Friday, 24 October 2014

Anne Stanhope and Catherine Grey

Anne Seymour, nee Stanhope, (1510-87) had inherited Hanworth Palace in Middlesex from her husband Edward Seymour (1500-52) after his death. Hanworth had originally belonged to King Henry VIII's last queen, Katherine Parr and after her death had passed to her last husband Thomas Seymour, and when he was executed it fell into the hands of his brother Edward.
It was at Hanworth Palace in 1553 that a romance began between Anne Seymour's eldest son Edward and Lady Catherine Grey.
Jane Seymour, the eldest daughter of Anne Seymour became close friends with Catherine Grey; a friendship which Catherine's cousin Queen Mary I encouraged. Jane Seymour constantly suffered with illnesses throughout her life. Anne Seymour was living at Hanworth with her second husband, Francis Newdigate, and her children at this time, and Catherine would frequently go and visit Jane at Hanworth.
It was during one of these visits to Jane at Hanworth in the summer of 1558 that Catherine spent time with Anne's elder brother Edward. The young couple had a surprising amount of things in common with each other; both of their father's had been executed for treason, both were reported to have been quite attractive and both were still without a sure footing in the world due to their lack of marriage proposals.
The relationship between Catherine and Edward must have been clear to see by those at Hanworth as his mother Anne began to ask him about his intentions towards Catherine. He told her that he enjoyed visiting with Catherine, and that his mother should not worry about Queen Mary giving permission for the pair to marry as the fact that the queen had sent Catherine to live at Hanworth, and therefore her feelings on the matter were clear in that she supported it. However, the fact that Queen Mary approved of the couple's relationship no longer mattered as Mary died in November 1558. Elizabeth Tudor was now queen and her bad relationship with Catherine was well-known.
The couple still continued their romance, with the gentle encouragement of Jane Seymour, and in December 1560 they finally married. The marriage took place in secret, with Edward's sister Jane as their only witness. In July 1561 the couple were discovered as Catherine would hide her pregnancy no longer, and both were sent to the Tower. It was impossible for Catherine to prove that her marriage to Edward had been legal as their witness Jane had died of tuberculosis in March 1561. 
After Catherine and Edward were imprisoned in the Tower, Anne wrote the following letter to William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's right hand man.

22 August 1561. Anne, Duchess of Somerset, to William Cecil.

good master secretary heryng a great brute that my lady kateryne gray yt in the tower and allso that she shold say she it maryed allredy to my sonne I coulld not chouse but troble yo in my adres and sorow therof and allthough I myght upon my sonne ernest and often protestying unto me the contrary desyre yo to be an humble sutor on my behalf her talet myght not be redyted before my sonne dyd answer yet in stede therof my fyrst and theyf sute yt that the quenes maty wyll thynke and juge of me in thys matter accordyng to my desere and menyng and of my sonne have so moch forgotten her highnes rallying hym to honor and so moch ovor thatte hys bounden dutye and so serve abused + her maty beuyguytey yet never was his mother prevy or consentyng ther unto. I wyll not fyll my letter how moch I have skooled and persuadded hym to the contrary nor yet wyll desyer that yowth and feare maye help expense or lessen hys faute but only that her highnes wyll have that opynyon of me as of one that nether for chyld nor frend shall wyllyngly neglect the dutye of a faythfull subject and to conserve my credyte in her maty good master secretary stand now my frynd that the wylfulnes of myne unruly chylde do not mynysg her maty favor towardes me and thus so parplexyd in this dyscomfortable rumor I end not knowyng how to procede nor what to do therin and therfor good master secretary let me understand somme comfort of my gryef from the quenes maty and some consell from yor selfe and so do love yo to god
your asuryd frynd to my powre,
Anne Somerset

Edward was only released from the Tower after Catherine had died; in 1568 he was sent, with his eldest son, to live with his mother Anne. Anne Seymour supported John Hales' 'Discourse on the succession', which was written in favour of Catherine Grey's claim to be Queen Elizabeth's heir. Although this was not successful, the support that she gave to it demonstrates at least a level of support and affection for her daughter-in-law. Although, another reason for her support may have been that she thought it would advance the suit of her grandsons and their claim to the throne of England.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Farriner family of the Great Fire

It was in the Farriner's bakery on Pudding Lane that on the morning of the 2nd September 1666 that the Great Fire of London began. Farriner was appointed Conduct of the King's Bakehouse and was the provider of bread for the Royal Navy during the Anglo-Dutch war that was being fought at the time.

