FLORENCE WADHAM (c.1530-c.1596)
Florence Wadham was the daughter of Sir John Wadham of Branscombe, Devon and Merrifield, Somerset (1505-February 9, 1577/8) and Joan Tregarthen (d.1581). In 1556, she married John Wyndham (c.1506-August 25, 1572). In 1557, she fell ill and died. Or at least that’s what everyone thought. She was duly buried in the Wyndham family vault in St. Decumin’s Church in Watchet, Somerset. That night, so the story goes, a sexton bent on stealing her jewelry, opened her coffin and tried to remove her rings. This brought her back to consciousness and sent the sexton screaming from the crypt. Her family welcomed her back and the following year she gave birth to a son, John (1558-1645). Florence later married John Faringdon. Portrait: 1572 brass in St. Decumin’s Church.

JANE WADHAM (c.1517-1551+)
Jane Wadham was the daughter of Sir Nicholas Wadham, of Merrifield, Somerset (by 1472-March 5, 1542), Governor of the Isle of Wight, and his second of four wives, Margaret Seymour (c.1478-before June 1517), making her the cousin of Queen Jane Seymour. She was a nun at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire under Abbess Elizabeth Ryprose at the time it was dissolved on July 11, 1538, as was her half sister, Katherine (b.1511), who was subprioress. Jane was sexton, but she had no real vocation. Because ex-religious were required to remain chaste, a ruling retained until 1549 and revived from 1553-1558, Jane had to obtain a “capacity” to return to the world. She claimed that “malevolent persons” had ignored her objections to becoming a nun and that prior to taking her vows she had gone through a private form of marriage, per verba de praesenti, with John Foster or Forster (1505/6-June 8, 1576). These same “malevolent persons” also forced Foster to become a priest to invalidate the marriage. John Foster’s father was steward at Romsey and John is variously called steward and chaplain there. According to his entry in The History of Parliament, he was a priest by December 1536. Geoffrey Baskerville’s English Monks and the Suppression of the Monasteries states that Jane married Foster after the surrender of Romsey in 1539, in the expectation that clerical marriage would be legalized. In June 1539, Foster had to sue for a pardon. It was issued on the condition that he renounce his wife. Jane and John, however, continued to live together as man and wife and had three children, Edward, Andrew, and Jane. By June 1541, concerns about the validity of their marriage caused Foster to separate from Jane. They petitioned the king to legalize their union. A special commission of two bishops was formed. By 1543, Foster was the incumbent at Baddesley, One account has Jane living there with him. The History of Parliament states that by 1544 Foster had given up the ministry to study law. In April 1544, Jane asked that a commission look into the validity of her marriage. In 1549, priests were allowed to marry. In 1551, Jane inherited a “modest patrimony in the West Country” upon the death of her brother Nicholas. In 1553, Foster bought the manor of North Baddesley, Hampshire but he was deprived of the property and others under Queen Mary. He later regained possession and was living there at the time of his death. Baskerville cites a reference to Jane Foster, gentlewoman, in May 1558, but this could refer to either Jane or her daughter.

JOAN WADHAM (1533-June 14, 1603)
Joan Wadham was the daughter of John Wadham of Branscombe, Devon and Merrifield, Somerset (1505-February 9, 1577/8) and Joan Tregarthen (1498-September 1581). She married Giles Strangeways of Melbury Sampford, Dorset (1528-April 11, 1562) in November 1546. He was knighted in 1549. Their children were Elizabeth (d.1589), John (1548-1593), Anne, George, Nicholas, and Edward, all of whom were under the age of twenty-one when he died. His will named Joan executrix but he inserted a provision that if she remarried she had to give bond of  £2000 to carry out her duties as his executrix. She had to sell all her household goods to pay debts of over £3000. Strangeways left 1000 marks to their daughter, Anne, on her marriage and 600 marks to a younger son. His effigy in armor is in Melbury Sampford church. In about 1563, Joan married John Young of Bristol (d. September 5, 1589). They had one son and one daughter. Young built Great House on the site of a Carmelite friary and received the queen there in 1574, probably at the same time he was knighted. In 1592, Joan was involved in a lawsuit over who owned a flock of swans in Dorset. All wild swans were royal property, but at the dissolution of the abbeys, Henry VIII had granted both the estate and the right to the swans the abbot had previously held to Giles Strangeways. In 1592, Dame Joan Young and Thomas Saunger received a writ from the Exchequer ordering the Sheriff of Dorset to round up 400 loose swans from the rivers of the county. The question of whether Strangeways could grant the swans was heard in Trinity Term, 34 Elizabeth. The swans were declared to be wild animals that could not be given by transfer or taken by prescription. In 1598, Lady Young wrote to the Lord Treasurer to complain that her great-grandchildren, the offspring of a daughter of her son, John Strangeways, were being “detained from their whole portion” by Henry Newton (d. 1599), John’s executor. Portrait: effigy in Bristol Cathedral.






Avis Waldegrave, sometimes called Alice, was the daughter of Sir William Waldegrave of Smallbridge Hall, Suffolk (d. August 17, 1613) and Elizabeth Mildmay (d.1581). She married Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall, Essex (1559-1604). Their children were Edward (March 3, 1579-July 20, 1625), Anne (c.1581-April 18, 1592), Hercules Francis (c.1585-November 1661), Elizabeth (b. July 1, 1589), William (July 9, 1590-July 9, 1650), Penelope (January 28, 1591-March 26, 1650), and Alice (July 8, 1595-May 14, 1596). She and her husband lived at Bedfords while her mother-in-law, Anne (née Caunton), remained at the family seat, Gidea Hall. According to Marjorie K. McIntosh’s articles on the Cooke family, Avis was aggressive, articulate, and clever when it came to both business and politics. This did not prevent the family’s descent into financial difficulties. In 1612, she was obliged to allow her son Edward to sell off some of the lands she held for life.

BRIDGET WALDEGRAVE (1487-September 30, 1549)
Bridget Waldegrave was the daughter of Sir William Waldegrave of Bures St. Mary, Suffolk (1464-1527) and Margery Wentworth (d.1540). She married William Findern (Fyndhorne/Fynderne) of Little Horkesley, Essex (d.1523). They had no children. She married John, 2nd baron Marney (1493-April 27, 1525). He had two daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth, but had no children together. When her mother died, she left her samplers, damask and Venetian gold cloth, unwrought silk, and weaving goods to her daughters, “that their young folks may therewith be well occupied.” Bridget continued the tradition in her will, written September 16, 1549 and proved April 29,1550, leaving samplers, unworked silk and gold, weaving stools, and everything else belonging to her “silk works” to two nieces, who were also her goddaughters, to “well occupy themselves.” One was Bridget Spring, daughter of Sir John Spring and Bridget’s sister Dorothy. Bridget named Dame Dorothy Spring (1500-1564) as co-executor and left her a gold ring with a sapphire. Bridget ordered that a brass depicting one husband on each side of her “shew the time of my decease and of what stock I came of and to what men of worship I was married unto.” The entire will can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com.





MARY WALDEGRAVE (d. December 19, 1599)
Mary Waldegrave was the daughter of Sir William Waldegrave of Smallbridge Hall, Suffolk (d. August 17, 1613) and Elizabeth Mildmay (d.1581). On September 13, 1590, she married Thomas Clopton of Kentwell Hall, Suffolk (d.1597). Their children were Elizabeth (b.1591), William (February 27, 1592-1618), Mary (b.1594), and Walter (1596-1627). Portrait: the painting identified as “Lady Clopton of Kentwell Hall” has been credited variously to Robert Peake the Elder (c.1600) and to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (c.1595). If the 1595-1600 dating is correct, then Mary is the only wife of a Clopton of Kentwell who could be the subject of this portrait.

ELIZABETH WALDEN (1491-July 1567)
Elizabeth Walden was the daughter of Richard Walden of Erith, Kent (1465-June 1539) and his second wife, Margery Wogan or Hogan. In about 1512, Elizabeth married George Talbot, 4th earl of Shrewsbury (1468-July 26, 1538) as his second wife. Their children were John (b.1514) and Anne (March 18, 1523-July 18, 1588). When the earl died he made provision for a marble tomb at Sheffield with three images, “the third to be of my wife that now is on my left hand with her mantel and arms.” His will, made on August 21, 1537 and proved January 13, 1538/9, is a very long document making bequests to his children and others and disposing of property. His “right entirely beloved dame Elizabeth my wife” was left various items of plate and furniture, property, and the wardship of Peter Compton, who was already married to their daughter Anne. Elizabeth was to have the governance of both Peter and Anne, as well as custody of the manors that made up Peter’s inheritance. Shrewsbury specified that Elizabeth should have “all jewels, rings, chains, brooches, girdles, stones, and apparel which she now hath as they were entered in a book by particular parcels, also four caskets covered with iron with all jewels in the same, and all money contained in the same caskets.” He left Elizabeth’s waiting gentlewoman, Elizabeth Powell, “three score angel nobles for her diligent service unto me.” Elizabeth was buried with her family in Erith, Kent. Portrait: effigy at Sheffield.






Christian or Christiana Walsingham was the fourth daughter of William Walsingham of Scadbury Park, Chislehurst, Kent (c.1488-1534) and Joyce Denny (July 29, 1485-April 1559) and the sister of Sir Francis Walsingham. In 1562, she married John Tamworth of Sandon, Essex, Sutton, Lincolnshire, and St. Botolph, Bishopsgate (c.1524-April 1569), a groom of the chamber. On February 10, 1561/2, Tamworth had settled lands in Lyllstone in Marylebone, Middlesex and Waltham Holy Cross and Holyfield, Essex on Christian as dower. They had one daughter. Tamworth made his will in March 1569 and died between April 18 and April 27 of that year. The will was proved on March 2, 1570. He provided for the maintenance of his widow but did not name her one of his executors. By 1572, she had married William Doddington (Dodington) of Aldersgate, London and Fulham, Middlesex (d. April 10, 1600). He bought Breamore, Hampshire in 1579, although he continued to spend most of his time in London. From 1594, he was engaged in a suit in the Star Chamber over his lands in Hampshire and a Chancery case of copyhold at Breamore. At one point, probably early in 1600, he was in prison for a short time. He was released thanks to the influence of Anne Russell, newly Lady Herbert of Chepstow, who cited “his wife’s long service” as sufficient reason to free him. On the day before Doddington was to appear before the Star Chamber again, he threw himself over the battlement of St. Sepulchre’s church and broke his neck. A broadside was printed about his suicide.


FRANCES WALSINGHAM (October 1567-February 17, 1633)
Frances Walsingham was the daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham (c.1532-April 6, 1590) and Ursula St. Barbe (c.1550-June 1, 1602). Her father was English ambassador to France in 1572 and had his family with him when the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of Huguenots took place. Frances met her future husband, Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554-October 17, 1586) on that occasions, when he took shelter in her father’s house in Paris. In 1581, John Wickerson was said to have a contract of matrimony with “Mrs. Frances,” but he spent the next two years in the Marshalsea. On Friday, September 21, 1583, she married Sidney. They lived with her parents at Barn Elms, Surrey, six miles from London, where their daughter Elizabeth (November 1585-1614) was born. Frances arrived in Flushing in the latter part of June 1586 to join her husband. She was pregnant when Sidney died of a gunshot wound sustained in the Battle of Zuthpen on September 22, 1586. In Utrecht afterward, she was “most earnest to be gone out of this country.” Back in England, after giving birth, Frances was very ill. On December 24, 1586, her father wrote that he was “in good hope of the recovery of both my daughter and her child,” but the child, named Frances after her mother, died young. Walsingham deeded an  an annuity of £200 to his daughter and  left her a second annuity of £100 in his will. Before Sidney’s death, he had entrusted his wife’s care to his friend Robert Devereux, earl of Essex (November 19, 1566-February 25, 1601). Essex married her in the spring of 1590, shortly after her father’s death. Their children were Robert (1591-September 14, 1646), Walter (d.yng), Henry (d.yng.), Frances (1599-1674), and Dorothy (1600-1636). Frances was born just after Essex was imprisoned for his unauthorized return from Ireland. As soon as she was able to rise from childbed, Lady Essex went to court dressed in widow’s weeds and attempted to see the queen. She had already been forbidden to come to the court for marrying Essex and was denied access to the queen. She was permitted to nurse her husband when he fell ill at York House. During this period, Lady Essex was being blackmailed over some letters that a servant had stolen. Shortly before Essex was taken into custody, Frances had given her maidservant, Jane van Kethulle, recently married to another Essex servant, John Daniell, a casket of letters to hide for her. Daniell found the casket under his bed and had copies made of some of the letters. In January 1600, when the countess reclaimed them, she realized that some were missing. Confronted, Daniell denied all knowledge of them and berated both Frances and Jane for endangering him by hiding them in his house. Daniell then suggested that his wife’s maidservant, who had recently been dismissed, might have stolen them, and offered to try to get them back. In March, he told the countess he could restore her letters . . . for £3000. The countess sold her jewels to raise part of that sum and turned the money over to Daniell, but she did not get all of her letters back. In June, after Daniell attempted to sell the letters to the government, he was arrested and charged with extortion. He was condemned to life in prison and fined £3000, but none of the money was returned to Frances. After Essex was released, the family was deeply in debt. The queen’s refusal to renew certain leases, his main source of income, drove him to desperate measures. Frances was at Essex House during his abortive rebellion in February of 1601, but it was her sister-in-law, Penelope, Lady Rich, who egged Essex on. After the earl was executed, Frances lived with her mother until that lady’s death. Early in the reign of James I, she married Richard Burke, 4th earl of Clanrickard (d.1635). Their children were Ulick (1604-1657) and Honora. Portraits: The only verified portrait of Frances was painted c. 1590 and is attributed to William Seger, but Sir Roy Strong believes Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger’s woman in Persian dress (c.1600) may be Frances.


KATHERINE WALSINGHAM (January 8, 1559-1585)
Katherine Walsingham was the daughter of Sir Thomas Walsingham of Scadbury, Kent (d.1584) and Dorothy Guildford. She married Thomas Gresley of Drakelowe, Derbyshire (November 3, 1552-September 5, 1610) as his second of three wives. Their children were William, Katherine, Henry, George (1580-February 5, 1651), John, Dorothy (August 28, 1584-April 1635), and Walsingham. In August 1575, Queen Elizabeth visited Katherine, Lady Gresley at Colton, Staffordshire. The Gresley jewel, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum and containing portrait miniatures of Thomas and Katherine Gresley, probably painted by Nicholas Hilliard, is said to have been a wedding gift to them from Queen Elizabeth. The exterior is decorated on one side with rubies, emeralds, and pearls and on the other with an onyx cameo of a black woman. In a portrait of Katherine painted in 1585, she is shown wearing the jewel.


Agnes Walter (also called Anne) was the daughter of Thomas Walter, a leading townsman of Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire. She married John Revell (1510-1548), a Haverfordwest merchant who had his main residence at Forest. Their children were Elizabeth, Thomas (1540-1607), John, and William. Although some sources give Revell’s date of death as April 23, 1547, he is elsewhere said to have left a will dated October 15, 1548. One source says that Agnes was to be granted Thomas’s wardship in 1548, but the process was never completed. Another says she was granted wardship of her late husband’s heir on June 18, 1548 (before his death, if we accept the October 15th date). In 1549, she married Thomas Phaer (Phayer/Fayre) (c.1510-1560), a gentleman who published writings about law and medicine, translated Virgil’s Aeneid into English in 1555-8, and wrote poetry. Their children were Mary and Elizabeth. Thomas Revell’s wardship was granted to Phaer and Agnes jointly in June 1556. They appeared in Chancery during the reign of Edward VI, charging Richard Howell, who had married one of Agnes’s first husband’s daughters, of embezzlement. Phaer made his will on August 12, 1560. He left Agnes the forty-year lease on an estate in the forest of Cilgerran. Agnes then married William Jenkins.


ANNE WARBURTON (May 1, 1527-January 9, 1574)
Anne Warburton was the daughter of Sir Peter (or Piers) Warburton of Arley, Cheshire (d. June 5, 1551/2) and Elizabeth Winnington (1501-1558). On January 19, 1539/40, she married Sir Edward Fitton of Gawsworth, Cheshire (1527-1579) at the same time her sister Jane married Sir William Brereton. They had one child, Edward (d. March 4, 1606). From June 1569, the couple lived in Ireland, where Sir Edward had a series of appointments. Anne died there and was buried on January 18, 1574 in St. Patrick Cathedral, Dublin. Portrait: memorial in Dublin.



ALICE WARD (d.1558)
Alice Ward was the daughter of Richard Ward of Hurst, Berkshire (d. February 11, 1578) and Colubra Flambert (d. April 14, 1574). She married Thomas Harrison of Finchampstead (1530-1602) and died in childbirth with their first child, Richard, in 1558. Portrait: memorial brass in Hurst Church.


MARGARET WARD (x. August 30, 1588)
Margaret Ward was born in Congleton, Cheshire. She was said to be a gentlewoman. While in London, she lived with a lady named Whitall or Whittle. For providing Father Richard Watson with a rope and a ladder so that he could escape from Bridewell Prison, she was arrested, tortured for several days, and finally hanged at Tyburn, thus becoming a Catholic martyr. She was canonized on October 25, 1970. She shares a feast day with Anne Heigham and Margaret Middleton. Biography: video available from http://www.marysdowryproductions.org. Portraits: statue in St. Ethelreda’s Church, Holborn, London; window in church in Shrewsbury (all likenesses made after her death).


MARY WARD (January 23, 1585-January 20, 1645)
Mary Ward was the daughter of Marmaduke Ward of Mulwith Manor, Yorkshire (c.1552-1601+) and Ursula Wright. From 1590-1594, she lived at Ploughlands in Holderness with her grandmother. Ursula Rudman Wright (d.1594), who had spent fourteen years in prison as a recusant. From 1597-1600, Mary lived at Harwell Hall with her kinswoman, Katherine Ingleby Ardington (d.1600+). Katherine had been in prison with Mary’s grandmother. By 1600, Mary was living in Osgodby, Yorkshire with her cousins the Babthorpes. Although she attracted many suitors, Mary chose the religious life and became a nun at St. Omer. In 1609, when she was living in a house on the Strand in London and ministering to persecuted Catholic women, she had a vision for a new religious community with other like-minded English ladies. What became the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an order devoted to the education of women, made Mary Ward a controversial figure. Biographies: Margaret Mary Littlehales, Mary Ward: Pilgrim and Mystic (2002); Oxford DNB entry under “Ward, Mary.” Portraits: numerous.

AGNES WARHAM (d. March 24, 1559)
Agnes (or Anne) Warham was the daughter of Hugh Warham of Haling in Croydon, Surrey, and Malshanger, Hampshire (d.c.1538) and Marian Colle or Collis. She was the niece and heir of William Warham, archbishop of Canterbury. She married Sir Anthony St. Leger of Ulcome and Leeds Castle, Kent (c.1496-March 16, 1559). Their children were William (d.1582?), Warham (c.1525-c.1597), Nicholas (d.c.1589), Robert, Anthony, Jane, and Anne. It is possible that Agnes Warham was the Lady Selenger/Fellinger who participated in a masque at the court of Henry VIII, although Anne Knyvett seems more likely. Agnes died eight days after her husband but was buried at Ulcombe the day before his elaborate funeral.


ANNE WARING (1518-before 1544)
Anne Waring was the daughter of Nicholas Waring of Shrewsbury. She married Nicholas Hurleston (d.1531), clerk of the green cloth. Their children were Anne and Elizabeth. He made his will November 27, 1531, leaving each of them £40. His widow was one of his executors. She was granted administration of the will on June 28, 1535 but renounced it six months later. She married Sir Robert Broke (d. September 1558), lawyer, writer, and politician. They had at least three children, including John (d.1598). Portrait: effigy in All Saints Church, Claverley, Shropshire.





Margaret Warner was the daughter of Richard Warner or Wariner (d.c.1544) and his wife Margaret (d.1557+). Warner appears to have held the post of exchequer teller until 1544, when the reversion of that office was granted to Margaret’s husband, Nicholas Brigham (d. December 1558). They had one child, Rachel (d.1557). In 1556, Margaret may have been romantically involved with William Hunnis (d.1597), a musician in the Chapel Royal. The Oxford DNB entry on Hunnis calls him one of Brigham’s friends. In early February 1556, Hunnis was recruited by the members of the Dudley Conspiracy in the hope that he would use his connection to the Brighams to help them rob the exchequer. How much Margaret knew of this plan is impossible to say. Hunnis was arrested on March 18, 1556 and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He confessed and was indicted on April 29, 1556 but was not executed. In May 1558, Brigham was granted an annuity of £50. In August of that year, it was extended to Margaret in survivorship. By the end of the year, he was dead. If William Hunnis he had not been released before then, he was certainly freed when Elizabeth Tudor took the throne. He married Margaret at Thaxted, Essex on April 25, 1559. Her will, naming him as her executor, was proved on October 12, 1559.

MARGARET WARTON (d. 1507) (maiden name unknown)
According to a letter written in 1507 by Geoffrey Blythe, Master of King’s Hall, Cambridge, Margaret Warton, widow of Richard Clerk, a baker of Coventry, and wife of Peres Warton, “youman of the crovne” [yeoman of the Crown?], left lands near Coventry at Allesley, Bedworth, and Stivichall (Stichall) “to my lady the King’s mother” for the use of the College (Christ’s College). The supposition is that Margaret was at one time part of Lady Margaret Beaufort’s household. The will also contained a bequest to the city of Coventry, specifying that “ten pots, ten basons, ten lavers, ten coverletts, and ten sheets be put in the Alderman’s hands of every ward in the city, other wils in the most honest place near the gates, where the said Aldermen will assign them to be kept and spent, with the intent that poor folk may be relieved therewith at weddings, christenings and burials, as often as they have need of them.”

Eleanor Washbourne was the daughter of Norman Washbourne of Wichenford, Worcester (d.1479) and Elizabeth Kniveton or Kynaston (c.1425-1454). By a license dated November 27, 1467, she married Sir Richard Scrope (d.1485), a younger son of Lord Scrope of Bolton. Their children were Stephen, Anne, Elizabeth (d. June 26, 1537), Eleanor, Margaret (d.1515), Mary (d. August 15, 1548), Katherine, Dorothy, and Jane (d.1521+). In 1488-9, Eleanor sued Sir William Gascoigne in the Court of the Star Chamber over the manor of Bentley, Yorkshire. She married Sir John Wyndham of Felbrigg, Norfolk, who was beheaded on May 6, 1502. They had one child, a daughter named Frances (d.1505+). In accordance with her first husband’s will, the manor of Bentley was to be sold for the benefit of their daughters. Sir John Wyndham bought the estate and two other Scrope manors for £1000 and bequeathed that amount to Katherine, Mary, and Jane Scrope for their marriages. Eleanor’s will was written on December 11, 1505 at Carowe. She asked to be buried in the Austin Friars at Norwich beside the high altar. She left her best feather bed and other furniture to her daughter Elizabeth, and a black velvet gown furred with marten to her daughter Eleanor, who had married Wyndham’s son, Thomas. To her unmarried daughters from her first marriage—Anne, Mary, and Jane—she left “all the residue of my array and household stuff not before bequeathed.” The will was proved in January 1506.

Joyce Washbourne was the daughter of Norman Washbourne of Wichenford, Worcester (d.1479) and Elizabeth Kniveton or Kynaston (c.1425-1454). She married Sir Robert Percy of Scotton, Yorkshire (d.1485), as his second wife. Her second husband was John Holmes of Aldborough, Yorkshire (d.1504). Joyce made her will on August 3, 1519 and it was proved May 8, 1520. She left bequests to her daughter, Mary More, and her “sons” Robert, Francis, and John, but the wording of the will is confusing. Robert and John may be her godsons, Robert Garthome and John Thorpp. “To Elizabeth Dobson if she be with me at my departing,” she left “a featherbed with a bolster, a pair of blankets, a pair of sheets . . . two pair of linen sheets . . . a pair of harden sheets . . . with a coverlet.” She also made arrangements for perpetual prayers to be said for herself, her two husband, her parents, her sister Eleanor, and “Dame Anne the Countess of Shrewsbury.” The latter would be Anne Hastings, who died c.1512 and this provision suggests that Joyce might have been in her service at one time.

