of letters from and about Mary are extant and several are reprinted in Cecily Goff’s biography of Catherine Willoughby, A Woman of the Tudor Age. Mary had separated from her husband before his death and is not mentioned in the will he made in August 1599. Mary married Sir Eustace Hart of Highgate, London (d. September 18, 1634) in 1605. They separated in 1622.


SUSAN de VERE (May 26, 1587-January 1629)
Susan de Vere was the daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th earl of Oxford (April 12,1550-June 24,1604) and Ann Cecil (December 5,1556-June 5,1588). She was brought up by her grandfather, Lord Burghley, at Theobalds until his death in 1598. He left her a dowry of £4000, if she married an earl. In 1599, she spent some time in the care of Bridget Hussey, dowager countess of Bedford and Rutland. In 1601, Dorothy, Lady Morison, approached her, without the permission of her uncle, Robert Cecil, about a marriage to her son. She may have entered the queen’s service that same year. She is recorded as “of the privy chamber” in 1602. In the summer of 1602, the queen visited Sir Thomas Egerton at Harefield. One of the entertainments was a lottery for the ladies. Susan drew verses written by Nathaniel Baxter that read “Nothing’s your lot. That’s more than can be told,/For nothing is more precious than gold.” By February 1604, Susan was a lady-in-waiting in the queen’s “drawing room” to Anne of Denmark. By the end of that year she had “privately contracted” a marriage to Philip Herbert (October 16,1584-January 23,1650), brother of the earl of Pembroke and a favorite of the new king. They were married at Whitehall on December 27, 1604, where the nuptials were celebrated with a masque. They had seven sons and three daughters, three of whom died young. Among the others were Anna Sophia (c.1610-1695), Charles (1619-1636), Philip (1621-1669), James (1623-1579), William, and John. The king gave the newlyweds land at Shurland, Kent. Other honors and gifts followed. On May 4, 1605, Philip Herbert was created earl of Montgomery. Susan was at court that year to dance in The Masque of Blackness and both Susan and Philip danced in Hymenaei the following January. The family was based at Enfield, where Montgomery was keeper, and their children were born there. In 1622, Susan’s niece, Elizabeth Norris, her sister Bridget’s daughter, was living in the earl of Montgomery’s house, giving rise to rumors that she was his mistress, but Elizabeth’s elopement with Edward Wray early that year casts doubt on that allegation. Like her husband, Susan was a patron of the arts. Portraits: effigy on the tomb of her mother and grandmother in Westminster Abbey.

URSULA de VERE (1502-1558)
Ursula de Vere was the daughter of Sir George de Vere (1447-August 1500) and Margaret Stafford. She was the sister and co-heiress of John de Vere, 14th earl of Oxford (August 14, 1499-July 14,1526). At a young age, Ursula married George Windsor, son of Andrew, Lord Windsor. Her second husband, by a marriage settlement dated November 16, 1520, was Sir Edmund Knightley of Fawsley, Northamptonshire (d. February 12, 1542/3). They had six daughters who died young. In 1528, Knightley and his wife petitioned Chancellor Wolsey over possessions claimed by the new earl of Oxford, Ursula’s second cousin. There was no settlement, but in October 1529, with her sister, Elizabeth Wingfield, Ursula made an agreement with Anne (née Howard), dowager countess of Oxford over claims submitted to arbitrators. On April 28, 1540, Ursula’s illness was an excuse for Knightley not to go to London, but she survived him by many years. In about 1546, a young woman named Mary Sheldon was placed in Ursula’s household at Offchurch, Warwickshire. While there, Mary fell in love with one of Lady Knightley’s servants, a man called Sylvestre. When Mary’s father died, she was sent to live at Balford Hall in Beoley, but since she was by then pregnant by Sylvestre, she wrote to Lady Knightley, asking to be taken back into her household. She didn’t want her mother to find out. Lady Knightley wrote to the head of the family, Mary’s brother William Sheldon, telling him the whole story and asking for permission to take Mary in. William refused and sent his errant sister to relatives, John and Alice Fox. Mary ran away from the Fox house, returned to Offchurch, and married her lover. All this led to a complaint in the Star Chamber by William and his mother, Philippa Sheldon, against Lady Knightley. They charged her with abduction, claiming that Lady Knightley had been at fault for allowing Mary to become pregnant, that her tenants had ridden to John Fox’s house and taken Mary away, and that she had persuaded Mary to wed Sylvestre. Lady Knightley countercharged that Mary was “unmannerly” and also claimed that Philippa Sheldon was guilty of cruelty. The results of the case are not known. Ursula wrote her will on January 20, 1558. It was proved November 29, 1558. She had already given her niece, Elizabeth Wingfield, widow of William Naunton, movables, chattel, and plate and now made Elizabeth executor of her will. In payment for this service, she was to have the use of certain lands for the next twenty years. Life interest in estates in Suffolk and Essex went to her sister, Elizabeth Wingfield, with the reversion to Elizabeth’s eldest son, Sir Robert Wingfield (d.1597). To the four younger sons of Elizabeth and Sir Anthony Wingfield (Charles, Richard, Anthony, and Henry), Ursula left annuities to be paid for twenty years. The entire will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com. Portrait: memorial brass at Fawsley.