Marriage record of Thomas Farriner and Hanna Matthews, 1637

The baker, Thomas Farriner, a widower, lived there with  his three children; Thomas (d.1677), Hanna (1643-71) and Mary. Thomas (1615-70) had married on the 9th July 1637 to Hanna Matthews, who had died the year before in 1665.
During the fire, although Thomas and his three children escaped from the house that was then alight, their housemaid was too afraid and perished in the flames. After the Great Fire, Thomas Farriner rebuilt his house and bakery, and returned to work as a respected baker. Thomas Farriner, his son Thomas and daughter Hanna were signatories on the Bill against Robert Hubert, the man accused of starting the Great Fire in their bakery. Hubert was hanged at Tyburn on 27th October 1666 for his crime of arson.
When Thomas Farriner died on the 20th December 1670, he left one hundred pounds to be paid over four years to each of his daughters, and with exception of a few small bequests, the remainder of his estate was left to his son and heir Thomas.

Hanna married on the 18th July 1667 to Nicholas Day (d.1695), a baker. The couple had the following children;
+ Thomas Day (1668-9)
+ Hanna Day (b.1670)
+ Thomas Day (b.1671)
Hanna died shortly after giving birth to her third child on the 13th August 1671. Nicholas Day later remarried.

Marriage record of Thomas Farriner and Martha Towse, 1671

Thomas Farriner, the younger, married Martha Towse on the 30th November 1671.
It appears that Thomas and Martha had no surviving children at the time of Thomas' death in December 1677.
Thomas had been an apprentice baker to his father, and later inherited the bakery to run himself. In his Will of 1677 Thomas left his baking and residential premises to firstly his wife Martha, and after her death they were to pass to his sister Mary Halford. As well as this, he left Mary one hundred pounds which was owed to him from the Marquis of Dorset, and also five pounds for Mary and her husband Thomas to buy mourning clothing.
It would appear that there was a disagreement over the Will of Thomas Farriner, as in 1677 Martha, now a widow, took Mary and Thomas Halford to the Chancery Court.

Mary Farriner also married a baker, Thomas Halford (d.1705) early in 1666 and was therefore not living with her father at the time of the Great Fire.
Mary and Thomas had the following children;
+ Thomas Halford (b.1672)
+ Hanna Halford (b.1673) m. John Willett (a baker)
                                           + Hanna Willett
                                           + Mary Willett m. Walter Reily
                                           + Martha Willett
+ John Halford (1676-81)
+ Martha Halford (1678-1682)
+ Thomas Halford (b&d.1681)
+ Thomas Halford (b.1683)

Mary died before 1695, and her husband Thomas remarried.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Queen Elizabeth's two Blanches

Blanche Parry (1508-90) was the daughter of Harry Myles, Sheriff of Herefordshire, and his wife Alice Milborne (b.1475). The family were a Welsh speaking household, as Harry Myles was a Welshman, and Blanche is sometime recorded by her Welsh name; Blanche ap Harry.

Tomb of Blanche Parry (left) kneeling to Queen Elizabeth I
The children of Harry and Alice were;
+ Blanche
+ Symond - never married but had four illegitimate children; Myles, John, Elizabeth and Jane (who                         married Griffith Jones).
+ Myles m. Elinor Scudamore
               + Joan m. Watkyn Vaughan
                            + Rowland Vaughan (1559-1629)
               + Elizabeth m. Rowland Vaughan
+ Elizabeth m. Thomas Vaughan
+ Olive m. William Cecil (d.1598)
+ Sybell
+ John

Blanche Parry aided her relatives with positions at court; her great-nephew Rowland Vaughan (b.1559) spent time at the royal court in the 1590's. Blanche's sister Olive married a member of the Cecil family, a connection acknowledged by William Cecil, Lord Burghley, as he often referred to Blanche Parry as 'cousin'.

Alice Milborne was the eighth of thirteen daughters, and heiresses, to Simon Milborne (1435-1522) and his wife Jane Baskerville (b.1451) of Herefordshire. On both her paternal and maternal lines of descent, Alice Milborne was able to trace her family back to knights who had come over with William the Conqueror from Normandy.
Simon and Jane's children included;
+ Alice m. Harry Myles m2. Thomas Baskerville
+ Blanche m1. James Whitney m2. Sir William Herbert
                  + Robert                    + Charles
                  + James                     + Thomas m. Anne Lucy
                  + Watkin
                  + Elizabeth m. Mr Morgan
+ Anne (b.1465) m. William Rudhall
+ Catherine (b.1466) m. Thomas Barton
                                   + Griffin Barton
+ Joyce (b.1467) m. Thomas Hyett
                             + James Hyett
+ Sybil (1468-1537) m1. Richard Hackluyt m2. John Breynton
+ Margaret (1480-1522) m. John Bishop
                                         + Anthony Bishop
+ Juliana (b.1485)
+ Eleanor (1493-1530) m. John Moore
+ Agnes (b.1480) m. Thomas Walwyn
+ Joan (b.1484)
+ Jane (1498-1535) m. Richard Cornwall
+ Elizabeth (1470-1514) m1. Thomas Mornington m2. John Whittington
+ Henry (1482-1520)