JOAN WASTE (1534-x.August 1, 1556)
Joan Waste was the daughter of William Waste, a Derby barber and ropemaker, and his wife Joan. She had a twin brother, Roger. Joan was born blind. She was raised as a member of the Church of England and trained as a ropemaker. When Queen Mary came to the throne in 1553, adhering to the Protestant faith became heresy. Joan was examined before Ralph Baines, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and found guilty of objecting to having services read in Latin, of buying a New Testament and asking friends to read to her from it, and of denying the doctrine of transubstantiation. After she was sentenced, she was taken to All Saint’s Church in Derby and denounced there by Anthony Draycott, who preached a sermon in which he equated her physical blindness with blindness in spiritual matters. She was executed by being hung over a fire with a rope. When the rope burned through, she fell into the fire. She was included by Foxe in his Book of Martyrs and has a memorial in Birchover church. Biography: Blind Faith by Pat Cunningham (80pp.).

AGNES WATERHOUSE (1503-x.1566) (maiden name unknown)
Agnes Waterhouse of Hatfield Peverell, Essex, was accused of witchcraft in 1566, along with her daughter Joan (1548-1566+) and Elizabeth Francis. It has been suggested that Elizabeth was Agnes’s sister and that both were the granddaughters of “Mother Eve.” Agnes was accused of bewitching William Fynne, who died on November 1, 1565. In a confession, she claimed she had been a witch for fifteen years and admitted to killing livestock, bewitching her husband, and trying to kill another man. She said she had tried to use Mrs. Francis’s familiar, a cat named Sathan, to help her, but that Sathan had turned himself into a toad. She denied she had ever succeeded in killing anyone by witchcraft, but she was found guilty of Fynne’s death at the Chelmsford Assizes and hanged. Portrait: a drawing of “Mother Waterhouse” is included in a chapbook describing the trial.

MARY WATERS (1527-May 11, 1620)
Mary Waters was the daughter of Robert Waters or Atwater of Lenham, Kent (c.1500-1565) and Katherine Bright. She married Robert Honywood or Honeywood of Charing, Kent in February 1543. Their children were Robert, Katherine, Priscilla, Anthony, Thomas, Mary, Anne, Grace, Arthur, Walter, Elizabeth (December 2, 1561-August 3, 1631), Susan, Bennett, Dorothy, Isaack, and Joyce. During the reign of Queen Mary, she visited prisons to give comfort to the heretics held there. She attended at least one execution by burning. From the age of forty, Mary supposedly suffered from consumption, but since she lived to be ninety-three, this diagnosis was probably mistaken. In 1591, having believed herself to be possessed by a devil for more than a dozen years, she was exorcised by William Hacket, who was later exposed as a charlatan. In 1605, her son Robert bought Marks Hall, where Mary spent the remainder of her life. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Honeywood [née Waters], Mary.” Portraits: 1597; 1605; line engraving at 93 (reproduced in Carole Levin, et al, editors, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen).



LUCY WATTS (d. March 1560/1)
Lucy Watts was the daughter of London grocer John Watts or Wattes and his wife Alice Gate (d.1532+). In 1521, she married John Petyt (Petit/Pettyt/Petty) (d. August 1532) as his second wife. He was a wealthy man who was proprietor of several wharfs and landing stages near London Bridge and warden of the Grocer’s Company. He was also a Lutheran, suspected of financing William Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament, a forbidden book in England at that time. In 1532, his house at London Quay was searched for banned books and he was taken to the Tower of London, where he “caught his death” and died. The account of his activities and death given to John Foxe by John Louthe in 1579 claimed Lucy was his source but it contains many discrepancies and was likely exaggerated for propaganda purposes. Petyt’s will, which was made August 22, 1531 and proved on January 24, 1532/3 made Lucy his executor and mentions young children but does not give their names. The History of Parliament, which values his estate at £160, says they had at least one son and two daughters. Petyt left Lucy the leases of his house and quay in London, but they had run out. She appealed for assistance to Thomas Cromwell, who wrote a letter dated October 9, 1532, to ask that the leases be renewed for the widow at the old rent. When she remarried she was evicted. Petyt had also left her lands in Shoreditche and Walthamstowe, but the Shoreditch lands had come to him through Lucy and her mother disputed their ownership. Lucy’s second husband was John Parnell, a London draper. Together they entered into the legal battles connected to her first husband’s estate. Parnell waged a long and costly lawsuit against Sir Thomas More which he eventually lost. He tried and failed to charge More with corruption. He did eventually triumph over More in that he served on the jury that convicted More of treason in 1535. With no mention of Parnell, numerous online genealogies state that Lucy, widow of John Petyt, married William Bolles (1495-March 2, 1582) of Wortham, Suffolk as his second wife. Some date the marriage c.1537, others c.1540. If the earlier date is correct, then Lucy was probably the mother of William, Boneventine, Mary, and Benjamin (1542-November 22, 1582). According to one account, Lucy was buried at Worksop, Nottinghamshire on March 16, 1560/61. Another says the date of her death, as given on her monument, was November 28, 1558.

JOAN WAVERTON (1533-November 19, 1606)
Joan Waverton was the daughter of John Waverton (Wannerton/Waterton) of Worfield, Shropshire. She married George Bromley of Hodnet, Shropshire (c.1526-March 2, 1589). Their children included Mary, Francis (d.1591), Edward, George, John, Margaret, and Susan. She brought Hallon in Worfield, Shropshire to the marriage as her dowry. Bromley served as Chief Justice of Chester in 1581 and on the Council in the Marches of Wales. Portrait: effigy on her tomb, erected in 1622 by her son Edward in St. Peter’s Church, Worfield.

KATHERINE WAY (d.1596+) (maiden name unknown)
Katherine was the wife of Thomas Way of St. George’s parish, Southwark, Surrey (d.1596), a vintner and keeper of Marshalsea Prison from 1559 until his death. They had at least one son, who was infirm and in the care of cousins at the time Way made his will on May 25, 1596 (proved June 15, 1596). Katherine was named executrix and inherited the Southwark tavern known as the Queen’s Arms. It was probably located at Marshalsea Gate, where a later inn by that name stood in the 1700s.




AGNES WEBBE (1514-1580)
Agnes Webbe was probably the daughter of John Alexander Webbe (1484-1516). Kate Pogue’s Shakespeare’s Family states that the identity of Mary’s mother is unknown. She married John Hill of Bearly (d.c.1546), a farmer. Their children were Mary (1543-c.1616), John, Eleanor (d. before 1579), and Thomas (d. before 1579). Agnes had a license dated April 21, 1548 to marry Robert Arden of Wilmcote, Warwickshire (d.1556). When he made his will, Arden left his widow £6 8s. 4d. in cash on the condition that she “suffer my daughter Alice quietly to enjoy half my copyhold in Wilmcote during the time of her widowhood, and if she will not suffer my daughter Alice quietly to occupy half with her then I will that my wife shall have but £3 6s. 4d. and her jointure in Snitterfield.” A second stepdaughter, Mary Arden, married John Shakespeare. Agnes remained at Wilmcote. Her will is dated 1579 and was proved March 31, 1580/1. She was buried in Aston Cantlow on December 29, 1580.

Katherine Webbe was the daughter of John Webbe of Dedham, Essex, who wrote his will on April 27, 1523.  By 1526, she married Anthony Hussey of London (c.1496- June 1, 1560). Their children were Lawrence, Ursula (c.1528-1586), William (c.1531-November 1559), Anthony, and Gilbert. She brought lands at Abbots Hall, Dedham and Stanford-le-Hope, Essex to the marriage. By 1548, when his goods were assessed at £234, Hussey had a large house in Paternoster Row in London. From about 1557, Hussey had been Governor of the Russia Company. In his will, dated January 12, 1558, he left this house, the goods in it, and £200 to Katherine. His son Lawrence received his books, £100 in plate and £100. He left his “adventure in Russhaw” jointly to Katherine and Lawrence. This was a double share in the company. Although it was not the normal practice to allow shareholders to do so, Katherine requested that the company buy back her share. On March 7, 1565, the general court of the Russia Company voted to pay her £128, which was done on January 1, 1566. According to T. S. Willan in The Early History of the Russia Company, this was the par value of the amount invested by Hussey up until the time of his death (an initial £25 and then “calls” for further investment to keep the company solvent). Katherine probably wished to sell the share back to avoid further calls. Had she been obliged to pay them, additional calls from the time Hussey died through November 15, 1564 would have amounted to an additional £72.


SUSAN WEEKS (d.1592)
Susan Weeks was the second wife of Sir Henry Cromwell of Hinchinbrooke, Huntingdonshire (1537-January 7, 1603/4). They married at some point after October 12, 1584. She acquired several stepchildren but had no children of her own. While staying at her house at Ramsey Abbey in mid-March 1590, Lady Cromwell paid a visit to Robert and Elizabeth Throckmorton in Warboys, Cambridgeshire (now Huntingdonshire), about four and a half miles distant. She was accompanied by her stepson Oliver’s wife, Elizabeth (née Bromley). The Throckmorton daughters alleged that Alice Samuel, an old woman who lived nearby, was causing them to fall into fits. Lady Cromwell took an interest in the case, both because she was friends with the Throckmortons and because John Samuel, Alice’s husband, was one of Sir Henry Cromwell’s tenants. She took Mrs. Samuel aside and berated her for what she had done. The quarrel escalated until Lady Cromwell plucked up a pair of scissors, cut off a lock of Mrs. Samuel’s hair, and gave it to Mrs. Throckmorton to burn—a folk remedy believed to weaken a witch’s power. Mrs. Samuel protested that she had never done Lady Cromwell any harm . . . “as yet.” According to one account, that very night Lady Cromwell had nightmares about Alice Samuel. A cat appeared and threatened to pluck all the flesh from her body. Elizabeth Cromwell, her mother-in-law’s bedmate, woke her from the nightmare, but the damage had been done. Soon after, Lady Cromwell fell ill, suffering some of the same symptoms as the Throckmorton girls. Although she lived more than two years longer—she was buried in All Saints, Huntingdon on July 12 1592—Alice Samuel was accused of bewitching her to death and arrested along with her husband and her daughter, Agnes, in March 1593. They were tried on April 4, 1593 for the murder by witchcraft of Lady Cromwell and hanged the next day. Sir Henry Cromwell confiscated the Samuels’ property and used it to pay for an annual sermon against witchcraft to be preached in Huntingdon in perpetuity. It was not discontinued until 1812. For more details about the Warboys Witches, see The Witches of Warboys by Philip C. Almond.


ANNE WELLES (x. June 28, 1592)
According to John Bellamy’s Strange, Unnatural Deaths: Murder in Tudor England, Anne Welles was a young woman of London who was courted by rival goldsmiths John Brewen and John Parker. Realizing he was unlikely to be successful in his suit, Brewen asked Anne to return the gifts he had given her. When she refused, he had her arrested. Parker, meanwhile, had gotten Anne with child but refused to marry her. She offered to marry Brewen if he would withdraw the charges against her. Their marriage apparently revived Parker’s interest in Anne and he persuaded her that he would marry her if she killed her husband. After their wedding night, she vowed not to live with him until he got another house. She returned at night to her own lodgings and even continued to go by her maiden name. She made her first attempt to poison her husband when they’d been married only three days. Brewen apparently did not make the connection between eating poisoned sugar sops— Randall Martin, in Women, Murder and Equity in Early Modern England, identifies sugar sops as pancakes—and falling violently ill. Brewen’s death was attributed to natural causes and the child Anne gave birth to was assumed to be his. For the next two years, she had a sexual relationship with Parker, but he did not marry her. When she became pregnant again, they were overheard arguing and the truth about her husband’s murder came out. After Anne’s second child was born, she was tried and convicted of Brewen’s murder and sentenced to watch Parker’s execution by hanging and then be burnt at Smithfield. An account of the crime was written by Thomas Kyd the playwright. For more details, see Bellamy’s book, pp. 53-55. Portrait: title page of “The trueth of the most wicked and secret murthering of John Brewen, Goldsmith of London, committed by his owne wife . . . ” (actually a woodcut recycled from John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs).



AGATHA WELLESBORNE (c.1505-June 13,1595)
Agatha Wellesborne was the daughter of Humphrey Wellesborne of Bisham, Berkshire. She married William Barlow (c.1500-August 13,1568), who at that time was probably already Bishop of St. David’s in Wales. Later he was Bishop of Bath and Wells. The story that Agatha was a nun before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, or a “runaway abbess of Norfolk,” has no basis in fact. At that time, however, it was illegal for clergy to marry. In 1554, Barlow fled to the Continent. Agatha followed him into exile for the duration of the reign of Mary Tudor. They were in Embden, then Wesel, and in 1556 Barlow was serving as chaplain to Catherine Willoughby, duchess of Suffolk, in exile at Weinheim Castle. Under Elizabeth Tudor, Barlow was made Bishop of Chichester. Their son, William (c.1549-May 25,1625) became Archdeacon of Salisbury. Their five daughters all married bishops. Margaret Barlow (c.1533-1601) married William Overton (1525-1609), Bishop of Coventry. Anne Barlow (d.1597) married Augustin Bradbridge (d.1567), prebendary of Salisbury, and then Herbert Westphaling, Bishop of Hereford (1532-1602). Elizabeth Barlow (1538-1575) married William Day, Bishop of Winchester (1520-September 20, 1596) in 1562. Frances Barlow (c.1551-May 8, 1629) married Matthew Parker (1551-1574), son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and then Tobie Mathew, Bishop of York (1546-1628). Anthonine Barlow (c.1552-1598) married William Wickham, Bishop of Lincoln (later Bishop of Winchester) (1539-1595). Their other children were John (d.1634) and five sons who died young. Agatha lived the last part of her life with her eldest son at Easton, Hampshire, where she is buried. Her daughter Frances erected a monument to her there.


Katherine Wells was prioress at Littlemore in Oxfordshire by 1507. Around 1509, she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter. The father was Richard Hewes, chaplain of Littlemore. He was a priest in Kent who visited the convent two or three times a year. Katherine kept her daughter with her and sold priory property to provide a dowry for the child. She also gave priory plate to Hewes. A visitation to the priory on June 17, 1517, when there were only five nuns living there, resulted in charges that Katherine had a child of seven or eight and that she refused to end her affair with Hewes because she loved him. Hewes was due to return in his role as chaplain around the first of August. Another complaint against her was that she was excessive in her punishments, putting nuns in the stocks if they criticized her. One of them, Julian Wynter, was found to have engaged in a love affair with a married man, John Wikisley of Oxford, and given birth c. 1516 to his illegitimate child. When Katherine was examined by the bishop, she at first she denied the charges against her. Then she confessed to having given birth to a daughter but said the child had died four years earlier. Katherine was deposed as prioress but she was allowed to continue to perform the functions of that office. One of the first things she did was put one of the nuns, Anne Willye, in the stocks for a month. She also resumed her affair with Hewes. When the bishop visited on September 2, 1518, he found matters at Littlemore worse than before. When Elizabeth Wynter offended Katherine by playing games with some boys in the cloister, Katherine beat her and put her in the stocks. The other nuns rescued her, burnt the stocks, and broke a window to escape the priory. They stayed at the house of one Inglyshe for two or three weeks. In 1524, Cardinal Wolsey recommended that the priory be dissolved. This was done in February 1525. As prioress, Katherine Wells received a pension of £6 13s.4d.





AGNES WENTWORTH (d. September 2, 1571?)

Agnes (or Anne) Wentworth was the daughter of Henry Wentworth (d.c.1545) and Agnes Hammond (d. 1574). She married Thomas Wentworth, 2nd baron Wentworth (1524-January 13, 1583/4), widower of her first cousin, Mary Wentworth (d.1554). Their children were William (1555/6-November 7, 1582), Henry, 3rd baron (1558-1593) and Elizabeth. Agnes escaped the fall of Calais in December 1557 only to be imprisoned in the Fleet on August 16, 1558 for religious offenses. On August 30 she was released and sent to her mother’s house in Essex. In September 1559, she was commanded by the new queen, Elizabeth, to attend the reception of the Swedish embassy with her husband. Several accounts give her date of death as September 2, 1571 (or 1576) and her burial the next day in Stepney, but if the year is 1576, that may be the date her mother, Agnes Hammond Wentworth Wilford, was buried there.




ANNE WENTWORTH (c.1526-January 1580/1)
Anne Wentworth was the daughter of Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield, Essex (d.1567) and Anne Bettenham. Since her siblings had all died by about 1554, she was her father’s heir. She married Sir Hugh Rich (d. November 1, 1554). In mid-April 1555 she married Henry Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers (1538-June 30, 1556). Shortly after their marriage, he was sent on a mission to the King of Bohemia and died in Brussels. Anne’s third husband was William Deane (d.1595), a younger son from a Lancashire family who was in her employ. In 1579, Lady Maltravers entertained Queen Elizabeth at Gosfield. She was buried there on January 20, 1580/1, next to her first husband.

ANNE WENTWORTH (c.1503-c.1572)
Anne (or Jane) Wentworth was the daughter of Sir Roger Wentworth of Gosfield, Essex. Around 1515, when she was twelve, she fell ill and began to have visions, much in the manner of Elizabeth Barton (the Nun of Kent). One of her visions convinced her that she must go on a pilgrimage to the Virgin at Our Lady of Ipswich. She went through various torments there that supposedly drove out the devils that had possessed her and left her with the gift of prophesy. Although her father objected, she entered the Franciscan convent of Bruisyard in Suffolk. After the dissolution of the monasteries, she lived in Framlingham. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Wentworth, Jane.”


BARBARA WENTWORTH (c.1526-1558+)
Barbara Wentworth was the daughter of Roger Wentworth of Hamthwaite, Adwick-le-Street, Yorkshire (d.1551). In 1531, when she was four or five years old, she was betrothed to eight-year-old Anthony Norman of Arksey. When Barbara reached the age of consent, she rejected the match. In May 1549, she pursued a claim for a formal annulment. In January 1550, she married Robert Holgate, archbishop of York (1481/2-November 15, 1555). The legality of this marriage was almost immediately challenged by Anthony Norman, with the result that the Holgates were summoned to appear before the Privy Council in November 1551. Their marriage was apparently validated. They had a son, Robert. In October 1553, Holgate was arrested for being a married priest and on March 16, 1554, he was deprived of his see. He recanted, repudiated his wife, and was released in January 1555. In his Apology, he claimed he’d been forced into marrying Barbara because of pressure from the duke of Somerset and the earl of Warwick (later duke of Northumberland) and that marrying her was an error in judgment. 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), Barbara Holgate was in possession of Scrooby in 1558, holding it in survivorship after Holgate’s death.


Dorothy Wentworth was the daughter of Richard Wentworth (d. October 17, 1528) and Anne Tyrrell (c.1479-1529+) and the sister of the first baron Wentworth. She married Sir Leonard Tollemache of Helmingham, Suffolk. Their children were Mary (1535-1606), Humphrey (b. 1536), Cecily (b.1537), Edyth (b.1541), Lionel (1545-1575), and Thomas (b.1549). Queen Elizabeth visited Helmingham on the progress of 1561. Portrait: miniature of a lady in black and pearl dress (called Queen Elizabeth but possibly Dorothy Wentworth) at Ham House, Surrey; in some accounts she is identified as the subject of a portrait painted in 1567 by the Master of the Countess of Warwick. Since the inscriptions indicates that the sitter was forty-three, she is unlikely to be Dorothy.

DOROTHY WENTWORTH (1543-January 3, 1601)
Dorothy Wentworth was the daughter of Thomas, 1st baron Wentworth (1501-March 3, 1551) and Margaret Fortescue (c.1502-c.1548). She married Paul Withypole (Wythypole/ Wythipool) of Ipswich and Rendlesham, Suffolk. Their children were Paul, Edmond, Elizabeth, and Mary. In April 1591 (Oxford DNB says 1590), in Whitwood, Yorkshire, she married Sir Martin Frobisher (c.1535-November 1594) as his second wife. Later she married Sir John Savile of Methley (1545-February 2, 1607) as his third of four wives.



Elizabeth Wentworth was the daughter of Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlestead, Suffolk (d.1499) and Anne Saye (d.c.1494). In 1499, she married Roger Darcy of Danbury, Essex (1478-September 30, 1508), squire of the body to Henry VII. Their children were Thomas (1506-June 28, 1558), Elizabeth, Thomasine, Eleanor, and Margaret. On August 1, 1509, the king granted her a license to marry Thomas Wyndham of Felbrigg, Norfolk (d.1522). They had a son, Thomas (d. March 1554). In his will, written on October 22, 1521 and proved March 4, 1523, Wyndham left his stepdaughters, Margaret and Elizabeth £200 each as a marriage portion. To his wife, he left his manors of Bentley and Hamethwayte in Yorkshire, Melton Constable, Aylmerton, and Runton in Norfolk, and the manor-place of Felbrigg for life. She also received household goods and plate and various rents. Some of these bequests reverted to his eldest son by his first wife when Elizabeth married John Bourchier, earl of Bath (July 20, 1470-April 30, 1539) as his third wife.

Elizabeth Wentworth was the daughter of Thomas Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire (d. February 14, 1586/7) and Margaret Gascoigne (c.1536-c.1592). On September 9, 1577, she married Thomas Danby (d.1581). They had one son, Christopher (1582-1624), heir to his grandfather, Sir Thomas Danby (d.1590), an estate worth £1500/year, excluding the jointure lands granted to Elizabeth. His wardship went to Thomas Cecil, eldest son of Lord Burghley, but was later granted to Elizabeth. The Danbys were distantly related to the Cecils. According to the entry on the Danby family in the Oxford DNB, Elizabeth was a recusant and she and her young son moved about a good deal to avoid trouble with the authorities. In the latter part of her life she was heavily fined.


JANE WENTWORTH (c.1539-April 16, 1614)
Jane Wentworth was the daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st baron Wentworth (1501-March 3, 1551) and Margaret Fortescue (c.1502-c.1548). In about 1565, she married Henry Cheney of Shurland Kent and Toddington, Bedfordshire (May 31, 1540-September 3, 1587). They had one daughter who predeceased her parents. He was created Baron Cheney of Toddington in 1572. In 1576, the Cheneys entertained Queen Elizabeth at Toddington. Henry Cheke dedicated his Freewyl to Lady Cheney. She employed the madrigalist Henry Lichfield in her home from c.1586-1614. In 1613, he dedicated “The firste set of madrigals in 5 parts” to her. On one occasion (undated), she hosted an entertainment attended by the earl and countess of Kent and Sir John and Lady Crofts. Jane was a patron of puritan preachers. She erected a momument to her husband at Toddington. Portraits: c.1563 by Hans Eworth (tentatively identified as Jane); effigy at Toddington, Bedfordshire.


Margaret Wentworth was the daughter of Thomas, 1st baron Wentworth (1501-March 3, 1551) and Margaret Fortescue (c.1502-c.1548). By a settlement dated April 19, 1557, she married John, baron Williams of Thame (1500-October 14, 1559) as his second wife. She acquired Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire in the marriage settlement. They had one daughter. Margaret was at court as a lady of the privy chamber early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Lord Williams left his widow several manors and his house at Elsingspital, together with cups given him by the queen, the duchess of Norfolk, and the second earl of Bedford. On October 10, 1560, she married William Drury (October 2, 1527-October 13, 1579). Their children were Jane, Anne, and Elizabeth. He was knighted in 1570. He died while serving as Lord Deputy of Ireland. In 1580, she married James Croft (d. September 4, 1624), third son of Sir James Croft of Croft Castle, Herefordshire, who had been on Sir William’s staff in Ireland. They had no children. They settled at Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire, near Bicester, which had come to Margaret through her first marriage. Portrait: Dr. Roy Strong has suggested that the portrait by Hans Eworth, long believed to be Margaret Clifford, countess of Derby, is really Margaret Wentworth. Given its similarities to the probable portrait of her sister Jane, this is a reasonable assumption.The coat of arms was added much later and isn’t right for either.