Margaret Vernando (or Fernandez) was the illegitimate daughter of Peter Fernandez (d. June 1533), a Spanish physician living in London. He is referred to as a surgeon in his denization papers (CPR 1485-94, 258). Margaret married John Bruges (Bridges/Brigges), who appears to have been the son of Florentina Núñez and Thomas Bridges, a merchant tailor and slave trader who lived in Seville from 1491 until his death and was granted the right to trade with the Indies in 1528. John and Margaret had a house in the Old Change, London, where Fernandez was living when he died. He left everything to his daughter, stating in his will: “my wife [Joan, widow of merchant tailor Thomas Pemberton] shall inherit nothing of me for she robbed me.” Margaret Vernando is also mentioned in the will of Robert Yaxley (d. October 1540), one of the six founder members of the College of Physicians in 1513. He left her a silver cup. His widow, Margaret (née Leventhorpe), who made her will two days after her husband did, left Margaret Vernando a gold ring with a table diamond, a scarlet petticoat, a nightgown of black chamlet, a velvet bonnet edged with pearl, and a bedcover edged with gold.




ELIZABETH VERNEY (c.1558-March 1592)
Elizabeth Verney, although said in some genealogies to have been the daughter of Sir Henry Verney and have had Queen Elizabeth as her godmother, was the daughter of Hugh Verney of Fairfield, Somerset. She married William Palmer of Parham, Sussex (c.1554-December 24, 1586). Their children were Thomas, (June 24, 1574-c.1605), Catherine (1579-September 30, 1609), William (1583-April 1585), and Sarah (1586/7-1633). Elizabeth was never married to John Palmer, younger brother of her first husband. In fact, William had no younger brother named John. In her widowhood, she corresponded with Richard Stephens. He referred to her as his sister. They were not related but rather shared their faith. She wrote to him seeking spiritual guidance in selecting a second husband. In 1589, she was considering Sir William Bowes of Streatlam, Durham (d.1611) but rejected him because Stephens did not think he was strict enough in his religious beliefs. In June 1590, the earl of Essex dined with Elizabeth at Parham. He had two candidates for her to consider, Henry Savile of Oxford (1549-1622) and Henry Bromley of Holt Castle, Warwickshire (March 9, 1556-May 15, 1615). She married Bromley as his second wife. They may have had a son. She was buried on March 17, 1592. Portrait: c.1590, artist unknown.


JANE VERNEY (1532-1591+)
Jane Verney was probably the daughter of Sir Ralph Verney of Pendley, Herefordshire and Clayton, Buckinghamshire (1509-1546) and Elizabeth Bray, although one online genealogy says her father was Edmund Verney of Penley, Buckinghamshire. In 1558, she married Sir Francis Hynde of Madingley, Cambridgeshire (d. March 21, 1595). Their children were Jane (d. November 1633), William, Ursula, Edward, and John. Portrait: by Hieronimo Custodis, 1591.

MARY VERNEY (1516-1540+)
Mary Verney was the daughter of John Verney of Mortlake, Surrey (1488-1540) and his first wife. Before 1540, she married Lewis Reynolds. In a will dated July 22, 1540, Verney named his second wife, Dorothy, as his executor and made no mention of his daughter. Mary contested the will. Since Dorothy could produce no witnesses, the court overturned it and gave Mary administration of the estate.