As Simon's only son Henry had predeceased him two years earlier, his fortune was inherited equally between his thirteen daughters, and if they had died, their portion would pass to their oldest living child; as seen in the case of his daughters Catherine, Joyce and Margaret.

It was Simon's daughter Blanche Milborne, Lady Troy who brought her niece, and goddaughter, Blanche Parry to the royal court. Blanche Milborne was a close friend of Queen Anne Boleyn through Elizabeth Somerset, Countess of Worcester. In 1533 she recommended a Welshwoman, Mrs Pendred, as wet nurse for Queen Anne to employ for Princess Elizabeth, a decision which was later overruled by King Henry VIII. Therefore, it follows that Blanche would be involved in the Tudor princess' life. Due to her position as Mistress of the Household for all three children of King Henry VIII, her niece Blanche Parry knew Princess Elizabeth from the time she was a baby, and would continue to serve her loyally throughout her life until her own death in 1590. Blanche Herbert finished her term as Lady Mistress of the royal children's household in 1545, and from a letter written by Roger Tyrwhitt it can be surmised that Blanche Herbert had trained her niece Blanche Parry to be her successor, however the position was instead given to Kat Ashley. Despite her retirement, Blanche Herbert was paid a pension by Princess Elizabeth as late as 1552; she received 70 shillings twice a year, which was half the amount of her wage when she was employed.
Blanche Milborne's daughter Elizabeth Whitney married a Mr Morgan, and the couple were the parents of Anne Morgan. Anne Morgan married the queen's cousin Henry Carey; a prestigious marriage.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Thomas More's adopted daughter

Margaret 'Mercy' Giggs (1508-70) was born the daughter of Thomas Giggs, from Burnham in Norfolk and his wife Olive (Alice) Hoo. Thomas Giggs was the servant of a London Merchant who, with his wife, lived on the same road as Thomas More and his wife Joanna Colt in Cheapside, London. Due to Olive giving birth to her daughter Margaret Giggs so soon before the birth of Margaret 'Meg' More, Olive became wet nurse to the More's new baby. Shortly after Margaret More had reached the age of no longer needing a wet nurse, in 1510, Olive Giggs died. Her father Thomas Giggs, due to his employment, was often away from home travelling abroad. Therefore it was decided that the young Margaret would be taken in by the More family and raised by them as their adoptive child. However, there were no official documents making Margaret a legal child or a Ward of the Mores.

Margaret Giggs was 'as dear as though she were a daughter' to Thomas More, who raised her with his children as own of his own. Due to them being the same age, and Olive Giggs having cared for both girls as babies, Margaret Giggs and Margaret More became the closest of friends. She was called Margaret More's 'cognata'; meaning sharing a relationship by birth. Margaret Giggs was present at the execution of Thomas More, and along with her sister Margaret Roper she buried him in the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. Margaret kept the blood-stained shirt that Thomas More had died in, giving a portion of it to Margaret Roper's maid Dorothy Harris, nee Colley.

Margaret was particularly skilled at Mathematics, and in Thomas More's last letter to her he enclosed her algorism stone which he had taken with him to the Tower. Like her husband, Margaret was also highly skilled in medical lore, which she had received lessons in; when Thomas More was sick with tertian fever and his doctors had given him up for dead, Margaret managed to cure him.