MARGERY WENTWORTH (c.1478-October 18, 1550)
Margery Wentworth was the daughter of Sir Henry Wentworth of Nettlestead, Suffolk (d.1499) and Anne Saye (d.c.1494). Margery was sent to join the household of her mother’s half sister, Elizabeth Tylney, countess of Surrey, at Sheriff Hutton Castle, Yorkshire, and was there at the time poet John Skelton may have written his poem The Garland of Laurel in praise of the countess of Surrey and her ladies. The work includes a shorter piece titled “To Mistress Margery Wentworth.” One of the lines is “Benign, courteous, and meek, With words well devised; In you, who list to seek, Be virtues well comprised.” On October 22, 1494, Margery married Sir John Seymour of Wulfhall, Wiltshire (c.1474-December 21,1536). Their children were John (d. 1510), Edward (1502-x. January 22, 1552), Henry (d.1578), Thomas (1507-x. March 10, 1549), Jane (c.1508-October 24, 1537), Elizabeth (1511-June 1563), Dorothy, Margery (d.c.1528), and Anthony (d.c.1528). Although Lady Seymour may occasionally have been at court when Catherine of Aragon was queen, she did not spend time there after her daughter Jane married Henry VIII or when her son Edward was duke of Somerset and Lord Protector for her grandson, King Edward VI. She made her home at Wulfhall, even after it passed into the possession of her eldest surviving son. It was a small establishment, the usual staff consisting of forty-four menservants and seven servant women. Two of the latter were nurses for Edward Seymour’s children. When King Henry VIII visited Wulfhall for four days in August 1539, Margery and her grandchildren moved into nearby Tottenham Lodge to make room for the royal party. The king arrived with a retinue of 200 and on the Sunday of the visit the Seymours had to feed some 400 persons. In September 1548, when her daughter-in-law, Katherine Parr, died in childbirth, Margery may have temporarily joined the household at Sudeley Castle to care for the newborn Mary Seymour. Other accounts have Thomas Seymour bringing the child to his brother’s house in London. In letters written at this time to Lady Jane Grey’s parents, in the hope of having Lady Jane returned to his guardianship, Thomas assured them that he would keep his late wife’s household intact and that his mother would take charge of it and treat young Lady Jane as if she were her own daughter. Since Lady Jane did go to live at Seymour Place, Thomas Seymour’s London house, one must suppose that Lady Seymour was also there. Six months later, Thomas was executed for treason and his baby daughter was sent to live with Catherine Willoughby, duchess of Suffolk. When the Lord Protector attempted to give his mother a state funeral, claiming it was her right as the king’s grandmother, the Privy Council refused permission. Margery’s will was proved on December 11, 1550.

Mary Wentworth was one of the seventeen children of Thomas, 1st baron Wentworth (1501-March 3, 1551) and Margaret Fortescue (c.1502-c.1548). In 1551 in St. Margaret’s Westminster, she married William Cavendish of Grimston Hall, Trimley St. Martin, Suffolk (c.1530-April 16,1572), not to be confused with the William Cavendish who married Elizabeth Hardwick. Their three or four sons and four daughters included Thomas (September 1560-c.1592), Mary, Anne (July 1562-1596+) and Elizabeth (b. July 1567). Cavendish’s will, made April 15, 1572, left all his movable property to his wife. To his mother (Beatrice Golde), he left an annuity of £110 and a weekly supply of ducks, mallards, and conies.






JANE WEST (1558-1621)
Jane West was the daughter of William West, created Baron de la Warr in 1570 (1519-December 30, 1595) and Elizabeth Strange (1534-1561+). According to the story reported in The Chronicle of St. Monica’s, Jane fell in love with one of her father’s gentlemen, James Cressy. Finding this an unsuitable match, de la Warr sent the young man away. On June 2, 1577, he married his daughter to Sir Thomas Wenman of Thame Park and Twyford, Buckinghamshire (c.1550-July 22, 1577). Their children were Richard (1573-1640) and Ferdinando (d.1610). Later she married Cressy. They had one child, Lettice. Although Jane was brought up in the Church of England, Cressy converted her to Catholicism and their daughter was raised in that faith. On January 16, 1588, Jane married Sir Thomas Tasburgh of Hawridge, Buckinghamshire (1554-January 1603). One account suggests he hounded her into the marriage, convincing her she would only be safe if she married a protestant. Jane brought the manor of Twyford and part of the manor of Eton Hastings from her first marriage and Wilton manor in Beaconsfield from her second marriage to her third. They lived at Wilton. Sir Thomas had no children, but in about 1595, he arranged the marriage of his nephew and heir, John Tasburgh of Flixton, Norfolk, to Jane’s daughter, Lettice, whose inheritance was estimated at £10,000. Tasburgh made his will August 20, 1601 and it was proved January 29, 1603. Jane married Sir Ralph Sheldon of Beoley, Worcestershire (d.1613), a manufacturer of tapestry maps. For the story of her peripheral involvement in the Gunpowder Plot, see the entry for Agnes Fermor. When Jane’s oldest Tasburgh granddaughter, twenty-five year old Agnes, wished to become a nun, Jane helped her travel abroad to join St. Monica’s. Portrait: c.1593

MARY WEST (d.1580+)
Mary West was the daughter and coheiress of Sir Owen West of Wherwell, Hampshire (1501-July 18, 1551) and Mary Guildford (1505-1565). She was the sole heiress of her sister, Anne. By 1559, she married Adrian Poynings of Dorset (c.1515-February 15, 1570/1). Their children were a son who died before his father, Elizabeth (d. September 26, 1574), Mary (d. October 29, 1591) and Anne (d. November 19, 1590). After the death of her uncle, Thomas West, 9th baron de la Warr, Poynings tried and failed to claim the de la Warr barony in the right of his wife. On February 22, 1570/1, Mary was granted the administration of Poynings’ estate. In about 1573, she married Sir Richard Rogers of Bryanston, Dorset (c.1527-1605) as his second wife. At about the same time, his eldest son Andrew married her eldest daughter, Elizabeth. In 1580, the marriage of her youngest daughter to Sir George More prompted her middle daughter and her husband, Sir Edward More, to bring suit in Chancery against Mary and her second husband.

ANNE WESTON (d. June 26, 1519)
Anne Weston was the daughter of Sir Edmund Weston of Boston, Lincolnshire and Catherine Camell. She was in the household of Elizabeth of York in 1502-3. Her salary in 1503 was £10. In 1509, she was a maid of honor to Catherine of Aragon. In October 1511, when she married Ralph Verney of Pendley (c.1482-May 8, 1525), also a member of the queen’s household, Queen Catherine gave her a dowry of 200 marks. Their children were Anne, Catherine (1516-July 22, 1553), Francis, Eleanor, Edward or Edmund, and possibly another son. Anne and her husband were buried in Albury, Hertfordshire.


Catherine Weston was the daughter of Sir Richard Weston of Sutton Place, Surrey (c.1465-August 7, 1541) and Anne Sandys (d.1542+). Her marriage license to wed John Rogers of Bryanston, Dorset (1510-July 1565) was dated January 27, 1523. Their twenty children included Richard (c.1527-1605), Thomas, George (c.1531-1617), Andrew, Nicholas, Matthew (c.1537-before 1613), Henry, William, Frances (c.1545-1605), Strangeways, and Francis. Eleven of their sons and two of their daughters died young. Catherine’s only brother, Francis Weston, was one of the gentlemen executed on charges he had been intimate with Queen Anne Boleyn. In 1556, her husband was imprisoned in the Fleet, probably for debt. He was buried at Blandford Forum, Dorset where, later, a monument was erected to him, his wife, and their children. Catherine survived him by fourteen years.



ELIZABETH JANE WESTON (November 2, 1582-November 23, 1612)
Elizabeth Jane Weston was the daughter of Joanna (or Jane) Cooper of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire (1563-1602) and John Weston (d. May 1582). By April 1583, Joanna was married to Edward Kelley, who worked as an assistant to Dr. John Dee. It has been said that he was paid to marry her to legitimize her children by an aristocratic lover, Elizabeth Jane and her brother John Francis (1580-1600), but there is no proof of this. Kelley and his new wife went abroad with Dee, his wife, and their children. At first, Joanna’s children remained with their grandmother, but they later joined their mother and stepfather in Prague. When the Dees returned to England, the Kelleys remained behind. Kelley was, for a time, high in the favor of Emperor Rudolph II, but he was imprisoned in 1591 for killing a man and is believed to have died around 1597. From that point onward, especially after the death of her brother, Elizabeth Jane and her mother were in dire financial straits. She wrote letters appealing to members of the court for aid and also began to write poems in Latin. Poemata was published in 1602. She had been well educated and spoke German, Greek, Latin, Italian, and all the Czech languages and was welcomed into literary circles as the “new Sappho.” In April 1603, she married Johannes Leo, a lawyer and courtier. They had four sons, all of whom died young, and three daughters. Known professionally as “Westonia” and famous as “an English maiden,” she described herself in 1610 as “Elizabeth Jane, wife of Johannes Leo, Agent in the Imperial Court and Englishwoman of the Weston family.” She died in childbirth (the Oxford DNB says of consumption) and was buried in the Church of St. Thomas in Prague. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Weston, Elizabeth Jane.” Portraits: J. Balzer engraving from an edition of her poems (1677); drawing in Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany.


Cecily Whaplett of the parish of St. Katherine Colman in London made her will on October 8, 1542. An inventory of her movable goods was taken “5th All Souls next.” What is interesting about this will is that the four witnesses were all women: Helene Hutchyns, Barbara Harman, Elyzabeth Wynter, and Jane Hyckes. Cecily left everything to Gabryell Newman except “my best payre of sylver hokes,” which went to Margerye Newman. The total value of her possessions was 52s. 6d. and the word “olde” appears in almost every entry—two featherbeds with bolsters, two blankets, two pillows, two coverlets, two pairs of sheets, and a cloth gown with buckram lining. Her dishes were pewter and she had a skillet and kettle of latten. The entire inventory can be found at http://www.british-history.ac.uk in London Consistory Court Wills 1492-1547.

Agnes Wharton was the daughter of Thomas, 1st baron Wharton (d. August 23, 1568) and Eleanor Stapleton. She was betrothed to Henry Curwen but married Richard Musgrave of Hartley, Westmorland and Edenhall, Cambridgeshire (August 1524-September 1555). Her father was his guardian in 1544-5 and they were probably married during that period. Their children were Thomas (June 1546-March 3, 1565/6) and Eleanor (d. July 24, 1623). Agnes was granted the wardship of her son on May 1, 1556. After he died, his great uncle, Simon Musgrave, claimed that Agnes had been legally married to Curwen and that her children with Richard Musgrave were illegitimate, making Simon the Musgrave heir. The archbishop of Canterbury set up a commission to investigate. They ruled in favor of Agnes and her daughter.



Margaret Wharton was the daughter of Philip, 3rd baron Wharton (June 23,1555-March 26,1625) and Frances Clifford (1556-April 16,1592). She was a maid of honor in 1602-3. In September 1603, she married Edward Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent (1548-May 4,1626), who had been created baron Wotton in June of that year, as his second wife. They had no children. When he died, the inscription she ordered put on his tomb declared that they were both Catholics. She was subsequently fined and ordered to remove the word Catholic.

Anne Wheathill (Whetehill/Whethill/Whettles) was a gentlewoman, probably unmarried, who published a collection of forty-nine prayers titled A Handfull of Holesome (though Homelie) Hearbs in 1584. The Oxford DNB entry under “Wheathill, Anne” adds no further biographical information.


Margaret Whetehill was the daughter of Richard Whetehill of Earl’s Barton and Sywell, Northamptonshire, London, and Calais (1410-1484/5) and his wife Joan. He was mayor of Calais. In 1464, in Calais, Margaret married Thomas Walden of London, Walden, Essex, and Deptford and Erith, Kent (1439-June 1474). Their children were Richard (1465-June 1539), John, and Jane. Like her father, her husband was a merchant of the staple of Calais. Before July 6, 1475, she married John Radcliffe, Lord Fitzwalter (January 1, 1452-November 24, 1496). Their children were Robert, 1st earl of Sussex (1483-1542), Mary (d. by 1512), Bridget, Ursula, Jane (a nun) and Anne. Although Fitzwalter was beheaded for treason related to the Perkin Warbeck conspiracy, Margaret was a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York until 1503 and may have been the Lady Fitzwalter who was among Catherine of Aragon’s ladies at the funeral of King Henry VII in 1509. From July 1505, a second Lady Fitzwalter, her daughter-in-law, Lady Elizabeth Stafford, was also at court. John Radcliffe’s attainder was reversed in 1504 and the manors of Southmere, Docking, Billingford, and East Rushton, Norfolk were settled on his widow for life. In 1517, she was admitted to the fraternity of St. Nicholas in London. The last mention of Margaret in official records is in the marriage settlement of her daughter Anne and Sir Walter Hubert (or Hobart), dated July 6, 1518.

ROSE WHETEHILL (1472-1521+)
Rose Whetehill was the daughter of Adrian Whetehill of Calais (1415-1503/4) and Margaret Worsley (d. December 13, 1505). Rose was one of four mistress attributed to Sir Edward Poynings of Westenhanger, Kent (1459-October 22, 1521). How many of his seven illegitimate children were hers is unclear, but she is generally accepted as the mother of Rose Poynings (b. Calais 1505) and Adrian Poynings (d. February 23, 1571). According to the History of Parliament, Adrian was born in Ghent while his father was in the Netherlands as English ambassador to the Emperor, but dates vary for his birth. One genealogy (which says Sir Edward and Rose were married) gives 1508. The Oxford DNB gives c.1512, and the History of Parliament opts for c.1515. Rose may also have been the mother of Thomas Poynings (c.1512-August 17, 1545), created Baron Poynings on January 30, 1545. Jane (Joan/Mary) Poynings, Lady Clinton, whose birth date is generally given as c.1482, is unlikely to have been Rose’s child. Sir Edward wrote his will on July 27, 1521 and it was proved December 19, 1521. In it he left Rose an annuity of 40 marks.

Margaret Whetenhall was the daughter of William Whetenhall or Whettenhall of Hextall’s Court, East Peckham, Kent and Wallbury, Hassingbroke, and Fanges, Essex (November 8, 1467-1539) and Anne Cromer or Crowmer (d.1520+). In August 1511, she married Thomas Roydon of Roydon Hall in East Peckham and Ringes, Kent (c.1482-August 10, 1557). Their children were George (d.1541), William (d.c.1548), John, Margaret (c.1511-c.1590), Anne (d.c.1564), Elizabeth (1523-August 19, 1595), Mary (c.1525-1591+), Alice (c.1527-c.1566), and Katherine. In 1521, Margaret’s father gave the couple the manor of Gore in Tunstall, Kent. In 1552, Roydon purchased the manor of of the Rectory of Hadlow, Kent from Elizabeth Lady Fane. Margaret was buried at East Peckham, Kent on June 23, 1576. She left a will dated January 19, 1575/6, which was proved August 2, 1576.

ALICE WHITAKER (c.1542-x. August 20, 1612)
Alice Whitaker was the daughter of Giles Whitaker of Huncoat, Lancashire. In about1560/61, she married Richard Nutter of Roughlee (d.1584). Their children were Miles (1565-1633), John, James, Richard, and Elizabeth. As a widow, Alice lived at Crow Trees. In 1612, she was accused of helping kill a neighbor, Henry Minton, by witchcraft. She refused to speak in her own defense. It has been suggested that she kept silent to protect Catholic friends. Another possibility is that she was suffering from age-related dementia and had little idea what was going on.



ELEANOR WHITE (c.1568-1587 +)

Eleanor White was the daughter of John White of St. Clement Danes Parish, London (c.1540-c.1593) and Thomasyn Cooper. On June 24, 1583, she married Ananias Dare (c.1560-1587+), a tiler and bricklayer, in St. Brides, Fleet Street, London. They had two children born in London, John and Thomasine, before Eleanor’s father was named governor of the fledgling colony of Roanoke. She was one of sixteen women among the 115 settlers who made the voyage across the Atlantic. On August 18, 1587, Eleanor gave birth to the first English child born in the New World, naming her Virginia. White returned to England for supplies and was unable to return until 1590, by which time the colonists had disappeared. The Dares had left their son in London. In April 1594, his custody was granted to John Nokes. Biography: entry in Carole Levin, et al, editors, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen.

Elizabeth White was the daughter of Henry White of London and Christchurch, Hampshire (d.1535) and Audrey Fenrother. Her family was Catholic. By 1553, she married Sir John Godsalve of London and Norwich (c.1505-November 20, 1556) as his second wife. Godsalve held the posts of clerk of the signet and comptroller of the Tower mint, among others. In his will he named Elizabeth one of his executors. She married Henry Fane of Hadlow, Kent (d. June 11, 1580). They had one son, also named Henry (1560-October 14, 1596). Her brother, Robert White (1518/19-1565), left her a ring and a gelding in his will. John Strype in Ecclesiastical Memorials reports that “one Mistress Godsalve” was kept by Bishop Steven Gardiner (d.1555), but no evidence has been found for this claim, nor is it clear which Mistress Godsalve Strype meant. Portrait: Elizabeth is not the Mistress Godsalve whose portrait was painted by Hans Holbein as a companion piece to one of her husband.

Frances White was the daughter of Sir Thomas White of South Warnborough, Hampshire (d. November 2, 1566), Master of Requests to Queen Mary, and Agnes White (daughter of Robert White of Farnham, Surrey). She married Francis Yate of Lyford Grange, Berkshire (1548-1588), but she was not the Mrs. Yate at Lyford Grange when Edmund Campion was arrested there. That was Jane Tichborne.


MARGARET WHITE (d.1602+) (maiden name unknown)
Margaret White was the widow of Henry White, clothmaker. On October 27, 1602, after being brought to Bridewell for having a child out of wedlock (she named Henry Noone of the Star and Cock in Fenchurch Street as the father), she filed a complaint stating that she had been raped on midsummer’s night 1602 at Goodwife Winter’s house in Star Alley without Bishopsgate and named Christopher Beeston, a player who was one of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, as her rapist. Beeston, who had been married in September 1602, appeared in court on November 5, 1602 to deny the charge. He was back in court on November 13, but if he was imprisoned or otherwise punished there is no record of it, or of what happened to Margaret.


MARY WHITE (c.1500-c.1587)
Mary (or Maria) White was the daughter of William White of Reading, Berkshire (c.1460-1523), a clothier, and Mary Kibblewhite (d.1523). Her brother, Thomas (1492-1567), was Lord Mayor of London in 1553 and founder of St. John’s College, Oxford. Mary wed John Bridgman or Bridgeman (c.1465-c.1557). Their children were Katherine (b.c.1530), Anne (b.c.1531), William, and Edward. She married William Matthew or Mathew (d.1565), a mercer who moved from Abingdon to Oxford in 1558, apparently at about the time he married Mrs. Bridgman. He was mayor of Oxford when he died. As his widow, Mary Mercer took over her late husband’s business. She set a record among women who took apprentices by having twelve of them during her widowhood. Portrait: painted while she was still Mrs. Bridgman.


SUSAN WHITE (before 1510-1566)
Susan White was the daughter of Richard White of Hutton Hall, Essex and Maud Tyrell. She may have been in the service of Mary Tudor as early as 1525 and she remained with the princess until she was dismissed in late 1533. By 1534, she married Thomas Tonge, Clarencieux King-at-arms (d.March 1536) and is better known to history as Susan or Susanna Clarence, Clarencius, or Clarencieux. In June 1536, when Mary’s household was reorganized, Susan was one of the three women Mary asked for by name. In 1544, she received an annuity of £13 and the grant of Chevenhall. In 1553, she was given the manor of Thundersley in Essex by Edward VI. When Mary became queen, Susan was named Mistress of Robes, a new position that combined the duties of Yeoman of the Wardrobe and Groom of the Stole. This title is questioned by Charlotte Merton in her The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. She argues that there was no such official position until the reign of James I. In 1554, Susan was granted Chingford Earls and Chingford St. Pauls. In 1555, she was the only one present when the recently imprisoned Elizabeth Tudor met with her half sister the queen. A story told in Linda Porter’s First Queen of England paints Susan as conniving and greedy, saying she persuaded the Venetian ambassador, Michieli, to make a gift to Queen Mary of his coach and horses, after which Mary turned around and presented them to Susan. She received many gifts from Queen Mary, including grants of land in Essex and the wardships of William Latham of Essex and Robert Stapleton of Yorkshire. She is recorded as having spent 16s. at the sale of Archbishop Cranmer’s possessions in 1553, for an old Turkish “foot carpet” and a carpet for a sideboard. Susan was with Mary when the queen died on November 17, 1558 and the dying Mary gave her further gifts to insure her future, granting her the manors of RIvenhall, Runwell, Chingford Paul, and Chingford Comitis in Essex. Susan transferred her English properties to her brother, Richard, before leaving the country in August 1559 in the retinue of Jane Dormer, countess of Feria. She appears to have remained in that household until her death, although the History of Parliament entry for her nephew says she went overseas “for a short while.” Biographies: Oxford DNB entry under “Tonge [née White], Susan;” Jennifer Ann Rowley-Williams, chapter in Image and Reality: the Lives of Aristocratic Women in Early Tudor England (unpublished PhD dissertation, 1998).


ISABEL WHITEHEAD (before 1515-March 18, 1587)
Isabel Whitehead was a nun at Arthington Priory, Yorkshire at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The prioress, Elizabeth Hall,surrendered the priory on November 26, 1540. She received a pension of £35 but the eight nuns in her charge received considerably less. Dame Isabel is likely to have been one of the younger nuns, since she lived another forty-eight years, part of that time with Lady Middleton of Stockeld (probably the third wife of William Middleton). After Lady Middleton’s death, Isabel “wandered up and down doing charitable work” until she went to live with Katherine Ingleby (d.1600+), wife (or more probably widow) of William Ardington of Ardington Hall. By this time Dame Isabel was in poor health. At Michaelmas 1586, the Ardington house was searched for Catholics. Mrs. Ardington and her daughter, Jane (or Anne) (1556-1606), the wife of Sir Ralph Grey, were taken into custody and the searchers badgered Dame Isabel, who lay sick in her bed, threatening her with swords and saying that they would kill her if she did not tell them where David Ingleby (Mrs. Ardington’s brother) and a Mr. Winsour were. Winsour was Edward Windsor, son of the 3rd baron Windsor, who was David Ingleby’s co-conspirator in the Babington Plot. The searchers arrested Dame Isabel and imprisoned her in York Castle, where she died the following March. She was buried “under the castle walls.”


ANNE WHITHERS (d. August 27, 1547) (maiden name unknown)
The inquisition post mortem of Anne Whithers was conducted on September 3, 1547. She died at “Hadley Staunford,” Middlesex but she owned a brewhouse called the Wrastelars in “Aldricheagate street in the parish of St. Botolph without Aldrichegate, London,” along with the adjoining messuage and “all the tubs and other necessaries for brewing.” Other properties in her possession were five tenements with a garden adjoining on the south side of the brewhouse and a tenement called “Flees” with an adjoining garden on the north side. Anne left the five tenements to five poor women to dwell in without paying any rent. The only requirement was that they pray for the souls of Anne, her parents, her late husband, and her children. These women were also to be paid 6d. every Sunday. Anne’s principal heir was her son William, “aged thirteen and more” on September 3, 1547.