ANNE VERNON (d. 1570)
Anne Vernon was the youngest daughter of George Vernon of Hodnet, Shropshire (d.c.1554) and Mary Lacon (1506-April 27, 1563). She and her sister were left £400 toward their marriages by their father. Their mother increased that inheritance to 900 marks and specified that the two girls be governed by their half-sister, Joyce Lucy (née Acton) and her husband, Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Warwickshire. Her mother also left Anne a tablet of gold, a purse of tawny velvet containing 20 marks, her best gold bracelet and best gold billiment, and half of her clothing. Anne made her will on September 29, 1570. It was proved November 23, 1570. She styled herself Anne Vernon of Charlecote, gentlewoman. She left her half sister her upper billiment of goldsmith’s work and a gold ring. Dorothy received all the money Anne did not bequeath elsewhere, along with her little chain of gold, two of her best gowns and kirtles, two of her best partlets, one pair of drawn sleeves unwrought, one new coif of drawn-work, her best petticoat, her cloak and safeguard, two little caskets, one coffer, certain samplers, two smocks, kerchiefs, and all the things that belonged to their late mother. The entire will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com.

DOROTHY VERNON (1545-1584)
The name Dorothy Vernon is known to many people otherwise uninterested in Tudor women. They have only to visit Haddon Hall in Derbyshire to hear the story of her elopement and see “Dorothy Vernon’s Bridge” in the garden. Dorothy was the younger daughter of Sir George Vernon (1508-August 31.1565), known as “King of the Peak,” and his first wife, Margaret Talboys. There are various accounts of Dorothy’s elopement, and opinions differ as to exactly when it took place, but all agree that Sir George Vernon took a dislike to the man Dorothy wanted to marry. He was Sir John Manners of Shelford, Nottinghamshire (d. June 4, 1611), second son of the earl of Rutland. The story goes that the young man disguised himself as a minstrel during a gathering at Haddon Hall. It was either the wedding of Dorothy’s older sister, Margaret (b.1540) to Thomas Stanley (d.1576), second son of the earl of Derby, or a banquet at the end of a hunt, and took place either in 1558 or  in 1563. The cruel stepmother of some versions of Dorothy’s elopement is also questionable. In fact, Maud Longford (d.June 14, 1596) was only a few years older than her stepdaughter. Sir George Vernon was more than twice Maud’s age. According to her epitaph, Maud made a second match after Sir George’s death “by her own choice/Pleasing herself, who others pleased before.” She married Sir Francis Hastings (d.1610), a younger son of the 2nd earl of Huntingdon, in 1567, giving up her life interest in Haddon Hall to her stepdaughter, Dorothy. Dorothy’s children were George (1573-April 23, 1623), Grace, John (1576-1590), and Roger (c.1575-1632). Portrait: effigy on her tomb in Bakewell, Derbyshire.

Dorothy Vernon was the eldest daughter of George Vernon of Hodnet, Shropshire (d.c.1554) and Mary Lacon (1506-April 27, 1563). She and her sister were left £400 toward their marriages by their father. Their mother increased that inheritance to 900 marks and specified that the two girls be governed by their half-sister, Joyce Lucy (née Acton) and her husband, Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Warwickshire. Her mother left Dorothy a book of gold, a jewel of gold called a gargament, a purse of fine cheverel leather containing 20 marks, her second gold bracelet, her best white satin frontlet, and half of all her clothing. On March 5, 1599, Dorothy made her will. It was proved May 4, 1599. By that time, she was living, still unmarried, in Monmouthshire, Wales. She made bequests to cousins in the Leighton family and left Anne, her servant, twenty pounds and her second gown. Jane Gwillim, “being in the house with me,” was to receive ten pounds and her fourth gown, and her man, Thomas Cooke, ten pounds and “one gown of mine that is in the hands of a tailor in London this three years or thereabouts.” After several other bequests to cousins, she left the servant, Anne, and Jane Gwillum the rest of her clothing, both woolen and linen, to be equally divided between them. The entire will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com.


ELIZABETH VERNON (1572/3-1655)
Elizabeth Vernon was the daughter of John Vernon of Hodnet (1546-1592) and Elizabeth Devereux (c.1541-c.1583). She came to court as a maid of honor, became pregnant, and at some point before August 30, 1598, secretly married Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton (October 6, 1573-November 10, 1624). Their children were Penelope (November 1598-July 16, 1667), James (1605-1624), Thomas (March 10, 1608-May 16, 1667), Elizabeth (b.1609), and Mary (1611-January 5,1615). Southampton was involved in the earl of Essex’s treason in 1601 and spent two years as a prisoner in the Tower of London. After his release, he and his wife were high in favor at the court of James I. In 1647, King Charles took refuge with Lady Southampton at Titchfield in Hampshire after escaping from Carisbrook Castle. Portraits: combing her hair, c.1595-1600; full length portrait is dated c.1610; by Paul van Somer c.1620; by Marcus Gheeraertsthe Younger c.1622.