Evidence of Margaret's care and medical knowledge can be seen in an event which occurred as a consequence of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. In order to suppress the London Carthusians as part of the wider suppression of all monasteries in England at that time, two of its members, John Rochester and James Waiworth, had already been executed and in May 1537 ten more of its members were imprisoned in Newgate prison. None of these ten men had been involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace, and they were never tried, but left in the prison to starve to death. The ten comprised of three priests - Richard Bere, Thomas Johnson, Thomas Green - and one deacon named John Davy, as well as six laybrothers; William Greenwood, Thomas Scryven, Robert Salt, Walter Pierson, Thomas Redyng and William Horn. The men had been chained to tightly that they could not move to feed themselves or help themselves in any way. Margaret heard about the conditions that her fellow Catholics were being kept it, and after bribing the gaoler, she disguised herself as a milkmaid and went to attend upon the imprisoned men. The milk pail she carried with her was filled with food which she fed the men with her own hands. As a result of her care, the men were not dying as quickly as the authorities thought they would and an investigation was made. It appears that it was discovered that Margaret, or at least a woman, was visiting them and helping them to survive. Margaret was forced to stop her visits, however she made one final attempt to help them by trying to enter their cell from the roof, but this was proved useless. Between June and September nine of the Carthusians had died from starvation. The tenth survivor was the laybrother William Horn, who lived until 1540 at which time he was tried, sentenced to death and hanged at Tyburn.

Margaret married Dr John Clement (1500-72), who had previously been tutor to the children of Thomas More from 1515-8. Clement was a Doctor of Medicine as well as a skilled scholar of Greek and Latin. He had travelled with Thomas More on his embassy in 1515 to Bruges and Antwerp. In the 1520's he changed his career path and went to Italy to study medicine, on his way there visiting Belgium and meeting Erasmus. He graduated from the University of Siena with his medical degree in 1525. In his role as doctor he attended to Cardinal Wolsey in 1529, and later to Bishop Fisher in 1535. Some theorists suggest that due to John Clement's unknown origins and a number of hints left in paintings and letters, he is in fact living under an assumed name and in truth is Prince Richard, Duke of York, one of the Princes in the Tower.

Margaret and John married about 1526, about the time that Clement joined the royal household as a physician to the king. After their marriage they went to live at The Barge, which was leased in the names of Thomas More and his wife Alice. The Clements remained at that address even after 1542 when Thomas More's property was confiscated. In 1544 John became President of the College of Physicians.
Following the example of her own childhood, Margaret ensured that all of her children were educated; in particular they were taught Latin and Greek.
The children of Margaret and John were;
+ Thomas
Thomas attended Louvain University in 1547 for his Bachelors, then again in 1563 for his Masters degree.
+ Margaret (1539-1612)
Margaret joined St Ursula's convent in Louvain in 1557 and became Prioress after only being there a short while, and remained so for over forty years until her retirement in 1605 due to blindness.
+ Dorothy (b.1532)
Dorothy was a Poor Clare in Louvain.
+ Bridget m. Robert Redman
Bridget's son John Redman was a Catholic priest who was involved with the printing of Richard Smith's books.
+ Helen m. Thomas Prideaux
+ Winifred (1527-53) m.1544 William Rastell (1508-65)
William Rastell had been a printer, but had given this up and trained to be a lawyer at Lincoln's Inn, taking the bar in 1539. Rastell was Thomas More's nephew, being the son of his sister Elizabeth More, and he printed More's written works, and those of his family.
+ Caeser
Caeser became Dean of St Gudula's in Brussels.

As a well known Catholic family, the Mores and Clements were targets of persecution during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I. At the same time as his father-in-law Thomas More's imprisonment in the Tower, John was imprisoned in The Fleet, for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy.
The Clement family left England in 1549 as Catholic exiles and did not return until 1554, after Mary Tudor became Queen. John left in July 1549, with Margaret and the children following in October. Winifred and her husband William followed in December. The family settled in Louvain. When news of their departure reached the court, their home The Barge was confiscated by the king. The loss of their house also meant the loss of John's extensive library containing 180 books. Winifred died of a fever in July 1553 just four days after the death of King Edward VI, so William returned to England alone as the couple had no children together. William became a judge of the Queen's Bench in 1558. The Clements left England again in 1562 due to further restrictions on Catholic worship, and settled in Louvain. In 1568 they moved from Louvain to Mechlin. John, his son Thomas and William Rastell matriculated at Louvain University in 1563. William Rastell died in Louvain in 1565, and was buried in the same chapel as his wife.

Margaret Clement died on the 6th July 1570, on the thirty fifth anniversary of the execution of her adoptive father Thomas More, in Mechlin. Her husband John died two years later and the couple were buried behind the altar in St Rumbold's Church.