ELIZABETH WHITMORE (1580-August 17, 1624)
Elizabeth Whitmore was the third daughter of Sir William Whitmore (1543-August 8, 1593), haberdasher and alderman of London, and Anne Bond (1543-October 8, 1615). In about 1597, she married Sir William Craven (c.1545-July 18, 1618), Lord Mayor of London in 1610/11, a merchant and money lender whose personal fortune was reckoned at £125,000. Their four sons and three daughters included William (1608-April 19, 1697), John (1610-1648), Thomas (1617-1637), Elizabeth (d. October 8, 1662), and Mary (d. October 18, 1634). From 1588, he leased a mansion house in Watling Street in the parish of St. Antholin from the Mercers and conducted most of his business there until his death. In 1607, the family moved into the former Zouche’s Inn in Leadenhall Street after it had been remodeled by Sir Robert Lee. Among other amenities, this house had sixty-two rooms, external yards, a flower garden, and a summer pleasure house. Craven was buried August 11, 1618 in St. Andrew Undershaft. In 1620, Elizabeth and her son William purchased Stokesay Castle in Shropshire and other properties for £13,500. In one of his letters, John Chamberlain called her “the richest widow that ever died.” She left properties worth £8000 per annum to her son William and properties worth £5000 per annum to her son John.


ELINOR WHITNEY (c.1550-March 1596)
Elinor Whitney was the daughter or granddaughter of James Whitney of Clifford (c.1500-1564) and his first wife, Sybil Parry. She married Richard Bull (d. April 1590) on October 14, 1571 at St. Mary-le-Bow, London. They had no children. Bull was sub-bailiff at Sayes Court, the manor house of Deptford, Kent, a village less than a mile from Greenwich Palace, and owned his own house with a garden. In 1589, Elinor inherited £100 from her “cousin” Blanche Parry, the queen’s lady in waiting. As a widow, Elinor seems to have begun taking in lodgers. Contrary to some reports, she did not run a tavern on Deptford Strand. It was at her house that, on May 30, 1593, Christopher Marlowe met three other men and was killed in a quarrel over a reckoning. One of the four men, probably Ingram Frizer, was Elinor’s lodger. Elinor was mentioned in trial records but not involved in the crime. She was buried at St. Nicholas, Deptford, with her husband.

ISABELLA WHITNEY (c.1540-1580+)
Isabella Whitney was the daughter of Geoffrey Whitney of Coole Pilate, Cheshire (c.1520-1587). Her brother, a second Geoffrey (c.1548-c.1601), was an emblem book writer. Isabella’s original poetic works were “The Copie of a letter, lately written in Meeter by a yonge gentilwoman to her inconstant louer by Is. W.” (1567) and “A Sweet Nosgay, or pleasant Posye containing a hundred and ten Phylosophicall Flowers” (1573). The first, perhaps autobiographical and perhaps not, purports to be a copy of a letter written to her betrothed upon learning that he was secretly planning to marry someone else. According to some genealogies, Isabella married a man named Eldershae and had two children. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Whitney, Isabella.”

ANNE WHITTLE (c.1535-x. August 20, 1612)
Anne Whittle, known as “Old Chattox,” was one of the Pendle Witches. According to the account in John A. Clayton’s The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy, her parents were probably Christopher Whittiles (d.1567+) and Jeneta Whyttle (c.1576). Or else she took her name from the area she came from—Whitelea. She seems to have had three daughters by a man named Ellis Brown (d.1576)—Agnes or Anne, Jeneta, and Elizabeth. Anne Whittle is said to have become a witch around 1565. Her eldest daughter, Anne, who married Thomas Redferne, was also accused of being a witch, a charge Anne Whittle vehemently denied in court. It is possible that Anne Redferne was the victim of a vindictive young man whose demand for sexual favors she’d turned down.

ANNE WHORWOOD (d. June 1, 1552)
Anne Whorwood was the daughter of William Whorwood (d. May 28, 1545), attorney general of England, and his first wife, Cassandra Grey (d. before 1537). She married Lord Ambrose Dudley (1531-February 21, 1590). Her unexpected death at Otford, Kent was described in considerable detail in a letter from her father-in-law, John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, to Sir William Cecil. Some sources, especially older ones, say this death and description were of Northumberland’s daughter, Temperance, who died at age seven, but that is not the case. Anne had been ill, seemed to be recovering, and suddenly took a turn for the worse. One source says Whorwood was the name of her first husband and that she left behind a daughter, Margaret, who became Northumberland’s ward, but the entry for William Whorwood in The History of Parliament makes it clear that Lord Ambrose’s wife was his eldest daughter. The Margaret who was Northumberland’s ward was Anne’s younger half sister, the daughter of William Whorwood’s second wife, Margaret Brooke (d.1589).


AGNES WIDMERPOLE (d. before 1553)
Agnes Widmerpole married Sir John Godsalve (c.1505-November 20, 1556). Their children were William (c.1530-1561) and Thomas (d.1587). Portrait: 1536 by Hans Holbein the Younger as a companion piece to the portrait of her husband.

ANNE WIGMORE (d. April 9, 1631) (maiden name unknown)
Anne was left a wealthy widow by the death of her first husband, Sir Richard Wigmore of St. Margaret’s, Westminster (d. May 1621). His will was probated June 25, 1621. On May 8, 1623 marriage intentions were recorded between Stephen Pole of Stepney and Lady Anne Wigmore of Westminster. This was Sir Stephen Powle or Powell (c.1553-May 26, 1630) and she was his third wife. They lived in King Street. Shortly before Powle’s death, Dame Anne Wigmore filed a petition (dated March 2, 1630) to address the abuses in the postal system by incorporating carriers, footposts, hackney coachmen, badgers, kidders, laders, polterers, maltsters, and drovers. Their membership would be signified by wearing silver badges, the payments for which would go to her, as the originator of the scheme, for three years. Neither Powle nor his wife survived that long. They were buried in St. Margaret’s, Westminster.


Winefrid Wigmore was the daughter of Sir William Wigmore of Lucton, Herefordshire, and Anne Throckmorton. She was one of five women who joined Mary Ward in founding what was to become the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an order dedicated to the education of women. When the institute spread into Flanders and Italy, Winefrid was appointed superior in Naples in 1624. After Mary Ward’s death in 1645, Winefrid Wigmore and Mary Poyntz wrote her biography and chose the subjects for a series of fifty oil paintings to depict her life. Biographies: M. Philip, Companions of Mary Ward (1939); Oxford DNB entry under “Wigmore, Winefrid.” Portrait: one from the early 1600s.

DOROTHY WILBRAHAM (1572-January 29, 1635/6)
Dorothy Wilbraham was the daughter of Thomas Wilbraham of Woodhey, Cheshire (1554-July 12, 1610) and Frances Cholmondeley, although some genealogies say they did not marry until January 25, 1587. In about 1598, Dorothy married Sir John Done of Utkinton and Flaxyards, Cheshire (1575-April 13, 1629). Their children were John (d. October 2, 1620), Ralph (b. January 29, 1601), Jane (d.1662), Frances (1603-1629), Mary (July 12, 1604-July 6, 1690), Elizabeth, Eleanor, and Margaret. They were not the parents of the John Doane who was a deacon in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Portrait: by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.


Joan Wilcock came from Rotheram, Yorkshire. She married Thomas Locke or Lok (d. 1507). Their children were William (c.1486-August 24, 1550), John (d. 1519), and Thomas (d.1552+). As a silkwoman, she supplied goods to the great wardrobe for Lady Catherine Gordon and to Queen Elizabeth of York in 1502-3. According to Maria Hayward in Dress at the Court of King Henry VIII, she was Elizabeth of York’s preferred supplier of headwear, providing a bonnet on May 25, 1502 and frontlets, bonnets and other items in January 1503. On January 31, 1503, she was paid £20 on a bill that totaled £60 6s 5d.

JANE WILD (December 25, 1509- October 10, 1580)
Jane (or Johanna) Wild was the daughter and heiress of William Wild or Wilde of Milton-next-Gravesend, Kent. In 1524, she married Rowland Dee (d. by 1555), a London mercer living in Tower ward who held the position of a gentleman sewer at the court of Henry VIII. Their children were a daughter (b.1525) and four sons. Only one, John (July 13, 1527-1608/9), survived childhood. He went on to become one of the most famous men in England. As a widow, Jane settled at Mortlake, Surrey, where she owned an “ancient messuage of outhouses, orchard and garden.” She lived there for the rest of her life.

AGNES WILFORD (1570-c.1647)
Agnes Wilford was the daughter of Thomas Wilford (d.1612) and Mary Browne and was born at Ridley Hall in Terling, Essex. She married John Throckmorton (d.1604) in 1589. Their four sons and five daughters included Margaret (1591-1633+), Robert, Eleanor, Winifred, Ambrose, Thomas, and George, who were still living at the time their father died. Agnes held Moor Hall, Spernall, and Samborne in Warwickshire as her jointure and settled at Moor Hall in her widowhood, turning it into a safe house for priests. She insisted upon participating in the marriage arrangements for her children and her correspondence with her father-in-law and with her eldest son is still extant. Her father-in-law left her £150 in his will, to supplement her jointure. Biography: “Agnes Throckmorton: A Jacobean Recusant Widow” by Jan Broadway (in Catholic Gentry in English Society: The Throckmortons of Coughton from Reformation to Emancipation, edited by Peter Marshall and Geoffrey Scott).



CECILY WILFORD (1536-February 5, 1610/11)
Cecily Wilford was the daughter of Sir Thomas Wilford or Wilsford of Hartridge in Cranbrooke, Kent and his second wife, Rose Whetenhall. On February 19, 1558/9, she married Edwin Sandys (1519-August 8, 1588). Their children were Samuel (December 28, 1560-August 18, 1623), Edwin (December 9, 1561-October 1629), Miles (1563-1644), William (d.yng), Margaret, Thomas, Anne, Henry, Hester, and George (March 2, 1577/8-March 1644). They married shortly after his return from exile on the Continent, where his first wife and son had died. He became Bishop of Worcester on December 21, 1559, Bishop of London on July 13, 1570, and Archbishop of York in 1575. Sandys is credited with coining the name “Bloody Mary” for Mary Tudor. Sir John Bourne, an outspoken critic of “priests’ whores,” was nevertheless sufficiently impressed by Cecily to describe her as “faier, well nurtured, sober and demure.” During her long widowhood, Cecily lived at Edwins Hall, Woodham Ferrers, Essex, where she shared her house with her son, Miles, and was looked after by a granddaughter, Bridget. In her will, dated January 17, 1610/11 and proved February 12, 1610/11, she left a Geneva Bible to each of her daughters and set aside £200 for her funeral and a monument in which she appears in widow’s weeds in a bower of roses. In part the inscription reads that she “lived a pure maid twenty-four years; a chaste and loving wife twenty-nine years; a true widow twenty-two years to her last” and died on February 5, 1610 “at the rising of the sun.” Portraits: with her husband, c. 1571; effigy in Woodham Ferrers, Essex; effigy on her husband’s tomb in Southwell Minster.




PHILIPPA WILFORD (1524-June 15, 1578)
Philippa Wilford was the daughter of John Wilford of London. She married Sir John Hampden of Great Hampden, Buckinghamshire, Theydon Mount, Essex and other places (d. December 20, 1553). They had no children. On July 21, 1554, between two and three in the afternoon, Philippa was betrothed to Sir Thomas Smith (1513-August 12, 1577). They were married two days later, between nine and ten in the morning. They had no children. Smith had been deprived of his offices when Queen Mary succeeded her brother to the throne. After his marriage, he quit his new house at Ankerwyke and moved into Hill Hall in Theydon Mount, part of Philippa’s jointure. In 1557, he began to rebuild Hill Hall. When Queen Elizabeth succeeded Queen Mary, Smith returned to public life. He was in France as ambassador from September 1562 until 1566, returned in April 1567, and was sent back again in 1571-2. It was usual for ambassadors to France to take their wives with them. During his last years, spent at Hill Hall, Smith was in ill health, probably suffering from cancer of the throat. He made his will on February 18, 1577. Among other bequests, he left his library (350 books) to Queens’ College. His principal heir was his nephew, William Smith (c.1550-1626), but he did not immediately enter into this estates. According to William’s entry in the History of Parliament, Philippa held some in jointure and “was concerned with getting as much from the estate as possible.” William later accused the executors of his uncle’s will of failing to finish the house Sir Thomas had begun and of disposing of the furniture after Philippa’s death. Philippa made her will on May 21, 1578 and it was proved July 13, 1579.

ALICE WILKES (d.1542+)
Alice Wilkes or Welkes was a servant in the household of Agnes Tylney, duchess of Norfolk, at Horsham, Sussex and Lambeth at the same time as Catherine Howard and she was aware of that young woman’s sexual hijinks. Alice’s future husband, Anthony Restwold of the Vache, Buckinghamshire (d. by 1566) was also part of that household. They married at about the same time Catherine went to court in the fall of 1539. Later, Alice would would testify that she was “a married woman and wist what matrimony meant and what belonged to that puffing and blowing” she heard behind the bed curtains when Francis Dereham, a gentleman pensioner in the service of the duke of Norfolk (the dowager duchess’s stepson) was with Catherine. After Catherine married King Henry VIII, Alice came to court. Some accounts say she was there as a chamberer, but unlike most of those young women, Alice has the word “gentlewoman” added after her name in some records. In the abstracts of confessions of witnesses against the queen, reprinted at British History Online, is the following: “Alice Restwold, lately called Alice Welkes:—The Queen at her last being at Cheyneys, the lord Admiral’s house, sent for her, by Dereham and by Kath. Tilney, and at her coming, kissed and welcomed her and ordered her to lie with her chamberers; and afterwards sent her, by Lady Rochford, upper and nether habiliments of goldsmith’s work for the French hood and a tablet of gold.” Mary Lascelles (née Hall), who was in the household of the duchess of Norfolk but did not become one of Catherine’s attendants at court, testified that “Alice Welkes” told her about Catherine’s “doings” with Dereham while they were both in service to the duchess. In another hand is written “Alice Wilkes, alias Restwold.” Mary went on to say that she did not know where Welkes dwelt but that Lord William (Howard) “put her in service.” In other words, it was the dowager duchess’s son who recommended Alice as a servant for his mother. Alice was questioned on November 5, 1541. Anthony Restwold, meanwhile, had entered the service of Lord Maltravers, who in 1541 was deputy governor of Calais. On November 27, 1541, the Privy Council asked Maltravers to excuse the continued absence of his servant, who was being detained in London while his wife was examined. Alice was guilty of misprision of treason for having concealed facts concerning the queen’s behavior and on December 22, 1541 was sentenced to be kept in perpetual imprisonment and forfeit all her goods and chattels, lands and tenements. Under the law, a wife actually owned nothing. It all belonged to her husband. One must therefore suppose that Alice lost only her freedom. In February 1542, her conviction and sentence were confirmed by Parliament but she was pardoned a few weeks later. After that, nothing more is known of her and the only record of her husband is in 1554 and 1555 when he served as a member of Parliament. He died before January 1560.

ALICE WILKES (1547-October 26, 1613)
Alice Wilkes was the daughter of Thomas Wilkes, an Islington innkeeper, and his first wife. In 1570, she married Henry Robinson (1543-1585), a brewer. Their children were John, William, Henry, John, Thomas, Henry, Margaret, Susan, Anne, Anne, and Alice. She was pregnant with her eleventh child, Henry, when her husband died. She married William Elkin (d.1593), a mercer. They had a daughter, Ursula (c.1587-1622+). During this marriage, Alice’s eldest daughter, Margaret, then twelve years old, was abducted by John Skinner, who hoped to marry her. Legal action followed but before anything was resolved, Skinner vanished. Margaret was married off to someone else. In about 1595, Alice married Thomas Owen (d. December 21, 1598), a judge. His son Roger (1573-May 29, 1617) married to her daughter Ursula. During her third widowhood, on June 5, 1608, Dame Alice Owen purchased eleven acres in Islington, including the spot where she had nearly been killed by an arrow as a child, and built a school for thirty boys, a hospital for ten widows, a free chapel, and almshouses. She left bequests to Christ’s Hospital and to Oxford and Cambridge Universities. She was buried at St. Mary, Islington. Biography: Clive Rose’s Alice Owen: The Life, Marriages and Times of A Tudor Lady. Portraits: a small figure from the almshouses; 1840 copy of a 1610 portrait (original destroyed in World War II); 1897 statue based on fragments from Alice’s tomb (original effigy lost when the church was rebuilt in 1751).


AGNES WILKINSON (d. 1599+) (maiden name unknown)
Agnes was the wife of Michael Wilkinson. She lived in Love Lane, London. In November and December 1597, she housed a woman named Barbara Allen at the request of Sir William Brooke (1525-December 10, 1597). Brooke paid Mrs. Wilkinson 5s/week in board and the 30s. he paid Barbara on each visit was split between the two women. Agnes supplied Barbara with clothing suitable for a gentlewoman and on December 8, 1597 escorted her to Sir William’s residence. Barbara was supposed to be available for his exclusive use but she also serviced other clients. In 1598, a woman named Helen Cootes was briefly placed with Agnes by George Eden, a notorious pimp. When Agnes was examined at Bridewell in March 1598, she revealed she had escorted a girl named Alice Partridge, who had been dismissed from her position as a maidservant and taken in by Agnes, to the office in Whitehall of George Brooke, brother of Sir William. Agnes, Barbara Allen, Alice Partridge, and two housemaids were questioned. Alice Partridge’s deposition included an account of Agnes’s quarrel, at court, with George Brooke’s pimp, Allen (not to be confused with Barbara Allen), over her commission. The confrontation ended with Allen drawing his dagger and then pushing Agnes into the Thames. Michael Wilkinson had to rescue his wife from the river before she drowned. Mrs. Wilkinson was still in business the following year, when Elizabeth Reignoldes briefly worked in her house. On April 11, 1599, Agnes hosted a gathering in honor of her sister, Jane, a prostitute who had recently given birth to a child. She invited three other bawds and three other prostitutes. For more details see 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.


ANNE WILLIAMS (c.1533-1572+)
Anne Williams was the daughter of Reginald Williams of Burghfield, Berkshire and Elizabeth Fox and the niece of John Williams, 1st baron Williams of Thame. She married Anthony Forster of Shropshire (c.1510-November 7, 1572). Their children included John, Cynthia, Penelope, Robert, and Henry. Forster was indicted in 1556 for his part in the Dudley conspiracy but survived that debacle to acquire land in Berkshire and Warwickshire. He rented property in Cripplegate, London. In about 1558, he leased Cumnor Place near Abingdon, Berkshire and moved his family there. This was a large house in which more than one separate household could coexist. By 1558, Forster was in the service of Sir Robert Dudley (later earl of Leicester). On September 8, 1560, Lady Dudley was in residence at Cumnor Place when she fell down a flight of stairs and broke her neck. In spite of rumors of foul play, the death was ruled an accident, due in part to the fact that Forster had a reputation for honesty. In 1561, Forster bought Cumnor Place. In his will, he left this house to the earl of Leicester in return for a sum of £1200, £500 of which was to go to his widow. He also left bequests to four musicians who were apparently household servants. Portrait: brass in Cumnor church.

EDITH WILLIAMS (c.1535-July 1599)
Edith Williams was the daughter of Reginald Williams of Burghfield, Berkshire and Elizabeth Fox and the niece of John, 1st baron Williams. She married Edmund Odingsells of Warwickshire. They had a son, also named Edmund. It isn’t clear when Edith’s husband died, but she was a widow in 1560 when she was one of the tenants at Cumnor Place, Berkshire, which was owned by William Owen and leased to Anthony Forster, husband of Edith’s sister Anne. Forster was one of Sir Robert Dudley’s retainers and Dudley’s wife also lived at Cumnor Place. On September 8, 1560, Amye Dudley died in a fall down a flight of stairs. The circumstances of her death were suspicious. Earlier that day, a Sunday, she had sent her servants to the fair at Abingdon and tried to get all the other residents of Cumnor Place to leave, too. Mrs. Odingsells refused, as did Mrs. Owen, another resident of the house, but neither of them witnessed Amye’s death. On June 13, 1567, Edith married Nicholas (known as Deodatus) Staverton of Eversley Manor, Hampshire (c.1526-June 1590). They had a son named Deodatus. Staverton’s will was dated April 8, 1590. Edith was buried in the Williams family vault in Burghfield Church but her memorial brass is in Cumnor Church.


Frances Williams was the older sister of Sarah Williams and probably the “Fid” (called Friswood by Jessie Childs in God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England and elsewhere) employed in Sir George Peckham’s household in the early1580s. Like her sister, she was exorcised, but she did not gain similar notoriety. While she was a prisoner in the Marshalsea for recusancy, she married a fellow prisoner, William Harrington (x. February 18, 1594). When she became pregnant, their priest, Father Blackman, told her to say that the father had gone overseas. At that point, Frances went to the Privy Council and testified concerning her knowledge of a spy named Stoughton and gave information as to the whereabouts of another Williams sister, Alice. Frances and her husband were then released and went to live with Frances’s father. Soon after that, William Harrington was rearrested, this time on the charge of being a priest himself. While in prison awaiting trial, Harrington denied that he and Frances had ever been married. Official biographies of Harrington indicate he was in a seminary in Rheims in 1581, then with the Jesuits at Tournai (1582-4). He returned to England for health reasons without joining the order, but he went back to Rheims in February 1591 and was ordained. He was back in England in midsummer 1592 and was arrested in May 1593. After his execution, Frances married Ralph Dallidown. She had received threats from several priests—Sherwood, Gerard, Blackman and Greene. The servant of a Master Roper, who was living at Southampton House, threatened to shoot her for betraying her sister’s whereabouts. When Dallidown killed Roper’s man, the death was ruled manslaughter rather than murder. In April 1602, Frances informed against her sister Sarah. It was Sarah who gave the most detailed deposition about what had happened during the exorcisms. For more details see Kathleen R. Sands’s Demon Possession in Elizabethan England, Chapter Seven (“Sarah Williams”)


JOANE WILLIAMS (c.1543-1633)
Joane Williams was the daughter of Thomas Williams of Stowford, Devon (1513/14-July 1, 1566) and Emmeline Crewes (Crwys/Crues). She married Philip Cole of Slade, Devon (February 11, 1538/9-January 30, 1595/6). Their children were Richard (1567-April 19, 1614) and two daughters but her husband’s first wife was probably the mother of his daughter Elizabeth. Joane asked to be buried with Philip in Cornwood, Devon. The figure behind her is believed to be her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Champernowne (c.1521-c.1574), wife of William Cole (d. April 23, 1547). Joane’s second husband was Richard Connock or Lyllesdon, Somerset.


MARJORIE WILLIAMS (1521-December 1599)
Marjorie Williams was the younger daughter and coheir of John Williams, 1st baron Williams of Thame (1500-October 14, 1559) and Elizabeth Bledlow (c.1504-October 25, 1556). By December 1542, she was betrothed to Henry Norris or Norreys, later of Rycote (1525-June 27,1601). They married by August 26, 1544. Their children were William (d. December 25, 1579), John (1547-September 1597), Edward (d.1603), Henry (1554-1599), Thomas (1556-1599), Katherine (d.1601/2), and Maximilian (d.1593). She is said to have first met the future Queen Elizabeth when Elizabeth was lodged at Rycote, Oxfordshire on her way to Woodstock during the reign of Mary Tudor. The two women became close friends, although Marjorie never held an official position at court. Elizabeth called Marjorie her “crow” because of her dark coloring. Marjorie was chief mourner at the funeral of Amye Dudley in 1560. Henry Norris was knighted in 1566 and sent to France as ambassador. He and his family lived outside of Paris from January 1567 to March 1571. He requested his wife and sons be allowed to return to England in early 1569, but he was not relieved of his post until December 1570. Norris was created Baron Norris in 1571. All the Norris sons were soldiers and five of them died in foreign posts. The queen visited Rycote in 1566 and again in 1592. According to an anecdote included in Mary Hill Cole’s The Portable Queen, the queen was also supposed to visit Rycote in 1582 but went to Surrey instead. Lady Norris blamed the earl of Leicester and Sir Christopher Hatton for this change of plans and was not mollified when Leicester showed up at Rycote on the day the queen was to have arrived. He wrote to Hatton that he was “met with a piece of cold entertainment at the Lady’s hands.” To make peace, he offered her his own lodgings at Oatlands during the queen’s next visit to that place. Portraits: life-sized effigy in St. Andrew’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey.