MARGARET VERNON (c.1475-c.1546)
Margaret Vernon is generally said to have been the daughter of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon Hall, Derbyshire (c.1441-April 13, 1515) and Anne Talbot (c.1445-May 17, 1494), but this is unlikely. His will, dated January 18, 1515 and proved May 5, 1515 (transcript online at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com) leaves his daughter Margaret 700 marks toward her marriage. By 1515, the Margaret of this entry had been prioress of two different priories, Sopwell by 1509 and St. Mary de Pré by 1513. Both were near St. Albans. The Victoria County History (1905), online at British History Online, characterizes Margaret Vernon, prioress of Little Marlowe, as “a scheming and worldly woman with a keen eye for her own advancement and no real love for the little priory over which she ruled.” Twenty-one of her letters to Thomas Cromwell have been preserved, several of them concerning Cromwell’s son, Gregory, who was under Margaret Vernon’s supervision. The letters that mention him are not dated. Gregory had a schoolfellow, Nicholas Sadler, and their tutor, Mr. Copland, with him, and there was also a “little gentlewoman” with Master Sadler. Margaret asked permission to educate her, as well. Gregory Cromwell is usually said to have been born around 1514 and young boys did not usually stay in nunneries past the age of ten, which would place this correspondence before 1524. Margaret was elected prioress of Little Marlow in Buckinghamshire in 1528. In 1529, she wrote to Cromwell to offer a bribe in return for the post of prioress at St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate. She did not get the job. Another letter to Cromwell asks when he will be in the neighborhood, as she would like his counsel on several matters. In 1530, there were only six nuns at Little Marlow, including Margaret. In 1535, three of them were dismissed for being under twenty-four years of age (the minimum age at which one could take final vows). One of the nuns dismissed was Katherine Picard, who had complained to Bishop Longland in 1530 that Little Marlow had no sub-prioress. Margaret was left with two men servants, two women servants, and two nuns, both of whom told commissioners that they wished to enter other houses of religion. Little Marlow was closed on June 27, 1536.  By September 24, 1536, after a brief stay in Stepney, Margaret became abbess of Malling in Kent. She surrendered Malling on October 28, 1538. Her pension, had she still been prioress of Little Marlow, would have been £4 or £5. As abbess of Malling, she received an annuity of £40. She drew this pension as late as 1546. In 1539 and 1540 she appears to have been living with another Malling nun, Rose Moreton or Martyn. Both received a license to live without the habit. Biographies: “Thomas Cromwell’s Abbess, Margaret Vernon” by Mary C. Erler (History Today, February 2014, 23-29); Erler’s Reading and Writing at the Dissolution: Monks, Nuns and Friars 1530-1558, pp. 88-106.

MARGARET VERNON  (1540-September 9, 1596)
Margaret Vernon was the elder daughter and co-heiress of Sir George Vernon of Haddon Hall, Derbyshire (1508-August 31, 1565), known as “King of the Peak,” and his first wife, Margaret Talboys.  Between January and May of 1558, she married Thomas Stanley (1532/3-December 1576), second son of the 3rd earl of Derby. They had two sons, Henry (d. yng) and Edward (c.1563-1632). From her father, Margaret inherited Tong in Shropshire and properties at Marple and Wyberslegh, while her sister Dorothy inherited Haddon Hall. Thomas Stanley, who remained a Catholic after Elizabeth Tudor became queen, was arrested in 1571 for conspiring with Thomas Gerard and others to help Mary, queen of Scots escape to the Isle of Man, where he was governor. He was still in prison in 1572. His will, made on December 14, 1576, divided everything between his wife and his son. Margaret received letters of administration on December 22. On November 1, 1579, Margaret married William Mather of Harlaston. Margaret’s date of death in various online sources is also given as 1610 and 1611. Portrait: effigy on tomb in St. Bartholomew’s church, Tong.





MARY VICTORIA (d. 1536+) (maiden name unknown)
Mary was the wife of Ferdinand/Fernando Victoria/Vittorio, Spanish physician to Catherine of Aragon. An entry in the Letters and Papers, foreign & domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, Vol. II Part II, lists a payment of £66 13s. 4d. in February 1518 to Dr. Fernando for transporting his wife out of Spain. They had a son, who was the king’s godchild. The name Mistress Victoria appears among the gentlewomen attending Catherine of Aragon at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. Plans were discussed in 1523 and 1524 to send Dr. Vittorio’s son to Emperor Charles V as a page, but it is not clear if he ever left England. Mary Victoria is listed in the household of Princess Mary in Wales in 1525 and she received £10/year from the household accounts for 1526. She was still with the princess in October 1533. Mary is probably the “Mistress Mary, my physician’s wife,” to whom Catherine of Aragon left £40 in her will.