Sarah (or Sara) Williams was the daughter of protestant parents. At age fifteen, she went to work in the household of Sir George Peckham of Denham, Buckinghamshire where her sister, “Fid,” was already in service. Peckham was secretly a Catholic and a priest in his household, Robert Dibdale decided that Sarah was possessed and must be exorcised. This was apparently successful and she was transferred to the Hackney household of Mary Tresham, Lady Vaux to serve as her maid. According to Jessie Childs in God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England, she behaved normally until New Year’s Day 1586, when a visiting priest decided she had been repossessed. Several accounts of her treatment are extant, giving details of her ordeal, including a deposition she gave on April 24, 1602. At various times, she was forced to drink “holy” potions and inhale brimstone fumes to induce “visions.” Essentially she was abused and exploited by a series of priests. Later she claimed that Dibdale had promised to send her abroad so that she could become a nun. The Catholic community was divided over the exorcisms of Sarah and others. For some, exorcisms seem to have been a spectator sport. Sarah was prevented from returning to her parents or attending church for over four years. Shortly after Dibdale was executed at Tyburn on October 8, 1586, Sarah was arrested for recusancy in Oxford and held for fourteen weeks. She was questioned about the exorcisms in the early 1590s but did not denounce those who had exploited her until 1602. By that time she had married a man named Cheney and had five children. Her ordeal was described in Samuel Harsnet’s A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures (1603). Biography: Kathleen R. Sands’s Demon Possession in Elizabethan England, Chapter Seven (“Sarah Williams”).

MARY WILLINGTON (d. January 25, 1553/4)
Mary Willington was the daughter of William Willington of Barcheston, Warwickshire (d. 1555) and Anne Littleton. Her mother lived to be a “very aged widow.” Mary married William Sheldon of Beoley, Worcestershire (c.1500-December 24, 1570). Their children were Anne (c.1528-October 25,1619), Ralph, (1537-March 1613), Frances (d.1542), William (b.1543), Philippa, Goditha, and Catherine. Portrait: effigy on tomb at Beoley erected by her son Ralph.

ANNE WILLISON (November 1, 1548- October 29, 1566)
Anne Willison was the daughter of Richard Willison of Sugwas, Herefordshire (d.1574) and Anne Elton. She married Alexander Denton (1542-1576) and died in childbirth at the age of eighteen. Her monument in Hereford Cathedral shows her with her baby and her husband, although he also has another monument (with his second wife, Mary Martyn) in Hillesden, Buckinghamshire.

ANNE WILLOUGHBY (c.1516-December 24, 1582)
Anne Willoughby was the daughter of Robert, 2nd baron Willoughby de Broke (1472-November 10, 1521) and Dorothy Grey (c.1480-1553). She married Charles Blount, later 5th baron Mountjoy (June 28, 1516-October 10, 1544), the son of her mother’s second husband. Their children were James, 6th baron (c.1533-1581), John, Francis (1538-1593+), William (c.1539-1574), and a daughter. Her second husband was Richard Broke of Westbury (d. by January 5, 1549). They also had children. By 1551, she married John Bonham of Hazelbury, Wiltshire (d. January 10, 1555). Their children were John (b.1552) and Mary. She brought her third husband property in Dorset and the manor of Brook near Westbury. Her third husband’s brother, Edward Bonham, claimed that his brother had left a will but Anne denied this and in August 1556 she was granted administration of his goods. She received a grant of 20 marks, shared with her son James Blount, and the wardship of her son, John Bonham.


BRIDGET WILLOUGHBY (1566-July 16, 1629)
Bridget Willoughby was the daughter of Sir Francis Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire (1546/7-November 16, 1596) and Elizabeth Littleton (1546-June 4, 1595). Her parents were living apart by 1579. After her only brother died in 1580, her father arranged her marriage to a cousin, Percival Willoughby of Bore Place, Kent (c.1560-August 22, 1643). The wedding took place in 1583. Their children were Theodosia (c.1583-November 7, 1630), Bridget, Francis, and Thomas. Her dowry was 2000 marks and six manors. As the eldest of six surviving daughters, Bridget stood to inherit the bulk of the estate. In 1594, Bridget’s father was heavily in debt and in return for paying his creditors £3000, her husband received the Willoughby ironworks. The following year, Sir Francis demanded £25,000 in dowries for Bridget’s sisters and an annuity of £1100. When Percival balked at meeting his father-in-law’s demands, Sir Francis remarried, intending to disinherit his daughters by siring a son. His bride was pregnant when he died but the child was a girl. Litigation tied up the estate for years and greatly reduced its value. Portrait: artist and date unknown.

CATHERINE WILLOUGHBY (March 22, 1520-September 19, 1580)
Catherine Willoughby was the daughter of William Willoughby, 10th baron Willoughby d’Eresby (d.1526) and Maria de Salinas (c.1490-October 19, 1539). After her father’s death she became the ward of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk (1485-August 22, 1545) and was raised with his children. She was to have married his son, Henry, earl of Lincoln (March 11, 1516-1534), but after the death of Brandon’s wife in 1533, he married Catherine himself. The wedding took place on September 7, 1534. She was 14. He was 49. Their children were Henry (September 18, 1535-July 14, 1551) and Charles (March 10, 1538-July 15, 1551). During the last part of the reign of Henry VIII, Catherine was often at court. She was inclined toward religious views that would later be called puritan and tended to be outspoken. In spite of that, in 1546 there were rumors that King Henry was tired of his sixth wife and meant to divorce her and marry the widowed duchess of Suffolk. In 1548, when the Queen Dowager died after giving birth to a baby girl, the child was placed in Catherine’s care. Catherine lost both of her sons to an epidemic of “the sweat” in 1551, when they died within hours of each other. In 1553, Catherine married her first husband’s steward (some sources say gentleman usher), Richard Bertie (December 25, 1517-April 9, 1582), who shared her religious views. In 1554, their daughter Susan (d.1596+) was born. By that time Mary Tudor was queen and had restored Catholicism to England. Richard Bertie went into exile. On New Year’s Day 1555, Catherine and Susan followed him. A son named Peregrine (October 12, 1555-June 25, 1601) was born during their travels abroad. They ended up in Poland, where King Sigismund offered them the governorship of Lithuania. They remained there until after Mary Tudor’s death, returning to England in the late spring of 1559. Under Elizabeth Tudor, the Berties were not significant figures at court, but Lady Mary Grey was placed in her household from August 7, 1567 until June 1569 after Mary displeased the queen by making an unauthorized marriage. Catherine spent most of her time after her return to England at Grimsthorpe in Lincolnshire, but she also had a house in the Minories in London. The queen visited her at Grimsthorpe in August 1566. Biographies: Lady Cecilie Goff’s A Woman of the Tudor Age; Evelyn Read’s My Lady Suffolk; Melissa Franklin Harkrider’s Women, Reform and Community in Early Modern England: Katherine Willoughby, duchess of Suffolk, and Lincolnshire’s Godly Aristocracy 1519-1580; Oxford DNB entry under “Bertie [née Willoughby; other married name Brandon], Katherine.” Portraits: a sketch by Holbein; a miniature after Holbein; a full length portrait c.1548; tomb in Spilsby Church.


Elizabeth Willoughby was the daughter of Robert Willoughby (d. August 23, 1502) and Blanche Champernowne. In 1488, she married Tobert Dynham (c.1436-January 28, 1500/1). Her second husband was William Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers (1483-January 23, 1544) and she was the Lady Maltravers to whom King Henry VIII sent a messenger in June 1509, probably to summon her into the service of Catherine of Aragon.

ELIZABETH WILLOUGHBY (d. November 1552+) (maiden name unknown)
In 1549, Sir Thomas Speke of White Lackington, Somersetshire and London (March 25, 1507/8-July 12, 1551) married the widow of William Willoughby. According to the History of Parliament entry for Speke, he and Elizabeth had one daughter (he already had a son and a daughter by his first wife). The day before he died at his house in Chancery Lane in an epidemic of the sweating sickness, Speke wrote a will in which he left his wife £240 in “old gold,” half of his household stuff, and the manor of Dawlish for life. He left 500 marks to each of his daughters and named his wife and his son George (1528-1584) as joint executors. The will was proved on July 18, 1551 by George. At some point between the death of Sir Thomas and November 14, 1552, Elizabeth was accused of having committed adultery during her marriage. The diary of Henry Machyn of London mentions the death of Sir Thomas Speke without any comment about infidelity when, just a month earlier, he does mention that Sir John Luttrell was trying to divorce his wife for adultery at the time of his death. George Speke was married to a member of the Luttrell family. Speke’s will was pronounced valid on November 14, 1552 except for the bequests to the widow. These were nullified by her adultery. The two daughters of Sir Thomas Speke were Margaret (married Edmund Annesley) and Elizabeth (married John Phelips of Corfe Mullen, Dorset, although one online genealogy has her married to Thomas Phelipps of Montacue who died in 1588). It is unclear which daughter was Elizabeth’s.

ELIZABETH WILLOUGHBY (April 28, 1510-November 15, 1562)
Elizabeth Willoughby was one of the three daughters of Edward Willoughby (c.1486-1517) and Margaret Neville (March 9, 1494/5-October 23, 1532). Her guardian, Sir Edward Greville of Milcote, Warwickshire, planned to marry her to his eldest son, John. Instead, at her request, before April 1526, she married his second son, Fulke Greville of Beauchamp’s Court, Alcester, Warwickshire (1491-November 10, 1559). They had seven sons and eight daughters, including Fulke (1536-November 15, 1606), William, Mary, Robert (d.1612/13), Helen or Eleanor (c.1539-1580+), Edward, Catherine (d.1611), and Blanche. In 1526, Elizabeth inherited a third part of four manors in Somerset, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire. On the death of her sister Anne in 1528, her share increased to half and she acquired the remaining portion by 1543, after the death of her sister Blanche, childless wife of Sir Francis Dawtrey. There were numerous disputes over the Willoughby inheritance. Although Greville died in debt, his daughters had dowries of 400 marks to which their mother added £500. The value of the estate when she died was over £370.



JANE WILLOUGHBY (c.1525-1571+)
Jane Willoughby was the daughter of Sir Edward Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire (1467-1541) and Anne Fillol. She married Richard Topcliffe of Somersby, Lincolnshire (November 14, 1531-1604). They had four sons and two daughters, including John (d. yng), Charles, Susannah, and Margaret (or Frances) (d.1613/14). According to All the Queen’s Women: The Changing Place and Perception of Aristocratic Women in Elizabethan England 1558-1620 (1987) by Joan Barbara Greenbaum Goldsmith, Jane separated from her husband at some point during the 1570s, before he became notorious for the use of torture in interrogating recusants and Catholic priests. The History of Parliament places Topcliffe in a house in Westminster in 1571 and states that at some point (no dates given), his personal life was “clouded” by his “alleged failure to pay his wife adequate maintenance.”


LADY WILLOUGHBY (d.1556+) (given and maiden names unknown)
David Loades, in Two Tudor Conspiracies, lists a “Lady Willoughby, widow of Sir Anthony Knevett” (x. March 1, 1554), hereditary bailiff of Tonbridge, Kent, as being fined £111 8s. 8d. for her part in the Dudley conspiracy of 1555. The same chart says she paid only £20 of that sum. Sir Anthony Knyvett, not to be confused with the Sir Anthony Knyvett who died in 1549, was one of the conspirators in the Wyatt Rebellion. The form of the entry suggests that she had remarried after his execution and that her second husband was a knight with the surname Willoughby. This interpretatino is supported by a record from 1552. William Knyvett, probably Sir Anthony’s brother, filed a lawsuit against “A. Knyvett and wife” in Chiddingstone, Kent. If she had been Lady Willoughby then, from an earlier marriage, she would probably have been identified as such.

Margaret Willoughby was the daughter of Sir Henry Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire (1445-May 11, 1529) and  his second wife, Margaret Markham (d. before 1500). She married Sir John Zouche of Codnor (c.1440-1513+) as his second wife and was the mother of George (c.1496-1557), Richard, William, Henry, Elizabeth, and Mary. She made her will on November 21, 1530 and it was proved on March 9, 1530/1. She made several interesting bequests. To her son George, she left “that part of a bed that he claimed for an heyr lome.” He also got her wedding ring and a dagger with stones. His wife received crimson laces. Elizabeth Curson, who was probably her waiting gentlewoman, was left the “fedder bed that she lyeth in, a blanket, a pare of mydlyng sheittes, a bolster, and a coverlett.” Her daughters were to have a velvet gown. Mary was to choose whether she wanted the gown or the fur that trimmed it and Elizabeth was to have whatever Mary left. She was generous to servants. One got a “bay nagg” and another “a yong colte,” while Margaret Lane and Margaret Danport each received a calf.

Margaret Willoughby was the daughter of Henry Willoughby of Wollaton (1510-August 27, 1549) and Anne Grey (1514-January 1548). Upon the death of her father, Margaret and her younger brother Francis (1546-1596) were sent to live in the household of her mother’s half brother, George Medley, at Tilty in Essex and in the Minories, London. A 1553 entry in Margaret’s account book, in her own hand, records the purchase of a pair of virginals (26s. 8d.) and payments in May and July to two different music teachers. After Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554, the house in the Minories was searched and Medley was briefly in prison. Margaret’s uncle, Henry Grey, duke of Suffolk, and her cousin, Lady Jane Grey, were executed  at that time. Margaret seems to have joined the household of the widowed duchess of Suffolk (Frances Brandon) and been with her at the court of Queen Mary, although she was only eleven at the time. The duchess was at court from July 1554 until May 1555. At Christmas 1555, still a very young girl to be a maid of honor, Margaret joined the household of Elizabeth Tudor at Hatfield. It was while she was there that John Harington wrote his poem in praise of six of Elizabeth’s gentlewomen. He calls Margaret “worthye willobe” and comments upon her “pearcing eye.” It is not clear if she stayed on after Elizabeth’s household was reorganized by order of Queen Mary in June 1556. At fifteen or sixteen, in 1559 or 1560, Margaret married Matthew Arundell of Wardour (c.1535-December 24, 1598). Their children were Thomas (1560-November 7, 1639), Catherine, and William (d. February 16, 1592). On July 16, 1565, Margaret supped with her cousin, the Lady Mary Grey, and two other gentlewomen. At nine that evening, Mary married Thomas Keyes without the queen’s permission. Margaret knew about the wedding but remained outside the chamber where it was performed so that she could say she had not actually witnessed the exchange of vows. She resumed her friendship with her cousin after the Lady Mary was released from captivity and was mentioned in Mary’s will in 1578.

MARGARET WILLOUGHBY (c.1570-August 17, 1597)
Margaret Willoughby was the third daughter of Sir Francis Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire (1546/7-November 16, 1596) and Elizabeth Littleton (1546-June 4, 1594). She had a dowry of £4000. Negotiations for her marriage to a childhood friend, Griffin Markham were broken off in favor of a more ambitious match with Robert Spencer of Wormleighton, Warwickshire and (later) Althorp, Northamptonshire (1570-October 25, 1627. He was heir to one of the greatest fortunes in England. They were married on February 15, 1587/8. Their children were Mary (August 1588-1658), Elizabeth (November 1589-1618), John (December 1590-1610), William (January 1592-1636), Richard (October 1593-1661), Edward (March 1594-1655/6), and Margaret (August 14, 1597-December 6, 1613). Margaret died three days after the birth of her last child. She was buried on October 19, 1597 in the Spencer chapel in the church of St. Mary in Great Brington, Northamptonshire. At the time of her death, her husband was attempting to secure a larger share of her inheritance from her father, who had died the previous year. He kept trying until 1608, but only succeeded in recovering one sixth of the manor of Lambley. Portrait: effigy at Great Brington, 1599 (monument by Garrett Hollemans).




Sanchia (Sence/Sarah) Willoughby was the daughter of Sir Robert Willoughby of Wollaton, Nottinghamshire (c.1452-1474) and Margaret Griffith. In 1477, she married John Strelley of Strelley, Notthinghamshire (1448-January 22, 1501/2). Their children were John (d. before October 31, 1538), George, Margaret, Isabel, Elizabeth, and Anne (1495-October 12, 1554). According to Barbara J. Harris in English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550, John Strelley made his widow responsible for the dowries of his daughters. By a marriage settlement dated October 24, 1517, she married Sir John Digby of South Luffenham, Rutland (1464-May 1533). They had no children. Around 1533, Anne Strelley, by then married to Sir John Markham, brought suit in Chancery, contending that her mother had brought “a great substance” of the Strelley estate to her second marriage, including deeds to land and livestock that were supposed to have been her dowry, and that Digby had appropriated this inheritance. Sanchia supposedly died feeling “great remorse” and “with sore lamentation,” but Digby refused to yield either the dowry or the livestock to Anne. He died soon after his wife, obliging the Markhams to sue two of his sons, who were executors of his will. Simon Digby subsequently claimed that his stepsister (Anne Markham) had received both livestock and dowry years earlier and that, moreover, her mother, on her deathbed, had given her further gifts, including a chain and jewels worth far more than the goods and money the Markhams were demanding. It took an Act of Parliament to settle the matter. The Strelley lands were divided among John Strelley’s daughters. Sanchia was buried at Strelley.



Bridget Wiltshire was the daughter and heir of Sir John Wiltshire of Stone Castle, Kent (c.1434-December 1526), comptroller of Calais under Henry VII, and his wife Margaret. The date of her birth is listed in some accounts as 1477, but this seems too early in light of the birthdates of some of her children, which go as late as 1532. She married Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire (1469-July 22,1525) as his second wife. Their children were Cecily (d.1525), Elizabeth (d.1522), Charles (1513-May 24, 1540), Thomas, Maria (c.1516-1557), Jacques (c.1519-1587+), Lawrence, Jane (b.c.1525), Mary, Margaret, and Catherine. As Lady Wingfield, she was at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. Her husband was Lord Deputy of Calais and later ambassador to Spain and died in Toledo. By 1529, she married Sir Nicholas Hervey or Harvey of Ickworth, Suffolk (c.1490-August 5, 1532), gentleman of the Privy Chamber and ambassador to Ghent, who was out of England from the end of June 1530 until March 1531. Their children were Henry (b.1526), George (1527-1599), another George (1532-1605), Mabel, and another daughter. Bridget was invited to court by Anne Boleyn in 1530, when Anne was still only Lady Anne Rochford. The text of a letter Anne wrote to her at this time is still extant. According to Retha Warnicke, Anne Boleyn and the king visited Lady Wingfield’s house en route to Calais in 1532, before they were married. Some accounts say Lady Wingfield was at court in 1532 and that she served as Mother of Maids while Anne Boleyn was queen. Bridget inherited Backenho from Hervey. In 1534, it passed to her third husband, Sir Robert Tyrwhitt of Mortlake, Surrey and Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire (d. May 10, 1572). They had no children. In 1536, Lady Wingfield’s name came up when Anne Boleyn was charged with adultery. It was said that she had made a deathbed confession concerning the queen’s misconduct. Exactly what she is supposed to have confessed is not specified, although Warnicke concludes that the confession accused Anne of sexual misconduct before her marriage to the king. The date of Lady Wingfield’s death is unknown, but she was still alive in January 1534.

ALICE WIMBILL (d.1506) (maiden name unknown)
Alice married a man named Edgore, by whom she had children. Her second husband was Robert Wimbill or Wymbytt of Ipswich (d.1479). As a wealthy widow she married Thomas Baldry (d.1525), a mercer who had just returned to Suffolk from London. He was the elder of two brothers with the same name. She was buried in St. Mary-le-Tower. Portrait: brass in St. Nicholas, Ipswich with Wimbill and Baldry.







ELEANOR WINDSOR (c.1479-March 25, 1531)
Eleanor Windsor was the daughter of Andrew, 1st baron Windsor of Bradenham, Buckinghamshire (1467-March 30, 1543) and Elizabeth Blount (d. before 1543). She married Sir Ralph Scrope, baron Scrope of Upsall (d. September 17, 1515). They had no children and he was succeeded by his brother. Eleanor was left with a considerable jointure that included the manors of Upsall, Stillton, Kylvyngton, Thorneborught, and Driffelde in Yorkshire, Carelton Scrope in Lincolnshire, Whaghton in Northumberland, Muscham in Nottinghamshire, Harborrow and Bowden in Leicestershire, Neyland in Sussex, Fyvefeld in Esses, and Powlles Cray and Dirwolle in Kent. These spellings come from his will. He named Eleanor his executor. Her second husband was Sir Edward Neville (1471-x1538). Their children were Edward (1518-February 10, 1589), Frances (d.1588), Catherine, and Henry (1520-January 13, 1593).

ELEANOR WINDSOR (c.1525-1592)

Eleanor Windsor was the daughter of William Windsor, 2nd baron Windsor (1499-August 20, 1558) and Margaret Sambourne (c. 1501-1545+). In 1551, she married Sir Christopher Brome of Holton Hall, Oxfordshire (d. 1589). Their children included Catherine, Elizabeth , Bridget, William, and George. In 1574, Eleanor was arrested for hearing Mass. In January 1578, she was caught in possession of an agnus dei, strictly forbidden under English law. With her son George and her maid, Elizabeth Barham, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London until her husband paid a £300 fine. In the 1590s, after an apparent rift with George, he accused her of harboring priests and caused her to be brought before the Privy Council on that charge, but she does not appear to have been imprisoned. Biography: entry in Carole Levin, et al, editors, A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen.



MARGARET WINDSOR (c.1478-1543+)
Margaret Windsor was the daughter of Thomas Windsor of Stanwell, Middlesex (d. September 29, 1485) and Elizabeth Andrews and the goddaughter of Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and Derby. By 1505, she was living at Syon Abbey and by March 1507 she had become a Bridgettine nun. She was prioress at Syon from 1513 until 1539. When the abbey was dissolved, Margaret received a pension of 150 marks (the abbess, Agnes Jordan, received £200). Some of the nuns afterward lived with her. In his March 26, 1543 will (proved July 31), her brother Andrew, Lord Windsor, left Margaret an annuity of £80 6s. 8d. from the manor of Cranford, Middlesex to pray for his soul and the souls of their father and mother.





Elizabeth Wingfield was the daughter of Roger Wingfield of Norfolk and Elizabeth Golding. Her first husband was Thomas Pole (d.c.1526). Some sources call him the son of Henry Pole, 1st baron Montagu, but this does not appear to be accurate. It is possible that during this marriage Elizabeth was the Elizabeth Pole in the household of Mary Tudor in Wales. In 1526, she married a gentleman of Welsh extraction, Richard Mansell/Maunsell (d. November 1543). Their children were Richard (d. November 1559), John (d.1543), Ophelia, and Elizabeth (d.1542). She was buried in St. Giles in the Fields, London.






Elizabeth Winnington was the daughter of Robert Winnington of Winnington, Cheshire (d.c.1428). Older sources give her mother’s name as Katherine Holland and list Margaret Norwood as the second wife of John Delves, father of Richard Delves (1409-1445), to whom Elizabeth was married in 1428 at the age of three. However, Elizabeth Norton, in her recent biography of Bessie Blount (Elizabeth Winnington’s great-great-granddaughter) states that Margaret Norwood was Elizabeth’s mother and had four husbands, including Winnington and Delves.The marriage between Elizabeth Winnington and Richard Delves was annulled when Elizabeth was twelve. She later married Sir Humphrey Blount of Kinlet, Shropshire (1423-1478). Their children were Thomas (d.1524), John, Edward, Charles, Walter, Isabella, Anne, Maria, Ellena, and Joan. Elizabeth was named co-executor of her husband’s will. In 1488, she had to sue her eldest son, Thomas, in order to receive sufficient income to live on from his lands. The bad feeling between them seems to have continued until her death. Perhaps from necessity, she misappropriated £100 left in her keeping for one of her granddaughters’ inheritances, lending it out and using some gold plate for security. After her death, her executors went to law in an attempt to regain the plate. Elizabeth’s will makes no mention of her eldest son. Her bequests included bowls, cups, beds, and furnishings. Portrait: effigy on tomb.




JANE WINTER (c.1545-January 19, 1598)
Jane (or Joan) Winter was, according to the History of Parliament entry for her husband, the daughter of Sir Thomas Winter of Clapton, but the Memoranda, historical and genealogical, relating to the parish of Kelston by Francis John Poynston says her parents were Edward Winter and Eleanor Sydenham. On March 16, 1550/51, she married Sir George Rogers of Cannington, Somersetshire (c.1528-September 10, 1582), bringing with her lands in Cornwall. Their children were Mary (1569-1634), Edward (d.1627), and William. Rogers made his will in June 1582. His daughter was to have £1000 for her dowry. His wife was named executor and was to have a life interest in the house at Cannington unless she remarried. Any property unbequeathed was to be divided between Jane and her eldest son Edward. Even before Jane died, there was bad feeling between Edward and his brother-in-law, John Harington. In 1594, Harington sought redress against Edward for calling Mary names. In her will, dated October 17, 1597 (proved September 24, 1598), Jane made Mary her sole executor and divided the estate between her grandsons. She was buried at Kelston on January 22, 1598. The feud continued until January 1603, when the case came before the Star Chamber. Edward claimed that Harington had consulted Jane’s physicians shortly before her death and, upon being told that she would be dead within ten days, removed plate worth £5000 from Cannington and destroyed title deeds to property bequeathed in Jane’s will. He also alleged that, just before she died, Jane accused Harington of stealing from her and altering her will. Harington defended himself, insisting he had been following Jane’s orders and acting on behalf of his wife as executor. The two men came to blows at Cannington and the matter went to arbitration.

SARA WINTER (d. 1597+) (maiden name unknown)
Sara was the wife of Robert Winter of Appleby Magna, Leicestershire, where they were tenants of Edward Griffin, lord of the manor of Great Appleby. Her story is told in considerable detail, with original illustrations, at http://www.applebymagna.org.uk. The essence of the tale is that Sara was no better than she should be. On several occasions she was seen in the company of a neighbor, widower John Petcher (d.1621), a sheep farmer. Petcher was hauled before the bawdy court in Leicester on October 28, 1597, accused of luring Sara to the market towns of Ashby, Atherstone, and Leicester by “enticements of the flesh” and committing adultery with her. According to testimony, Sara was staying with Nicholas Taylor and his wife in the days leading up to the fair at Atherstone and went with them to an alehouse there where Petcher joined them. Edward Taylor claimed to have caught Sara and Petcher having sexual relations in a room in that alehouse, and to have refused the offer of sixpence by Petcher to keep silent about it. The testimony that has survived suggests that the court had doubts. There were countercharges against Edward, and Robert Winter was accused of being behind a suggestion Nicholas Taylor made to Sara that she start a suit against him on the grounds that he refused to cohabit with her. This was apparently a ploy to get Petcher to pay court costs. Another charge was that Robert Winter paid Edward Taylor to lie about what he saw. Edward was said to be a cozener and defrauder of men, a thief, and an extortionist. He had spent time in Leicester gaol, as had his wife, Helen (for stealing a pair of shoes). Witnesses were still being examined in March and April of 1598, but eventually Petcher was acquitted.

Dorothy Wintour or Winter was the daughter of George Wintour of Huddington, Worcestershire (d.1596) and his second wife, Elizabeth Bourne. Her half brothers Robert (x. January 30, 1606) and Thomas (c.1571-1606) and her full brother John (x. April 7, 1606) were conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot. Dorothy married John Grant of Norbrook, Warwickshire (c.1570-x. January 30,1606) as his second wife. They had at least one son, Wintour Grant (d.1623+). In January 1605, in a letter to Grant from Thomas Wintour, asking him to meet with him and Robert Catesby at Chastelton, Wintour adds, “I could wish Doll here, but our life is monastical, without women.” Chastelton was where the Gunpowder Plot was devised. Grant was an obvious person to recruit, as he had supported the Essex rebellion in 1601. In September of 1605, while planning was still underway, a group of English Catholics making a pilgrimage to St. Winifred’s well in Wales stayed at Norbrook both going and coming home. On  November 6, 1605, after the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, Grant and other wanted men came to Norbrook to collect muskets and ammunition stored there. Upon reaching Holbeche House, they attempted to dry out the gunpowder, which had been soaked by a hard rain and started a fire that left Grant blind and disfigured. On November 8, he was wounded in an attack by the sheriff of Worcestershire. He was tried for treason and executed on the same day as his brother-in-law, Robert Wintour. His estate was forfeit but his son was able to reclaim it in 1623.

ANNE WINWOOD (c.1505-1571)
The names of Anne Winwood’s parents are not known, but she had at least two brothers. Lewis was secretary to Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. Thomas was a London stockfishmonger. Anne married Rowland Shakerley (Sharkerley/Sharkeley/Shackerley) (d. March 1564/5), a mercer. Their children were Anne, Elizabeth, Katherine (d.1595+), Ralph (1532-before 1564), Alice (b.1538), Mary (1540-1605), and John (1541-before 1564), and one online genealogy also lists a Christine. Mistress Shakerley replaced Margery Vaughan as royal silkwoman in 1544, the same year Shakerley purchased the manor of Aynho, Northamptonshire for £1060. Anne was buried there on April 16, 1571.


ANNE WISEMAN (d. December 3, 1593)
Anne Wiseman was the daughter of John Wiseman of Felsted and Bradox/Braddocks, Essex (d. January 5, 1559/60), a wealthy Catholic landowner, and Joan Lege (d.1578) of London. In some sources she is called Joan Lucas. In 1557, Anne married William Fitch of Little Canfield, Essex (c.1496-December 20, 1578) as his second wife. Their four sons included Thomas (1560-November 29, 1588), William (1563-1608), and Francis (1563-October 12, 1608). Fitch bought Great Canfield Park from the Wisemans. In his will, dated January 4, 1559/60 and proved January 23, 1560, Anne’s father left her £20 to be levied out of the manor of Mockinghall. On May 28, 1579, in London, Anne married Ralph Pudsey or Pudsaye of Gray’s Inn. She has the distinction of having two separate brasses in the same church in Little Canfield, Essex.


MARY WITHAM (1579-May 5, 1662)
Mary Witham was the daughter of William Witham of Ledston or Ledstone Hall, Yorkshire (1546-1593), a gentleman, and Eleanor Neale (d.1619). Her father was supposedly bewitched to death by Mary Panell (x.1604). Mary married Thomas Jobson of Cudworth, Yorkshire (d. November 21, 1606). Their children were Elizabeth and Thomas (1606-1653). Her second husband was Thomas Bolles of Heath Hall (December 22, 1576-March 19, 1633/4). Their children were Anne and Mary. Mary Witham was created baronetess of Nova Scotia in her own right by Charles I on October 12, 1634. This was the first time a woman had been granted a baronetcy. No one seems to know why she was so honored. One online genealogy calls her “eccentric but charitable.” In her will, written on May 4, 1662, she left various bequests to the parish of Royston. She supposedly left instructions in her will that the room in which she died at Heath Hall be permanently sealed after her death. Some fifty years later, when it was opened, her ghost was said to have been released to haunt the hall. Stone effigies were laid on her tomb in an effort to quiet her spirit, but to no avail. Her ghost was reportedly seen as late as 1943, when soldiers garrisoned in the house. Heath Hall is now a ruin but what is said to be the door to Mary’s chamber is in the Wakefield Museum. Portrait: tomb effigy in Ledsham Church.

MARGERY WITHERICK (d.1538+) (maiden name unknown)
In about 1528, Margery and Philip Witherick (x. March 26, 1538) settled in the village of Bildeston, Suffolk from Hadleigh, some five miles southeast of there. By 1537, they were comfortably well off, kept livestock, and were involved in the clothmaking trade, as were most inhabitants of Bildeston. They had two children, Martin, age eleven, and Mate (Matty?), age six. In August of that year a tailor named Ambrose Letyce boarded with them. On December 18, he left the house, saying he was going to work for a carpenter named Elmen for a few hours and would return by noon. Then he disappeared. Philip was suspected of having something to do with his disappearance. Just before Christmas, Margery asked an itinerant cooper, John Thompson, to search for Letyce. On January 8 or 9, the manorial bailiff of Bildeston came to the house when Margery was alone and put pressure on her to give evidence against her husband, promising her that if Philip were convicted, all of her goods, which would be confiscated if he were convicted, would be returned. She refused, and continued to refuse when he sent messengers to her on each of the next two nights. Having failed with Margery, the bailiff approached her children. Young Martin became a key witness. On March 6, Philip was taken away by the bailiff. Margery consulted the local justice of the peace and was advised to go to Philip’s uncle, John Witherick, abbot of St. Osyth, for assistance. Margery did so, and stayed there a week. During that time, all of Margery’s goods were seized and young Martin was taken away. He told several different stories about seeing his father kill Ambrose Letyce, none of them very believable, but when bones were found in the ashes in the kitchen of the Witherick house they were taken as proof that Witherick had tried to destroy Letyce’s body by burning it. Margery still refused to say anything against her husband, even after she was imprisoned in the local constable’s house for several days. She became ill while there and was given last rites. On March 25, with Philip, she was forced to listen to her son’s revised story of seeing a murder at the Bury St. Edmunds assizes. Threatened with being charged as an accessory, she finally gave in and agreed that her son was telling the truth. She was taken back to Bildeston, but was probably turned out of her house once Philip was convicted. Two weeks later, John Thompson brought word that he had found Ambrose Letyce, alive and well and living in Essex. An investigation was launched, revealing that young Martin had been coached as to what to say he saw. It also came out that John Thompson had known Margery twelve years earlier in Hadleigh. In April, Thompson and Margery were both in London in April to appear before the justices investigating the entire matter. They dined together while there, but there is no indication that there was anything more to their relationship. For more details and speculation about motives, see Chapter 3 of John Bellamy’s Strange, Unnatural Deaths: Murder in Tudor England.




ELIZABETH WITHYPOLL (1510-October 29, 1537)
Elizabeth Withypoll (Wythypole; Wythipool) was the daughter of Paul Withypoll (d.1547), a wealthy merchant and alderman of London, and Anne Cursonne or Curzon. She was given an education unusual for a woman of her class. She was able to read and write in Latin, Spanish, and Italian as well as English and was also proficient in accounting and arithmetic. She is credited with writing an essay titled “Curious Calligraphy” at the age of fifteen. Acording to her memorial, she wrote three different hands, could do accounts and algorithms, played viol, lute, and virginals, and created pictures “with pen, frame, or stoole.” In 1534, she married Emmanuel Lucar (d. March 28, 1574), a member of the Merchant Taylor’s Company of London. They had four children. She was buried in the Church of St.Lawrence Poultney, where her husband erected a monument to her on which were inscribed words of praise for her scholarly and other accomplishments.


BLANCH WITTINGTON (1525-March 31, 1594)
Blanch Wittington was the daughter and coheiress of Thomas Wittington/Whittington of Pawntley, Gloucestershire (c.1488-1547) and Margaret Needham. She held fractions of many pieces of lands, including one sixth of one fifth out of one half of one half of the manor of Lanivet. She married John St. Aubyn of Clowance (1519-August 17, 1590), who was sheriff of Cornwall in 1576. Their children were Mary, Grace, Thomas (before 1543-March 27, 1626), Agnes, Avis (b.1551) and Margaret. She corresponded with William Carnsew, as recorded in his diary for 1576.

ELEANOR WODEHOUSE (d.1615+) (maiden name unknown)
Eleanor was the second (or possibly third) wife of Francis Wodehouse or Woodhouse of Breccles Hall, Norfolk (d.1605). They had at least one child, a son named John (d.1615+). On August 26, 1578, the queen dined at Breccles Hall, but the family was not in residence. In 1583, Eleanor Wodehouse and Alice Gray of Carbroke were sentenced to a month in prison for recusancy at the Norwich assizes. Francis was imprisoned for four years in 1597 and fined £20 a month, a ruinous rate that forced him to sell Breccles Hall in 1599. Eleanor was excommunicated in 1602. After Breccles Hall was sold, she resided in nearby Caston, where Francis was buried on March 21, 1604/5.




Maud Wodington was the daughter of William Wodington, a mercer and burgess of Bristol. She learned the mercery trade from her father, then married another mercer, John Hutton (d.1485). They had three sons, two of whom were still living in 1492 but only one of whom, John, survived his mother. They lived in Old Corn Street. Her second husband was Thomas Baker (d.1492), a grocer. They had six daughters and one son in seven years. After his death, she ran the grocery business on her own from her residence in the High Street. During the next eleven years, she expanded the business, bought wardships and property, and made loans. One of her daughters was a nun at Shaftesbury and Maud left money and jewelry to the abbess there. She also left 20s. to the lady anchoress of Blackfriars, London. At the time she made her will, Maud had two apprentices, Thomas Bale and Thomas Yonge. She left £3 to Bale and £4 to Yonge. She left her business to her underage son, Thomas Baker, under the guardianship of her son-in-law, Thomas Pary, who was to train the boy as a grocer. The wardships of her daughter Anne and two brothers, George and John Shepherd, were left to her two sons. Anne was betrothed to George, but if he should die before the marriage, she was to wed John. Among many other bequests, Maud left money and clothing to her three maidservants, Elizabeth Colston, Alice Hay, and Elyn Russell. Most details in this entry come from Susan E. James, Women’s Voices in Tudor Wills, 1485-1603.

Margaret Wogon was the daughter of Morris Wogon of Bloxham, Oxfordshire. By 1559, she married Anthony Butler of London, Rycote, Oxfordshire, and Coates, Lincolnshire (d.1570). Their children were Charles (1560-1602), Anthony (1562-1609), William (1564-1590), John, Henry (1570-1601), and Catherine (1572-1635). His London house was in the parish of St. Alphage within Cripplegate. It is possible she was the Mrs. Butler the Younger at the funeral of Amye Dudley (née Robsart) in 1560. Her husband made his will on August 18, 1570, setting aside £200 in case Margaret was again with child. She inherited life interest in the manors of Barnet, Hertfordshire and North Reston, Lincolnshire, along with jewels, plate, and £100, and was named one of the executors. A codicil dated August 23, 1570 rescinded this responsibility and provided that she would forfeit the rest of her inheritance if she contested this decision. He did not give a reason for this change or the need for a threat to back it up. The will was proved October 31, 1570. Butler’s monument was erected in the church at Coates. Margaret later married Charles Dymoke of Howell, Lincolnshire (d.1611). Portrait: effigy in Coates, Lincolnshire.






ELIZABETH WOLSTON (d. August 18, 1548)
Elizabeth Wolston was the daughter of Sir Guy Wolston (Wolstan/Welstone) (d.1501+) and Margaret Tamworth (d.1476). She married John Stile or Style of St. Nicholas Parish, Ipswich (d.1505), a London merchant. They had at least seven children, including Florence, Bridget (d. by 1542), Humphrey, John, and Margaret. Elizabeth’s second husband was Sir James Yarford (Yarforth/Yerforth) of Kidwelly, South Wales (d. June 1527), a merchant adventurer and stapler and the first Welsh Lord Mayor of London (1519-20). He named his wife executrix of his will and left all of his city lands to her. All except the house in Sithes Lane were to go to the Mercers’s Company after her death. Anne F. Sutton reports, in The Mercery of London, that dishes were customarily sent to Elizabeth from the Mercers’ annual election banquet in the hope of further generous bequests in her will. Elizabeth named her daughter Florence as executrix.

ELIZABETH WOLVENDON (d.1515+) (maiden name unknown)
Elizabeth was the wife of Reginald Wolvendon. She was one of Mary Tudor’s ladies and also served Catherine of Aragon. In February 1515, she was granted an annuity of £10.

MARY WOLVERSTON (d. before 1617)
Mary Wolverston was the daughter of Philip Wolverston of Wolverstone Hall, Suffolk, a “gentleman pirate.” She married Thomas Knyvett (d.c.1553). They had one son, Henry. Her second husband was Sir John Killigrew of Arwennack, Cornwall (d. March 5, 1584). Their children were John (c.1554-August 12, 1605), Thomas (b.c.1556), Simon (b.c.1558), Mary (b.c.1560), and Katherine (c.1562-1598). Lady Killigrew was said to keep open house for the more respectable pirates at Arwennack House. On January 1, 1582/3, the Marie of San Sebastian was forced to drop anchor in Falmouth harbor. At midnight on January 7, as part of a plan conceived by Lady Killigrew, a band of local sailors and fishermen boarded the vessel, murdered the crew, and sailed the ship to Ireland to be plundered. Two Killigrew servants, Kendal and Hawkins, brought bolts of Holland cloth and six leather chairs to Arwennack House—the share allotted to Lady Killigrew and others in the household. None of the women actually went on the raid, but they did receive stolen goods. Mary’s son, Henry Knyvett, played a more active role. The History of Parliament entry states that Lady Killigrew presented several lengths of cloth to her servants and that a daughter of the house (“young Mistress Killigrew”) paid a debt with twenty yards of the material. A. L. Rowse, in Sir Richard Grenville and the Revenge, adds a Mistress Wolverston, who received a bolt of Holland cloth and two leather chairs, along with other details not included in the account in Sabine Baring Gould’s Cornish Characters and Strange Events, which provides most of the information given here and corrects other accounts that incorrectly identify Old Lady Killigrew as Elizabeth Trewenard, Mary’s mother-in-law, and the ship as Dutch and/or carrying gold doubloons. Given that Mistress (abbreviated Mrs.) could mean either a married or unmarried woman, Mistress Killigrew could be Mary’s daughter or her daughter-in-law, Dorothy Monk. Mistress Wolverston could be Mary’s mother, about whom nothing is know, although Rowse identifies her, somewhat confusingly, as Sir John Killigrew’s daughter. Since Killigrew served on the Commission for Piracy in Cornwall, nothing was done when the Spanish merchants who owned the ship complained. Only when they took their case to London was an investigation ordered. It ended with the execution of Kendal and Hawkins for murder and an accusation that Mary had been behind the plot and had buried the loot in a cask in her garden. She was pardoned by the queen. Some accounts say this was due to the favor of Sir John Arundell of Tolverne and his son-in-law Sir Nicholas Hals of Pengersick. Others credit the influence of her brother-in-law, Sir Henry Killigrew, who was prominent at court. Still others say her son paid substantial bribes to secure her release from prison. Although Mary was referred to as “that old Jezebel” by Hawkins and Kendal after their arrest, her age is unknown, as is the date of her death. At around the same time as the ongoing investigation, Mary’s husband died without a will and £10,000 in debt. In 1617, Mary’s grandson, yet another John Killigrew, erected a monument to his grandparents in the church of St. Budock.

ANNE WOOD (d.1512)
Anne (also called Helen) Wood was the daughter of John Wood or Awoode of East Barsham, Norfolk (d.c.1496). In about 1505, she married Thomas Astley of Melton Constable, Norfolk (1469-October 19, 1543) as his second wife. Their children were John (c.1507-August 1, 1596) and (probably) Ann, Elizabeth, and Margaret. The Astley surname is often given as Ashley and Wood is frequently spelled Wode, which is one reason Anne’s identity is so often confused. Even the Oxford DNB entry for her son does not connect her to the Anne Wode whose memorial brass survives in Blickling, Norfolk. According to the story preserved in Blickling, Anne died there in 1512 during a visit her sister, Elizabeth, along with twin babies who are pictured with their mother on her memorial brass. Anne appears to have given birth in Blickling and died soon after. Records of her son, John Astley/Ashley, state that he was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. Some further say that his mother and Anne Boleyn’s mother were sisters. Anne Wood’s sister was Elizabeth, Lady Boleyn, but she was the wife of Sir James Boleyn. In other words, his mother’s sister married the brother of Anne Boleyn’s father. Portrait: memorial brass in St. Andrew, Blickling.

Elizabeth Wood was the daughter of John Wood or Awodde of East Barsham, Norfolk (d.c.1496). She married Sir James Boleyn of Blickling Hall and Salle, Norfolk (1493?-1561) by the time her sister, Anne, visited them at Blickling in 1512. Sir James Boleyn is said to have had no issue, which may mean that they had no children or that their children all died young. Elizabeth was probably the Lady Boleyn who was a lady in waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn and attended her in the Tower in 1536, charged to spy on her niece and report to the authorities anything the imprisoned queen said. In 1553, Sir James made provision for the settlement of his lands after his death and that of his wife, but she seems to have predeceased him. He was buried at Blickling on November 21, 1561.

ELIZABETH WOOD (x. July 26, 1537) (maiden name unknown)
Elizabeth was the wife of Robert Wood of Aylsham, Norfolk. In May 1537, she was overheard to say “we had never good world since this king reigned.” One of her listeners, John Dix, reported her to the constables, who referred the matter to the magistrates (Sir James Boleyn and Sir John Heydon) and within two weeks the “lewd and ungracious” Elizabeth Wood was in prison. She was convicted in the King’s Bench on July 26 and immediately executed.

MARGARET WOOD (d. September 18, 1567?)
Margaret Wood was the daughter of Oliver Wood of Collingtree, Northamptonshire (d.1521/2) and Joanna Cantelupe. She married Sir Walter Mantell of Horton Priory, Kent (d.1529). Their children were Anne, Eleanor, John (1515-x.June 28, 1541), Walter (1517-x.May 1, 1554), Margaret (d. July 24, 1541), Mary, Thomas (July 25,1528-May 1588), Dorothy, and possibly Agnes. Mantell’s will was dated August 31, 1523 and proved August 4, 1529. Margaret married Sir William Hawte or Haute of Bishopsbourne, Kent (d.1539), whose daughter Jane married Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger. In about 1540, Margaret married Sir James Hales of the Dungeon, Canterbury, Kent (c.1495-August 14, 1554), a judge. Her son Walter married his daughter Jane (or Mary) Hales. Margaret was known for her “good housekeeping.” As Lady Hales, she raised her grandson, Barnaby Googe (1540-1594), after his mother died and her grandson, Matthew Mantell (d.1589), after his father was executed for treason. Her eldest son, John, was executed for murdering a park keeper. Her third husband was imprisoned for a decision at the assizes concerning religion. He recanted, but then tried to kill himself by slitting his veins with a penknife. In April 1554, after he recovered, he was released by royal command. He later committed suicide by drowning himself. Since suicide was a felony, his goods, chattels, and leases were forfeit to the Crown, including those he had acquired through his marriage to Margaret. She retained lands that had been settled on her and estates inherited from her father, which she held in her own right. In 1558, she brought suit against Cyriac Petit to recover an indenture of lease of Graveney Marsh. This lease had been made to her husband and herself in 1551, to commence in 1560. According to the entry on Hales in the Oxford DNB, Margaret began a second lawsuit in 1560, claiming that the lease was hers by survivorship. In 1562, the case was decided in favor of Petit, who held the title from King Edward. Hales vs. Petit became notorious because it debated the question of whether the felony of suicide occurred during the lifetime of the deceased or after his death. The case was included in Les commentaries, ou, Les reportes de Edmund Plowden (1571) and is generally believed to have inspired part of the gravedigger scene in Hamlet. Margaret made her will in 1567. There is an inquisition post mortem dated March 18, 1568 which gives her date of death as September 18, 1567, but the will of her stepson, Humphrey Hales, written on August 28, 1568, indicates that she was still living on that date. The History of Parliament entry for her grandson, Matthew Mantell, says she died in 1573 and the Oxford DNB says it was 1577. She is buried in the south or Woods chancel of St. Mildred’s Church in Canterbury, where there is a monument but no effigy.