LEONORE VIERENDEELS (d. September 5,1638)
Leonore Vierendeels was the daughter of Colonel Adrian Vierendeels of Antwerp. After his death, she came to England. On October 16, 1599, she married Abraham Tyron (Trion/Trioen) (d. December 29, 1607) in the Dutch church in Austin Friars. He was the eldest son of a Flemish Huguenot naturalized in 1563 and at the time of his death was a wealthy merchant. His will was dated May 25, 1605 and was proved January 7, 1607/8. The inquisition post mortem was held July 23, 1608. Leonore claimed their house in St. Mary Aldermanbury in London but there was some dispute with his relatives over this after she remarried. Her second husband was Gregory Donhault (Downhall/Downold) (c.1535-April 4, 1614), who was in the service of Lord Keeper Egerton. In his will, Donhault left his wife the lease of a house in Uxbridge, Middlesex, as well as her jewels, his coach and horses, and plate. He states that he did not leave her more for reasons which “men of judgment, observing the practice of the time and common course of the world will easily discern and will allow.” By 1617, Leonore married Sir John Bennett (c.1553-February 15, 1627), judge of the prerogative court and chancellor to Anne of Denmark. The History of Parliament gives them four daughters. In 1617, when Bennett was sent on a diplomatic missions to Brussels, Leonore accompanied him. She was described as “a domineering Flemish woman” and one contemporary letter reported that Bennett “carries his large wife with him” on the assignment. When his fortunes suffered reversals, he spent 1622-3 in the Fleet. He died intestate. Leonore continued to live at Uxbridge, where she erected a monument to herself in Uxbridge chapel. Portraits: effigy of “Dame Leonora Bennet,” Uxbridge; portrait by Custodis c.1590.






JOHANNA VIVIAN (November 28, 1562-February 28,1617/18)
Johanna and Anna Vivian, or Vyvyan, were the twin daughters of John Vivian of Arralas and Trelowarren, Cornwall (d. September 28, 1564), the elder of two brothers with the same name. Their mother, Johanna, was the widow of a man named Harrye. There had been attempts to disinherit the elder John Vivian after his father died in 1562. Although he was said to be of weak mind, he was declared the lawful son and heir. That left the twins wealthy co-heiresses at the age of two. Since the Vivian family stood to suffer a considerable financial loss if they could not keep control of the girls’ wardships and the right to choose their husbands, the younger John Vivian (c.1526-1577) concealed the elder’s death and kept the girls with him for the next ten years. Their mother remarried so they were cared for by his wife, Anne Mallett (c.1529-1592). In 1574, John Cosgarne the Elder of Ladock (d. before September 28, 1577), whose son had just married Christian Vivian, daughter of John’s first cousin (Michael Vivian of Skyburlowe, Cornwall), learned of this deception and reported the matter to Sir William Cecil, who was in charge of the Court of Wards. On July 7, 1574, an inquisition post mortem was held for the girls’ father and administration of the estate during their minority was granted to his cousin, John Cosgarne of Boswidell (d. before February 15, 1599), Christian Vivian’s husband. John Chynoweth’s account of these events in Tudor Cornwall appears to have confused the gentlemen involved, identifying Hannibal Vivian (d.1610), the younger John Vivian’s son, as the one who concealed the truth for ten years. He also says it was the elder Cosgarne who was granted the wardships of both girls and brought them to London, but the inquisition post mortem is quite clear that it was the son. In 1577, Hannibal Vivian kidnapped the twins in Fleet Street and took them back to Cornwall. It was said he kept them hidden in caves. John Cosgarne took the case to the Court of Wards and received a ruling in his favor. Vivian then brought a charge of rape against him. By the time Cosgarne established his innocence, the girls had been married to the men Vivian chose for them. Johanna married Peter Hearne on January 14, 1578 at Trelowarren. Her sister Anna married John Treludvas the following day. According to several online genealogy sites, Johanna married her second husband, Nicholas Phillips (March 11, 1559-February 3, 1620) on August 3, 1584 and they had a son, also named Nicholas (1586-1615). These same sites, however, identify Johanna as the daughter of the younger John Vivian and his wife, Anne Mallett. One of these sites gives her birthdate as September 6, 1562. They indicate she died at Horsham, West Sussex.

ANNA VON OLDENBURG (November 14, 1501-September 24, 1575)
Anna von Oldenburg was the daughter of Johann XIV, count of Oldenburg (1460-1526) and Anne of Anhalt-Zerbst (d.1531). On March 6, 1530, she married Enno II, count of East Friesland (d. September 24, 1540). Their children were Elisabeth (January 10, 1531-September 6, 1555), Edzard (June 24, 1532-September 1, 1599), Anna (January 3, 1534-May 20, 1552), Hedwig (June 29, 1535-November 4, 1616), Christoph (October 8, 1536-September 29, 1566), and Johann (September 29, 1538-September 29, 1591). After her husband died, Anna served as regent of East Friesland for her minor children, ruling alone from 1540-1561 and with her sons after that. She was inclined to be lenient with those of other faiths and dealt so generously with the Mennonites and the Anabaptists that she was censured in 1544 by Mary of Hungary, regent of the Netherlands. Emden, in East Friesland, was the nearest German port to London. After the loss of Calais in 1558 and the difficulties of trading in Antwerp under Imperial rule, the Merchant Adventurers were in desperate need of a new base on the continent. In 1560, Anna invited them to establish themselves in Emden. The English considered Emden second-rate compared to Antwerp but agreed. A formal agreement was reached on February 20, 1564. Anna issued a grant of privileges on March 22, 1564 and the first English ships, a fleet of forty, arrived in Emden on May 23, 1564.

HELENA VON SNAKENBORG (1548-April 10, 1635)
Helena von Snakenborg (Elin Ulfsdotter of Fyllingarum) was the daughter of Ulf or Wulfgang Henriksson Snakenborg or Snachenberg of Ostargotland (d.c.1565) and Agneta Knuttson (d.1568+). She came to England as a maid of honor to Princess Cecilia of Sweden on a state visit in the autumn of 1565, traveling some 400 miles by water and 750 miles on ice and snow in the process. Helena stayed on when Cecilia left in May 1566. She was being courted by William Parr, marquis of Northampton (August 14, 1513-October 28, 1571), who had asked her to marry him, even though he was not legally free to remarry. He promised her a house of her own. At that point, Queen Elizabeth stepped in, taking Helena into her keeping at court, possibly as a maid of honor. Later she was a gentlewoman of the privy chamber, although without pay. Helena and Parr married in May 1571, after the death of his first wife, from whom he had been separated for decades. He died soon after, leaving Helena a wealthy widow. As marchioness of Northampton, she was senior to every other lady at court save the queen and the queen’s cousin, Margaret Douglas. In about 1577, she married Thomas (later Sir Thomas) Gorges of Langford, Wiltshire (1536-March 30, 1610). Their children were Elizabeth (June 1578-1659), Francis (c.1579-c.1599), Frances (1580-1649), Edward (c.1582-c.1652), Theobald (1583-1648), Bridget (1584-c.1634), Robert (1588-1648), and Thomas (1589-1624+). Helena was a patron of the arts, rebuilt Langford House in Wiltshire, and was chief mourner at the funeral of Elizabeth Tudor. Biographies: Gunnar Sjögren, “Helena, Marchioness of Northampton,” History Today, September 1978; C. A. Bradford’s Helena, Marchioness of Northampton (1936); Oxford DNB entry under “Gorges [née Snakenborg], Helena.” Portraits: c.1569 by the Master of the Countess of Warwick (identity unproven); c.1603 by Robert Peake; effigy in Salisbury Cathedral.

JULIAN VYELL (d.c.1625)
Julian Vyell was one of the six daughters of William Vyell (Viell/Viall) of St. Breock, Cornwall (d.1590) and Jane Arundell (d. 1592). Her grandfather was Sir John Arundell of Trerice. On January 17, 1577, the diary of William Carnsew records that he rode to the house of William Vyell to make a marriage for George Grenville with Jill Vyell. This was George Grenville (d. September 2, 1595). They had two sons, George (b.1586) and Richard, and five daughters, including one named Ebbot. The couple lived at Penhele, where Grenville built a mansion. Julian was pregnant in 1593. When Grenville died, his widow purchased the wardship of her eldest son in partnership with Richard Carew, but she had difficulty with the executors of the estate. They wanted her to accept a jointure. She wanted her dower instead. She held out for four years before finally giving in. In 1601, she married George Kekewich of Catchfinch (1556-December 22, 1611).