MARGERY WOOD (d. 1511)
Margery Wood was the daughter of  Richard Wood of Coventry (d. 1476) and his wife Margaret (d. 1491). Margery married Robert Tate of Tower Ward (d.1508), a mercer, MP, and Lord Mayor of London in 1488. Their children were Bridget, John (d.1521), Richard (d.1554), Elizabeth (d.1516), Margery, and Robert. Margery made her will in 1509. She left a bequest to a nun at Syon Abbey named Margaret Shuldam and left 10s to the current anchorite of London Wall, a Mr. Elys. After bequests to her children, she left the residue of her estate to fund poor scholars at school.

ELIZABETH WOODFORD (c.1498-October 25, 1573)
Elizabeth Woodford was the daughter of Sir Robert Woodford of Ashby Folvile, Leicestershire and Brightwell, Buckinghamshire (October 9, 1460-1498+) and Alice Gate. She should not be confused with the Elizabeth Woodford (d. March 1523), who was a nun at Syon. That Elizabeth was a senior member of the order there in 1518. The subject of this entry did not become a nun until 1519, when she entered Burnham Abbey in Buckinghamshire. She was turned out when the abbey was surrendered on September 19, 1539. Initially, she returned to Brightwell Hall to live with her brother, Thomas. She left there to join the household of  Dr. John Clement at Marshfoot, Essex and was put in charge of the education of the Clement daughters. She accompanied the family to Flanders when they went into exile in 1549. In Louvain, she entered St. Ursula’s Augustinian cloister, the first Englishwoman to join the canonesses there. The Clement girls continued their education at St. Ursula’s and the youngest, Margaret Clement, was elected prioress in 1569. She is said to have credited Elizabeth Woodford with being her inspiration to enter the religious life. For more information, see Mary C. Erler, Reading and Writing During the Dissolution: Monks, Friars, and Nuns 1530-1558, pp. 169-174.

MARGARET WOODFORD (1479/80-1507)
Margaret Woodford was the daughter of William Woodford of Ashby Folville, Lincolnshire (d. July 28, 1487) and Anne Norwich. When her father died, she inherited the manors of Brentingby, Wyfordby, Freeby, and Garthorpe. She was also the principal heir of her grandfather, Sir Ralph Woodford (1430-March 4, 1498). She married John Turville. When he died soon after their marriage, Margaret married his brother, William Turville. John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, found this marriage to be irregular and it was annulled. In about 1496, Margaret married Thomas Morton (d. December 15, 1516), a widower with a son who was also the archbishop’s nephew. Most sources say they had only one son, John (1498-August 21, 1521), but one online genealogy also lists Thomas, William, Robert (d.1575), Cecilia, Agnes, and Helen. The manor of Bensham (also called Whitechapel) in Croydon, Surrey was settled on them and the marriage brought them into contact with the circle of Sir Thomas More.

ANNE WOODHOUSE (1520-1563)
Anne Woodhouse was the daughter of Sir Roger Woodhouse (or Wodehouse) of Kimberley, Norfolk (1490-1560) and Elizabeth Radcliffe (c.1489-by 1564). In about 1541, she married Christopher Coningsby of Wallington, Norfolk (1517-September 10, 1547), who was killed in battle at Musselburgh. Their children were Elizabeth (1542-1569+), Ann, and Amy. In July 1548, Anne was granted their wardship. By December 1550, she had married Sir Thomas Ragland of Carnllwyd, Glamorganshire, Roughton Holme, Norfolk, and Walworth, Surrey (d.1582). They had more than one child, but their names and fates are unknown. In about 1560, Caius College brought suit in Chancery against Sir Thomas and Anne for detention of evidence relating to one of its landed endowments. When Anne made her will in December 1562, she left a ring with an emerald to her husband but inserted the provision “that Sir Thomas Ragland shall not by any ways or means take any benefit or advantage of this will.” She apparently did not trust him to manage the inheritance left to her daughters. Her will was proved February 18, 1563.

ANNE WOODHOUSE (1541-c.1594)
Anne Woodhouse was the daughter of Sir William Woodhouse (1498-November 22, 1563) and Anne Repps (1513-January 1552). In 1560, she married Sir William Heydon of Baconsthorpe, Nofolk (October 30, 1540-March 19, 1593). Their children were Christopher (1561-1623), William, and John. Portrait: effigy in Baconsthorpe.

ANNE WOODHOUSE (c.1567-1637)
Anne Woodhouse was the daughter of Sir Henry Woodhouse of Waxham, Norfolk (c.1545-September 18, 1624) and Ann Bacon (c.1546-January 15, 1580). She married Henry Hogan of East Bradenham, Norfolk (d.1592). They had one son, Robert (d.1612). Her second husband was William Hungate of East Badenham, Norfolk (d.1606). They had one son, Henry (c.1598-by1645). Hungate left his property to his widow. In 1612, she persuaded her dying son by her first marriage to sign over his estates to her and her heirs, adding over 1600 acres to her holdings in East Badenham. In 1615, she married Sir Julius Caesar (1558-August 18, 1636). In 1619, she settled the reversion of the lands Hungate had left her on his son Henry, but Henry squandered the estate. By the time Anne made her will in March 1637, she feared there would be nothing left for her grandsons to inherit. She attempted to dictate the sale of her personal effects to redeem the mortgages her son had taken out, but the solution was unworkable and the matter ended up in court.


ELIZABETH WOODHOUSE (1553-December 24, 1590)
Elizabeth Woodhouse was the daughter of Sir William Woodhouse of Hickling, Norfolk (1517-November 22, 1564) and Elizabeth Calthorpe (1521-May 26, 1578), a first cousin to Queen Anne Boleyn. On January 12, 1573 in St. Martin at Palace, Norwich, Elizabeth married Miles Hobart or Hubbert of Plumstead, Norfolk (1547-July 17, 1589). Their children were Henry (1575-before 1590), Thomas (1579-May 31, 1623), and Drew or Andrew (1583-1590+). In February 1589/90, Elizabeth married Stephen Powle or Powell (c.1553-May 26, 1630). Their twin sons, Thomas and Stephen, were born on December 15,1590. Elizabeth died nine days later. Thomas died in early February and Stephen in mid-November 1591. Elizabeth was buried in the Church of St. Margaret at Barking, Essex, where her husband placed an alabaster tablet with a black marble panel inscribed in Latin. This tells us that she was zealous in religion (a Calvinist) and discreet in conversation. Powle also wrote two poems commemorating her life, which were preserved in his Commonplace Book and are included in Virginia F. Stern’s Sir Stephen Powle of Court and Country: Memorabilia of a Government Agent for Queen Elizabeth I, Chancery Official, and English Country Gentleman (1992).

Marion Colthorpe (http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day) identifies Elizabeth Woodhouse as the Mrs. Jones who was Mother of Maids in 1588-1591. She was the daughter of Thomas Woodhouse or Wodehouse of Kimberley, Norfolk (1510-September 10, 1547) and Margaret Shelton (d. September 11, 1583). In 1588, she married Thomas Jones and by November of that year she was Mother of Maids. On October 17, 1591, she was sent to the Tower after Catherine Leigh, one of the maids of honor in her charge, gave birth to a child at court. In her will, Elizabeth left bequests to Lord Hunsdon and Lady Scrope. At the time she wrote it she described herself as being of London.


AGNES WOODHULL (January 18, 1541/2-March 20, 1575/6)
Agnes Woodhull was the daughter and heiress of Anthony Woodhull of Woodhull, Bedfordshire and Warkworth, Middleton, Overthorp, and Pateshull, Northamptonshire, as well as other properties (1518-February 4, 1542) and Anne Smith (1522-1549+) and the niece of Mary Woodhull. She was born at Warkworth and was only seventeen days old when her father died. Her wardship, with a yearly rent of £20 for her expenses, was purchased by Sir Anthony Browne. He sold it to Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk in 1544. Suffolk left it in his will (1545) to his son, another Charles Brandon. Upon the younger Brandon’s death in 1551, Agnes’s custody passed to Catherine, dowager duchess of Suffolk, who in turn made a gift of it to her sons’ former governess, Margaret Blackborne. Agnes does not appear to have gone into exile during the reign of Mary Tudor, although Margaret Blackborne did. The History of Parliament entry for Agnes’s first husband creates confusion on this issue by stating that her wardship was purchased by Sir Anthony Wingfield for £400 and that it was Frances Brandon Grey, duchess of Suffolk, who had custody of the girl when, at some point before January 1555/6, when she was fourteen, she eloped with Richard Chetwode of Worleston, Cheshire, Chetwode, Buckinghamshire, and Warkworth, Northamptonshire (1528-January 1559/60), formerly gentleman of the privy chamber to King Edward VI. Chetwode was a prisoner in the Tower of London in July 1556 and again in February 1557. He spent the rest of his life fighting challenges to the legality of his marriage. When Charles Tyrrell brought suit to have the marriage annulled, Cardinal Pole declared it invalid. Chetwode appealed to Rome and the case was still pending when Queen Mary died, but the annullment was rescinded in 1559. The couple had a son, Richard, (1560-May 21, 1635). Chetwode’s will was dated January 6, 1559/60 and was proved October 26, 1560. In it he asked three influential courtiers, Sir Robert Dudley, Sir William Cecil, and Sir Thomas Parry, to befriend his widow, especially against the “troubles which have been procured by Charles Tyrrell, whom God forgive, against my precious jewel my wife and me.” Agnes and Chetwode’s brother, John, were executors. He was buried in St. Dunstan’s, London on January 12, 1559/60. In 1561, Agnes married Sir George Calverley (Calveley/Claveley) of Lea, Chesthire (c.1532-August 5, 1585) as his second wife. They had two sons, George and Hugh, who died before their mother. Calverley owned the manors of Lea, Mottram, St. Andrew, Handley, and Buckley in Cheshire and property in that county at Whorepoole, Egerton, Horton and Scalford, as well as land in Saxby, Lincolnshire and Grimstone, Flintshire, and a salt pan in Droitwich, which would have left Agnes a very wealthy widow had he died first. Calverley had a sister, Eleanor (1547-1571) who married John Dutton (1542-1607/8) in 1560 and had twelve children by him. Dutton accused Calverley of assaulting him. Calverley brought countercharges in the Star Chamber, claiming that Dutton had conspired to kill him and his sister Eleanor so that he, Dutton, could marry Agnes. To accomplish this, Calverley said, Dutton had hired “a notable conjurer” to help him. The point became moot when Agnes died at Hockiffe, Bedfordshire, a property she had brought with her to her second marriage.

MARY WOODHULL (c.1528-1559)
Mary Woodhull (often written Odell) was the daughter of Nicholas Woodhull of Woodhull, Bedfordshire and Thenford Manor, Northamptonshire (c.1495-May 1531) and Elizabeth (or Alice) Parr (c.1499-before 1531). According to Marion Colthorpe (http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day), her mother was named Mary Parr. Her grandfather was Lord Parr of Horton, making her a cousin to Queen Katherine Parr, Horton’s niece. Mary came to court as a chamberer in 1543 and was promoted to gentlewoman of the queen’s chamber, at a salary of five shillings, by 1547. Although Susan James (Catherine Parr) states that Mary Woodhull previously served Katherine’s mother, Maud Parr, the dates of Maud’s death (1531) and Mary’s birth do not support this. It was Elizabeth Odell who was left £40 in Maud’s will. Mary remained with the queen dowager, sometimes sharing her bed for warmth, until Katherine’s death in 1548. In June 1550, Mary married David Seymour (d.1557/8), another former member of Queen Katherine’s household and a distant relation of Lord Protector Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset. Their children were William, Edward, and Anne. They lived in Fenchurch Street in London. In January 1559, Mary was listed as an Extraordinary Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth.



MARY WOODS (d. 1613+)
Mary Woods of Stratton Strawless, near Norwich, and London, aka “Cunning Mary,” was skilled at palmistry and came to the attention of the authorities in connection with the Overbury case. In February 1613, she reisted arrest when she was accused of stealing a jewel. This jewel appears to have been a ring she received from Lady Essex (Frances Howard). Gifts were apparently common in lieu of money. A Mrs. Clare, described as “a fair gentle-maid that hath a fine boy of her own,” gave her a goblet. Mary was accused of deluding women and of threatening to accuse of them trying to poison their husbands if they prosecuted her. In the case of Lady Essex, there would have been some truth to the accusation. One account states that Lady Essex promised Mary Woods £1000 if she would procure poison to kill the earl. Mary claimed she gave Lady Essex a powder to wear around her neck when she wished to conceive but refused her request for poison. Another of her clients, to whom Mary admitted giving a powder, was Dr. Suckling’s wife. She came to Mary to find out when her husband would die. She allegedly offered Mary money if Mary would poison him. According to Beatrice White in Cast of Ravens, what happened to Mary after 1613 is unknown.

AGNES WOODVILLE (c.1463-between 1506 and September 22, 1508)
Agnes Woodville was probably the illegitimate daughter of Sir Richard Woodville of Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, later Earl Rivers (x. August 12, 1469) and therefore the half sister of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth Woodville. In about 1480, she married William Dormer of West Wycombe (d.1506). Their children were Robert (1485-July 12, 1552), Agnes, Joan, Margery, and Bridget.

ANNE WOODVILLE (d. July 30, 1489)
Anne Woodville was the daughter of Sir Richard Woodville of Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, later Earl Rivers (x. August 12, 1469) and Jacquetta de St. Pol (1415-May 20, 1472), and the sister of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth Woodville. She attended her sister at her coronation on May 26, 1465. She married William, viscount Bourchier (d.1480) in 1466. Their children were Isabel (d.1501), Henry (d. March 13, 1539/40), and Cecily (d.1493). Anne was a lady in waiting to her sister. Although some accounts say that Anne married Sir Edward Wingfield, her second husband was George Grey, later earl of Kent (1452-December 1503). They married on June 26, 1480 and had a son, Richard (1481-1524). She was present at the marriage of her niece, Elizabeth of York, to Henry VII on January 18, 1486. Anne was buried at Warden Abbey in Bedfordshire.

ELEANOR WOODVILLE (c.1452-before 1492)
Eleanor (also called Joan) Woodville was the daughter of Sir Richard Woodville of Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, later Earl Rivers (x. August 12, 1469) and Jacquetta de St. Pol (1415-May 20, 1472), and the sister of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth Woodville. In February 1466, she married Sir Anthony Grey, 4th baron Grey of Ruthin (c.1446-1480). They had no children. She was still alive on September 24, 1485, when Edward Woodville, another brother, named her as one of his heirs. One online source gives her date of death as 1512, but since she is not named as surviving her brother Richard in his inquisition post mortem, she had probably died before August 14, 1492.

ELIZABETH WOODVILLE (c.1437-June 8, 1492)
Elizabeth Woodville was the daughter of Sir Richard Woodville (x. August 12, 1469) and Jacquetta de St. Pol (1415-May 20, 1472). In about 1456, she married Sir John Grey (c.1432-1461), heir to Lord Ferrers of Groby. They had two sons, Thomas, later marquess of Dorset (1451-1501), and Richard. In attempting to claim her jointure rights, Elizabeth had an audience with the king, Edward IV (1442-April 9, 1483). A short time later, sometime in 1464, they married in secret at her father’s house of Grafton, Northamtonshire. Edward revealed the marriage in September, when he was being pressured to marry a foreign princess. Elizabeth’s coronation took place on May 26, 1465. Their children were Elizabeth (February 11, 1465/6-February 11, 1503), Mary (1467-1482), Cecily (March 20, 1469-August 24, 1507), Edward (1471-1483?), Margaret (1472-1472), Richard (d.1483?), Anne (November 2, 1474-November 12, 1511), George (d. before 1479), Katherine (1479-November 15, 1527), and Bridget (1480-1517). After her husband died, Elizabeth fled into sanctuary with her daughters and younger son. After Richard III usurped the throne from her eldest son, Elizabeth conspired with Margaret Beaufort to replace him with Henry Tudor, Margaret’s son, and marry Henry to her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York. She was godmother to Arthur Tudor, first child of Henry and Elizabeth. In 1487, it was suggested that she marry the widowed James III of Scotland. Instead, she retired to Bermondsey Abbey on a pension of 400 marks (£266 13s. 4d.), increased to £400 in 1490. She died at Bermondsey and was buried beside her husband in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Portraits: several illuminations, stained glass windows, and oil paintings. Biographies: D. MacGibbon, Elizabeth Woodville (1938); David Baldwin, Elizabeth Woodville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower (2002); Oxford DNB entry under “Elizabeth [née Elizabeth Woodville].”

KATHERINE WOODVILLE (1457/8-May 18, 1497)
Katherine Woodville was the daughter of Sir Richard Woodville (x. August 12, 1469) and Jacquetta de St. Pol (1415-May 20, 1472), and the sister of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth Woodville. Although it was once commonly believed that she was born in 1442, making her nearly twenty-four in 1465 when Edward IV married her to ten-year-old Henry Stafford, 2nd duke of Buckingham (1455-1483), more recent research indicates that she was a child of around eight at that time. Their children were Edward (February 3, 1478-May 17, 1521), Henry (1479-March 6, 1523), Elizabeth (d. May 1532), Anne (c.1483-1544+), and Humphrey (d.yng.). After Edward IV’s death, Buckingham initially allied himself with Richard III, but he switched his allegiance to Henry Tudor, duke of Richmond in 1483. In October of that year, he took the precaution of sending his wife and sons to Weobley, Hertfordshire, home of Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers. Their daughters were left behind at Brecon Castle. Katherine and her younger son remained at  Weobley after Buckingham and was executed by Richard for treason, but her oldest son, Edward (1478-1521), was spirited away for safety when King Richard put a price of £1000 on his head. £500 was offered for the capture of young Henry. Searching for her sons, the king’s men found Katherine and Henry at Weobley and took them to London as prisoners. In December, she was allowed to bring her daughters and servants from in Wales to London. A few months later, she was granted an annuity of 200 marks. During the first months of Henry VII’s reign, before November 7, 1485, she married the king’s uncle, Jasper Tudor, duke of Bedford (c.1431-December 21, 1495). On her marriage, she received her dower and a jointure of 1000 marks, giving her annual revenue of about £2500. In early 1496, she married Sir Richard Wingfield of Kimbolton Castle (c.1469-July 22, 1525). Since they wed without a license from the king, she was fined £2000, but the payment was demanded from her son rather than from her new husband. She had no children by Tudor or Wingfield. Biographies: Susan Higginbotham, The Woodvilles (2013); included in her husband’s Oxford DNB entry.

MARGARET WOODVILLE (d. before March 6, 1490/1)
Margaret Woodville was the daughter of Sir Richard Woodville of Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, later Earl Rivers (x. August 12, 1469) and Jacquetta de St. Pol (1415-May 20, 1472), and the sister of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth Woodville. She was a member of the queen’s household from 1464 and in that same year was married to Thomas FitzAlan, Lord Maltravers (c.1450-October 25, 1524), who was earl of Arundel after 1487. The king provided her dowry. Their children were William (1483-January 23, 1544), Margaret (d.1524+), Edward, and Joan (d. before 1505). Lady Maltravers attended the coronation of Elizabeth Woodville in May 1465, accompanied the king’s sister as far as Stratford Langhorne Abbey in June 1468 on her journey to Burgundy, and attended the christening of Princess Bridget in 1480, carrying the child in the procession. She was also present at the marriage of her niece, Elizabeth of York, to Henry VII in January 1486. Margaret was buried at Arundell.

MARGARET WOODVILLE (c.1455-before 1520)
Margaret Woodville was the illegitimate daughter and only child of Anthony Woodville, Lord Scales and Earl Rivers (1442-June 25, 1483) and Gwenllian Stradling. On September 12, 1479, her father settled 800 marks on her, 200 to be paid on sealing the deed, plus lands worth 100 marks a year. She is not mentioned in his will. She married Sir Robert Poyntz of Iron Acton, Gloucestershire (1450-November 4, 1520). Their children were Anthony (1480-1533), Margaret (c.1489-before 1558), John (c.1487-1544), Francis (c.1490-1528), Elizabeth, Edward, Nicholas (c.1493-1512), Humphrey, Katherine, and Anne (c.1479-1547+).

MARTHA WOODVILLE (c.1450-1500+)
Martha Woodville was not the daughter of Sir Richard Woodville of Grafton Regis, Northamptonshire, later Earl Rivers (x. August 12, 1469) and Jacquetta de St. Pol (1415-May 20, 1472). Her name only begins to appear on lists of their children in 1623. It is possible she was Woodville’s illegitimate daughter, which would have made her the half sister of Edward IV’s queen, Elizabeth Woodville. In about 1463, Martha married Sir John Bromley of Bartomley and Hextall, Shropshire (d.1488). By his first wife, he had at least one daughter, Isabel, and he is said to have had three daughters in all. Martha was still living in 1500 but had died before 1509.



JOAN WOODWARD (1571-June 28,1623)
Joan Woodward was the daughter of Henry Woodward (d. December 1578), a dyer, and his wife Agnes (d. April 1617). On February 14, 1579, Agnes married one of her late husband’s apprentices, Philip Henslowe (d. January 6,1616), a man some twenty years her junior. They had no children. Henslowe used his profits as a dyer to purchase the Little Rose in St. Saviour’s parish, Southwark, and opened it as the Rose Playhouse in 1587. On October 22, 1592, Joan married Edward Alleyn (September 1,1566-November 25,1626), a player. In 1593, she was carted through Southwark as a bawd, accused of living on the proceeds of prostitution. According to some sources, both Henslowe and Allyn were brothel-keepers as well as theatrical entrepreneurs. Henslowe kept a diary and other details about the Rose are also available. Letters between Joan and her husband are extant, although Joan had to have someone, often her stepfather, write hers for her. One of the letters from Allyn addresses her as “my good sweetheart and loving mouse.” Portrait: date unknown.


ANNE WORSLEY (1588-December 23, 1644)
Anne Worsley was the daughter of John Worsley of the Isle of Wight and Eleanor Hervey. The family had been forced into exile in Brabant and were in Louvain in 1601. Of her siblings, one brother became a Jesuit, another a secular priest, and her sister, Elizabeth (1601-1642), was prioress of the convent at Alost. Anne was sponsored by the Infanta Isabella to join the Carmelite order on June 7, 1610 at Mons. In 1612, the prioress, Anne, and two other nuns established the Spanish Carmel in Antwerp. Four years later, she went to a new Carmelite foundation at Mechelen, and in 1619 transferred to an English Carmel in Antwerp. Five weeks later, she was elected prioress. She wrote her life story. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Worsley, Anne.” Portraits: three likenesses were painted after her death.


ISABEL WORSLEY (d. April 18, 1527)
Isabel Worsley was the daughter of  Otwell Worsley of Stamworth (d.1470) and Rose Trevor. She married Richard Culpepper or Culpeper of Oxenhoath, West Peckham, Kent (d. October 4, 1484) as his second wife. Their children were Joyce (c. 1480-1527+), Thomas (1484-October 7, 1492), and Margaret. She married Sir John Leigh of Stockwell, Surrey (d. August 17, 1523). Their children, John and Joyce, died before their father. Ralph Leigh (or Legh), John’s brother, married Isabel’s daughter, Joyce Culpepper, when Joyce was only twelve. He died in 1509, after which Joyce married Lord Edmund Howard and became the mother of a future queen of England. Isabel made her will on April 6, 1527. Her principal heirs were Joyce and Edmund Howard. She left instructions that they were to use the residue of her estate to redeem the properties Joyce had inherited from her grandfather, Sir John Culpepper. These were mortgaged to Thomas Kellesett, a London tailor. To make certain they used the money for this purpose, she required sureties and stated that if they did not comply, the bequest would be void. She added a codicil on April 11, 1527, revoking this condition and ordering her executors to pay Kellesett £60. If Kellesett did not allow Edmund and Joyce to redeem the mortgage, the money would go to them. Joyce was also to receive a chain of gold with a cross, Isabel’s “last wedding ring, a ring with the diamond enamelled,” a black velvet gown lined with crimson velvet, a camlet gown furred with martens, a gilt salt without a cover, and other items, including livestock. Isabel left her servant, Margaret Metcalfe, bedding and other household items on the condition that she remain in service to Joyce Howard “for reasonable wages till she come to her marriage.” To “every wife in Stockwell,” Isabel left “one ell of linen cloth, price 12d, or else 12d in money.” Her grandchildren Charles, Henry, George, Margaret and Katherine Howard were each to receive 20s. Lord Edmund Howard was to receive £10 sterling “to have my soul in his remembrance and to pray for me.” The will was proved May 25, 1527. It can be found at http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com. Isabel was buried in St. Nicholas, Lambeth.



ANNE WOTTON (1536-June 1588)
Anne Wotton was the only daughter and heir of John Wotton (Wooten/Wootton) of North Tudenham, Norfolk (d. November 14, 1545) and Elizabeth Bardwell and the granddaughter of the John Wotton who, sometime after 1541, married Mary Neville, Lady Dacre as her second husband. In 1545, Anne’s wardship was held by John Millicent, who sold it to Sir Anthony Rouse. In 1547, Rouse sold it to William Woodhouse. In 1554, Anne married Sir Thomas Woodhouse of Waxham (1535-1556).  In 1557, she married Henry Reppes or Repps of Mendham, Suffolk (1509-February 10, 1558). Both marriages were childless. On September 25, 1558, she married Bassingborne Gawdy of West Haling, Norfolk (1534-January 20, 1589/90). Their children were Bassingborne (May 19, 1560-May 3, 1606) and Philip (July 13, 1562-May 27, 1617). Portraits: Hans Eworth, who painted two portraits of Lady Neville, is also said to have painted portraits of Anne and her third husband (now lost); Anne Wotton may be the subject of the portrait called “Lady Anne Penruddocke” which gives the age of the sitter as 20 in 1557.



Margaret Wotton was the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent (1465-1524), and Anne Belknap (d. before 1524). She was probably the Margaret Wootton in Elizabeth of York’s household in1503, when she was paid £2 for six months of service as a part-time gentlewoman of honor. Her aunt, Margaret Belknap, was also part of that household. In 1505, she married William Medley of Whetnesse and Tachbrook Mallory, Warwickshire (1481-February 1509). They had one son, George (d.1562). In 1509, she married Thomas Grey, 2nd marquis of Dorset (June 22, 1477-October 10, 1530). Their children were Elizabeth (b.1510), Katherine (1512-1542), Anne (1514-January 1548), Henry, 3rd marquis (January 12, 1517-x. February 23, 1554), John (1523-November 19, 1569), Thomas (1526-x.1554), and a son and daughter who died young. Thomas Grey’s body was found intact when his coffin in the collegiate church at Astley, Warwickshire was opened in 1608. He was five foot eight inches tall and had smooth yellow hair. As marchioness of Dorset, Margaret accompanied Mary Tudor to France in 1514 and was one of Elizabeth Tudor’s godmothers. When her second husband died, King Henry granted her custody of all of his lands during the minority of her son. This son, Henry, had been betrothed to Lady Catherine Fitzalan, daughter of the earl of Arundel, but the two disliked each other and Henry rejected the match. To free him from this obligation, Margaret was obliged by the betrothal contract to pay 4000 marks to Arundel, which she did in yearly installments of 300 marks. On November 19, 1531, she wrote to Thomas Cromwell from Tiltey, Essex, where she lived in lodgings her late husband paid to have built in the Cistercian monastery there. She sent her son, George Medley, to deliver the letter and a £40 gift for Cromwell. She requested that Cromwell negotiate with Arundel to reduce the amount she owed him by 1000 marks. Her argument was that the contract of marriage between Arundel’s heir and her daughter, Katherine Grey, had only required a penalty of 3000 marks. Perhaps because he incurred this huge debt, Margaret did not get on well with Henry. Other letters from Margaret to Cromwell are included in Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies. In one dated February 8, 1535 from Tiltey, she sent him £10 and a cup because she heard he had been given a “sinister report” about her, alleging that she had “hindered or impaired” the monastery at Tiltey. She and her husband had certainly meddled there. In 1530, at the request of the marquess of Dorset, the abbot had been pensioned off and replaced. Tilty was not a wealthy monastery. There were only five monks in residence besides the abbot. On October 6, 1535, Margaret was granted a lease for sixty years on the grange, manor, and demesne lands at Tilty. After the abbey was dissolved, on February 26, 1536, this had to be confirmed by the state, which was accomplished on November 4, 1538. In the meantime, Margaret continued to live there. She was staying at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s palace of Croydon in October 1537 when Prince Edward was born. Because there were reports of plague in the village of Croydon, Margaret was banned from his christening, even though she was to have been one of his godparents. A letter she wrote to the king from Croydon, expressing her regret, is still extant. Yet another letter to Lord Cromwell dates from January 26, 1538, when Margaret was staying at Ightham Mote in Kent, where she had earlier been a guest in February 1534. She asked Cromwell to take her son Thomas into his household. Portraits: a sketch by Holbein at Windsor; portrait by Holbein; miniature.


MARY WOTTON (1499-1543+)
Mary Wotton was the daughter of Sir Robert Wotton of Boughton Malherbe, Kent (1465-1524), and Anne Belknap (d. before 1524). She may have been the Mistress Wotton who was a chamberer to Mary Tudor, queen of France, in 1513. She married Sir Henry Guildford (1489-1532) and was his executrix. She received a release from all her obligations to the king on March 25, 1533. but was still deeply in debt in 1535 when she wrote to Lord Cromwell on the subject. In July 1540, she married Sir Gavin (Gawen/Gawain) Carew of Exeter and Wood, Devon (c.1503-1583). She was at court in 1543 as one of Queen Katherine Parr’s ladies. Carew remarried by December 1565. Portraits: a sketch by Holbein in Basle; portrait by Holbein (1527) in the St. Louis Art Museum; Holbein’s sketch of two women at the Tudor court, c.1527, now in the British Museum, may be another preliminary study for this portrait.





FRANCES WRAY (1568-August 15, 1634)
Frances Wray was the daughter of Sir Christopher Wray of Glentworth, Lincolnshire (1524-May 7, 1592) and Anne Girlington (d.1593). At fifteen, she married George St. Poll of Melwood and Snarford, Lincolnshire (1562-October 28, 1613). He was knighted in 1593. They had one child, a daughter named Mattathia who died before the age of two, probably in 1597. Together with her older sister, Isabel, Frances financed the education at Cambridge of puritan preacher Richard Bernard (1568-1641), who dedicated his Christian Advertisements to Frances and her husband. St. Poll wrote his will on October 18, 1612 and it was proved June 2, 1614. Frances was the sole executrix and inherited an income of £1700 a year. On December 14, 1616, she married Robert Rich, 3rd Lord Rich (December 15, 1559-March 24, 1619). He had divorced his first wife, Penelope Devereux (d.1607), in 1605. Rich became earl of Warwick in 1618, making Frances a countess. Portraits: effigy with Sir George St. Poll in St. Lawrence Church, Snarford; memorial showing her with her second husband, also in Snarford; effigy on the tomb of her parents in Glentworth.


ISABEL WRAY (January 27, 1560-February 12, 1622/3)
Isabel Wray was the daughter of Sir Christopher Wray of Glentworth, Lincolnshire (1524-May 7, 1592) and Anne Girlington (d.1593). Isabel, her sister Frances (d.1634), and their brother William (c.1555-August 13, 1617), were all supporters of radical protestants. Isabel and Frances financed the education of puritan minister Richard Bernard (1568-1641), sending him to Christ’s College. Isabel married Godfrey Foljambe of Aldwarke, Yorkshire (November 21, 1558-June 14, 1595). During their marriage she had a suspected demoniac named Katherine Wright brought to their house at Walton, near Chesterfield, where various ministers attempted to cure her of possession. John Darrell, later shown to be a charlatan, was given credit for accomplishing this. By 1599, Isabel married Sir William Bowes of Streatlam and Barnard Castle, Durham (d. October 30, 1611). Bowes yielded to Isabel in matters of religion, although most men looked down on a woman’s ability to understand theology. In 1606, she hosted a conference of leading puritans at her house in Coventry. She supported many ministers who lost their livings for non-conformity. Thomas Helwys, a Baptist, dedicated his Declaration of the Faith to her in 1611. On May 7, 1617, at Walton, Derbyshire, Isabel married John Darcy, baron Darcy of Aston (1579-July 5, 1635) as his second of four wives. She does not seem to have had any children. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Darcy [née Wray; other married names Foljambe, Bowes], Isabel;” C. M. Newman, “An Honorable and Elect Lady: The Faith of Isabel, Lady Bowes” in D. Wood, ed., Life and Thought in the Northern Churches c1100-c.1700, Studies in Church History, Subsidia 12 (Woodbridge, 1999). Portrait: effigy on her parents’ tomb (her sister Frances behind her).


JANE WREY (d. 1580+)
Jane Wrey was the daughter of John Wrey of Trebeigh, Cornwall and North Russell, Devon (d.1597) and Blanche Killigrew (d. December 14, 1595). In 1565, she was being courted by Peter Coryton (d. August 13, 1603), son and heir of Richard Coryton of Coryton, Lifton Hundred, Devon and West Newton Ferrers, St. Mellion, Cornwall, who threatened to disinherit his son if he married Jane. Two days before Richard planned to leave for London to consult his lawyer, two of his servants, Bartlet and Basely, murdered him by cutting his throat. After their arrest, they claimed Peter, who had been at court at the time the crime was committed, had hired them to kill his father. When Bartlet lay dying in Newgate Prison, he confessed to making a false accusation. After Basely was executed in Launceston, Peter married Jane. Their children included William (1580-1651), Jane, Grace, Elizabeth, Peter, Catherine, Diana, and Maria. Many years later, in a dispute over property, the charge against Peter was raised again and the claim was made that Edmond Wrey, to aid his sister and her future husband, was at the execution to prevent Basely from speaking out against Peter. Money was said to have been promised to the dependents of both murderers if their allegations against Peter were withdrawn.

ALICE WRIGHT (1536-1597)
Alice Wright, known as the Witch of Stapenhill, was the daughter of Elizabeth Wright, called Mother Red Cap. She gave Alice a dog named Minny. On April 18, 1596, Alice was accused by a fourteen-year-old boy, Thomas Darling, of bewitching him and causing him to have fits. She was tortured in order to get her to confess that she’d used Minny to help her bewitch the boy. Her husband, a man named Goodridge, and her daughter were also implicated. Alice was sentenced to twelve months in prison in Derby and died during her imprisonment. Thomas Darling, known as the Burton Boy, was exorcised by John Darrell. Later he confessed that he had faked his fits. Portrait: 1597 woodcut in Lambeth Palace Library.

ANNE WRIOTHESLEY (1508-July 17, 1602+)
Anne Wriothesley was the daughter of William Wrythe or Writh of London (d.1513) and Agnes Drayton and the sister of  Thomas Wriothesley, 1st earl of Southampton. She married Thomas Knight of Hoo, Hampshire (d.1547/8). Their children were John and Anne (b.1547). Knight wrote his will on January 1, 1547/8 and it was proved February 27, 1547/8. Anne was his sole executrix and inherited the manor of Hoo. On February 5, 1549, she married Sir Oliver Lawrence of Creech Grange, Isle of Purbeck (d. January 1, 1559) as his second wife. They had a daughter, Jane. He wrote his will on March 20, 1558, naming Anne one of his executors. It was proved January 18, 1558/9. Anne received the manors of Soberton and Tichfield in Hampshire as gifts from her brother and lived at Soberton during her widowhood. Lady Lawrence hosted the queen at Soberton in September 1569. In January 1570, she was summoned before the Court of Requests. Upon arriving in London, she discovered that the tribunal was absent from the city and rather than make a return journey asked Edmund Clerke to write on her behalf to Richard Oseley to request that she be excused and her attorney handle the matter. In his letter, Clerke attested to Lady Lawrence’s good character and referred to the queen’s visit the previous year as a means of of influencing the court to favor her petition.There are references to Anne in Hampshire records in 1575, 1580, and 1602. Her will is dated July 17, 1602, but she was said still to be alive at the age of one hundred in 1608.



KATHERINE WRIOTHESLEY (c.1541-August 1626)
Katherine Wriothesley was the daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, 1st earl of Southampton and Lord Chancellor of England (December 21, 1505-July 30, 1550), and Jane Cheney (1510-September 15, 1574). On July 4, 1545, when she was still a small child, her father negotiated a marriage contract with Matthew Arundell, but the contract was not upheld. Around 1567, she married Thomas Cornwallis of East Horsley, Surrey (1530-May 13, 1597). They had two sons, Robert, who died in France as a young man and Henry who died as a child. Portrait: effigy at St. Martin’s, Horsley.

MARY WRIOTHESLEY (1572-June 1607)
Mary Wriothesley was the daughter of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd earl of Southampton (April 1545-October 4, 1581) and Mary Browne (July 22, 1553-November 4, 1607). Her father specified that she was to be brought up by his sister, Katherine Cornwallis of East Horsley, Surrey, or by her great aunt, Mistress Lawrence. Immediately after Southampton’s death, however, Mary’s mother wrote to Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, for assistance in reclaiming her daughter. Mary was returned to her mother on November 28, 1581, two days before her father was buried. Mary was raised as a Catholic and married Thomas Arundell of Wardour (c.1586-November 7, 1639), another recusant, in 1585. Their children were Anne, Catherine, Thomas (c.1586-May 14, 1643), William (d.1653), and (possibly) Elizabeth. Arundell fought in Emperor Rudolph’s war with the Turks and returned to England in February 1596 to face Queen Elizabeth’s wrath because he’d accepted a foreign title. He was not permitted to live with his wife, even though she was ailing.


DOROTHY WROTH (c.1515-1588/9)
Dorothy Wroth was the daughter of Robert Wroth of Durants, Enfield, Middlesex (1488/9-1535) and Jane Hawte (c.1486-1538+). Under the terms of her father’s will, she married his ward, Edward Lewknor of Kingston-by-Sea (Buci/Bowsey), Sussex (1516/17-September 6, 1556). Their children included Edward (1542-September 19, 1605), Thomas, Stephen, William, Leverest (Lucrece?), Anne, Mary, Dorothy, and Elizabeth. On June 6, 1556, Lewknor was arrested and taken to the Tower of London on charges of treason in connection with the Dudley Conspiracy. It didn’t help that Dorothy’s brother, Thomas Wroth, was a Protestant exile. Lewknor was tried on June 15 and sentenced to death but his execution was deferred. While he was in the Tower, Dorothy and one of their daughters were allowed to lodge with him “for his better comfort,” but he died while still a prisoner. Queen Mary restored the Sussex manors of Hamsey and Kingston Bowsey in Kingston-by-Sea to Dorothy. Edward Lewknor, the heir, was restored in blood in March 1559. Dorothy wrote her will in 1587. It was proved August 26, 1589.




Dorothy Wroughton was the daughter of Sir William Wroughton of Broad Hinton, Wiltshire (1509/10-September 4, 1559) and Eleanor Lewknor (1510-1590). Her father left her £200 in his will, made September 10, 1558. In 1566, she married Sir John Thynne of Longleat (1512/13-May 21, 1580) as his second, or perhaps third, wife. Their children were Egremont, Henry, Charles, Edward, William, Gresham, and Katherine (d.1613). Queen Elizabeth visited them at Longleat en route to Bristol in 1575. John Thynne’s will left Dorothy livestock and plate, but no house. As a widow, she was at odds with her eldest stepson, the second John Thynne. According to Raleigh Trevelyan’s biography of Sir Walter Raleigh, Dorothy so terrified John’s young wife, Joan Hayward, that Joan fled Longleat in the middle of the night. Dorothy married Carew Raleigh (c.1550-1625/6), older brother of Sir Walter. Their children were Gilbert, Walter (1586-1646), George, and a daughter. He had been her first husband’s gentleman of the horse and later operated as a privateer. His greatest prize was in January 1593, when he was awarded £900 as his share of the Madre de Dios. The Raleighs settled at Downton, Wiltshire around 1598.

DOROTHY WROUGHTON (1576-July 1634)
Dorothy Wroughton was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Wroughton of Broad Hinton, Wiltshire (1547-1597) and Anne Barwick or Berwick (d.1597+). She married Sir Henry Unton (or Umpton) of Faringdon, Berkshire (1557-March 23, 1595/6) in 1580. The Untons had no children but were apparently devoted. After Sir Henry’s death, Dorothy went into deep mourning. She commissioned a memorial portrait of his life, which includes scened of the masque celebrating their wedding, a banquet table over which she presides, and his tomb with her kneeling figure above his effigy. She also raised a tomb at Faringdon to Sir Henry and herself. She inherited Faringdon and Wadley, Berkshire and made Wadley her principal residence, although initially she retired to her family’s home at Broad Hinton to mourn. The estate was encumbered by debts said to equal £23,000. Since there was no will, Unton’s sisters fought over their inheritance in court and the matter was not settled until the next year. In her father’s May 1597 will, he refers to Dorothy as “my sweet and well-beloved daughter, the Lady Unton.” In March 1598, before Dorothy would agree to marry Sir George Shirley of Staunton Harold, Lincolnshire (1559-April 27, 1622), she made number of demands. She reserved a living to herself, without his control, asked for a jointure of £1000 a year, £500 in land to go to her son if there should be one and £500 a year out of his living should they fall out, so she could live apart from him. Most remarkably, should she find fault with her husband’s “unsufficiency,” she reserved the right to choose another bedfellow! They were married at the end of 1598 and separated after only two years. Dorothy lived primarily at Faringdon and Astwell. She entertained King James at Wadley in September 1603. After Shirley’s death, it was rumored that she might marry diplomat Sir Thomas Edmondes (1563-Septembe 20, 1639), who had been secretary to her first husband during his embassy to France in 1591-2, but Edmondes married someone else in 1626. Dorothy was rumored to be his mistress. This seems unlikely, but he was a beneficiary in her will. Portraits: in memorial portrait; effigy in Unton Chapel, Faringdon, Berkshire.




MARGARET WYATT (c.1506-1561)
Margaret Wyatt was the daughter of Sir Henry Wyatt (1460-November 10, 1537) and Anne Skinner. Before 1530, she married Sir Anthony Lee of Burston and Quarendon, Buckinghamshire (c.1509-1550). Their children were Henry (1530-February 12, 1611), Cromwell (d. 1601), Robert (c.1538-June 1598), and Katherine. Margaret was one of Anne Boleyn’s ladies and said to be her close friend. She accompanied Queen Anne to the scaffold and helped bury her. One source gives Margaret’s life dates as c.1490-March 10, 1537 and has her married to Thomas (or John) Rogers in 1505 and giving birth to Rogers’s children John, William, Edward, Eleanor, and Joan, but this was probably Margaret’s sister Mary (sometimes called Anne). Other birth dates for Margaret range as late as 1514. Portraits: by Hans Holbein, 1540, in the Metropolitan Museum, New York; effigy on her tomb at Quarendon.


Elizabeth Wykes was the daughter of Henry Wykes of Putney, Surrey, a shearman who later became a gentleman usher to Henry VII. She married Thomas Williams, a yeoman of the guard. In about 1513, she married Thomas Cromwell (c.1485-June 28, 1540), who at that time was a merchant and a lawyer. Their children were Anne and Grace, who died young, and Gregory, Lord Cromwell (c.1514-July 4, 1551). They lived in Austin Friars, London. Before her death in Stepney, her husband had attracted the attention of Cardinal Wolsey and was rapidly making a name for himself in court circles. After Elizabeth’s death, her mother, Mrs. Pryor, and her second huband, lived in Cromwell’s house for several years.





JANE WYNDHAM (1541-November 22, 1608)
Jane Wyndham was the daughter of Sir Edward Wyndham. Her first husband was John Pope of Oxford. Her second husband was Humphrey Coningsby. She had no children. Portrait: memorial brass erected by her cousin, Sir John Wyndham, in St. Margaret, Felbrigg, Norfolk in 1612.


MARGARET WYNDHAM (1499-July 7, 1580)
Margaret Wyndham was the daughter of Thomas Wyndham of Felbrigg, Norfolk (d. December 22, 1521) and Eleanor Scrope (1472-1508). She married Andrew Luttrell of Dunster Castle and East Quantockshed, Somerset (1493-May 4, 1538) with a marriage portion of 700 marks (£466 13s. 4d.). Their children were John (1519-July 10, 1551), Thomas (1521-February 1571), Nicholas (1523-May 1592), Cecily (1526-March 20, 1566), Elizabeth (1529-1561), Andrew, Margaret, and Honor. Her entry at thepeerage.com gives her a second husband, Sir Erasmus Paston (d.1540), and a son, Sir William Paston (1528-1610), and says she died in 1562, but it was Margaret’s sister Mary (d.1596) who married Paston. In the will Luttrell made on April 13, 1538 (proved July 13, 1538), Margaret was to be his executor unless she remarried. He left Thomas Cromwell a silver cup in the hope he would be a “good lord to my wife and children.” As her jointure, Margaret had Carhampton, Quantoxhead, Rodhuish, Eveton, Vexford, and the priory of Dunster. When her grandson, George Luttrell (September 1560-1629) was betrothed at fifteen to his guardian’s daughter, Joan Stukeley, Margaret called the girl “a slut and [of] no good qualities” and threatened to prevent George from succeeding to Dunster priory. Margaret’s will was dated March 9, 1580. She left her daughter, Margaret Edgecumbe, her best and largest carpet and left bedding to her daughter-in-law, Mary Luttrell (née Griffith). Her grandson married Joan Stukeley on September 25, 1580. Portrait: 1562, unknown artist (at Dunster Castle, Somerset).




DOROTHY WYNTER (1512-c.1553)
Dorothy Wynter was the natural daughter of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1471-1530) by his mistress, Joan Larke (d.1529+). Born at Michaelmas 1512, she was adopted by John Clansey or Clasey. She entered the nunnery at Shaftesbury, Dorset as a young girl. Under the name Dorothy Clansey, she was one of the fifty-five nuns pensioned off when Shaftesbury was dissolved in 1539.

Julian (or Juliana) Wynter, Joan Wynter, and Elizabeth Wynter were nuns at Littlemore Priory in Oxfordshire. In the Visitation of 1517, it was revealed that Julian had been sneaking into nearby Oxford to meet a married lover, John Wikisley, and had given birth to his child in about 1516. Together with Joan, Elizabeth, and Anna Willye, Julian had also fled from Littlemore and stayed away for two or three weeks to protest the actions of the prioress, Katherine Wells, who was notorious for her harsh punishment of the nuns in her charge. The only other nun at Littlemore in 1517 was Juliana Bechampe (Beauchamp?). The Wynter/Winter family was prominent in neighboring Worcestershire and the three Wynter women who were nuns were undoubtedly related to the Wynters of Wyche and Huddington Court. Littlemore Priory was dissolved in February 1525.