The circumstances of Margaret Giggs' death, as recorded by her daughter Margaret;
But the time had now come that God had appointed to reward her for her good works done to the Fathers of the Charterhouse. He visited her with an ague which held her nine or ten days, and having brought her very low and in danger, she received all the sacraments with great devotion, and being desirous to give her blessing to all her children who were all present except her Religious daughters and one more that remained at Bruges with her husband, she caused her to be sent for in all haste. Wednesday being now come, which was the last day before she died, and asking if her daughter were come, and being told no, but that they looked for her every hour, she made answer that she would stay no longer for her, and calling her husband she told him that the time of her departing was now come, and she might stay no longer, for there were standing about her bed the Reverend Fathers, Monks of Charterhouse, whom she had relieved in prison in England and did call upon her to come away with them, and that therefore she could stay no longer, because they did expect her, which seemed strange talk unto him. Doubting that she might speak idly by reason of her sickness, he called unto her ghostly Father, a Reverend Father of the Franciscans living in Mechlin, to examine and talk with her, to whom she constantly made answer that she was in no way beside herself, but declared that she still had the sight of the Charterhouse monks before her, standing about her bedside and inviting her to come away with them, as she had told her husband. At the which they were all astonished. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Margaret Roper's legacy

Margaret More (1505-44) was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) and his first wife Joanna Colt (1488-1511). Thomas More was a Humanist who believed in giving his children the best education he possibly could, educating girls the same as boys; a revolutionary idea for its time. Thomas More's children were taught, by himself as well as by tutors; Latin, Greek, Theology, Philosophy, Mathematics and Astronomy.

Thomas More
Margaret More was the first non-royal woman in England to have her work published; in October 1524 her translation from Latin of Erasmus' 'A devout treatise upon the paternoster' was published. The education of all of Thomas More's children was well known by the leading minds of the time, such as Juan Luis Vives, who had been the tutor to Princess Mary Tudor. Margaret More became a figure for admiration as she combined education with the tradition position of women as a wife and mother; Erasmus dedicated his commentary on 'Christmas Hymn' by Prudentius to Margaret in 1523 upon the birth of her first child; "will give the offspring of your marriage a happy outcome and be the true Apollo of all your reading, whose praises you will be able to sing to your lyre instead of nursery rhymes to please your little ones".

Margaret Roper, nee More
Margaret More married on the 2nd July 1521 to William Roper (1498-1578), and as Thomas More could not afford the £200 dower for Margaret, it was agreed that the couple would reside for free at Thomas More's house for five years and that the dowry would be paid at a later date.
William Roper wrote an extensive biography of his beloved father-in-law, Thomas More, however it was not published until 1626.
Margaret followed her father's example and educated her children to the highest standards she could, teaching them the classical languages of Latin and Greek. Margaret asked the scholar Roger Ascham to join her household as tutor to her children, however he could not be induced to leave his post at Cambridge University.

William Roper
The children of Margaret and William Roper were;
+ Elizabeth (1523-60) m1. John Stephenson
                                    m2. Edward Bray
                                      + Reginald m. Elizabeth Covert

+ Margaret (1526-78) m. William Dawtrey (d.1591)
                                     + William (1548-89) m. Dorothy Stoneley
                                     + John
                                     + Anthony
                                     + Jane m. Mr Parker
Margaret's son William became a lawyer and worked in the chambers of his grandfather William Roper, with his uncles Thomas and Anthony Roper.

+ Mary (1530-72) m1. Stephen Clarke (d.1554)
                              m2. James Bassett (1526-58)
                                + Philip (b.1557) m. Miss Verney
                                + Charles (1559-84)
It would appear that of all her children, it was Mary who inherited her mother Margaret's love and skill for education and translation. Mary served as a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to Queen Mary I. Mary spoke Latin and Greek expertly; she translated the entirety of Eusebius' 'Ecclesiastical History' from Greek, which she dedicated to Queen Mary. In 1557 Mary's brother-in-law published 'The Workes of Thomas More' which included Mary's translation of her grandfather's final work 'Of the sorrowe of Christ before hys taking' which he wrote while imprisoned in the Tower. In 1554 the scholar Roger Ascham wrote to Mary offering his services as tutor to Mary, possibly as a way to make amends for his refusal years earlier to her mother Margaret. At that time Mary was being taught by two tutors; Henry Cole and John Christopherson (d.1558), who had been her childhood tutors and were still with her. John Morwen had been the Roper children's Greek tutor, but had left the household by 1554.
Mary's eldest son was named after King Philip who also stood as the baby's godfather and gave a gift at the christening. Philip Basset became a lawyer of Lincoln's Inn, like his grandfather, uncles and cousin. Charles was born after his father's death. He inherited the passion for his Catholic faith that his grandfather Thomas More had felt, and became a Jesuit.

+ Thomas (1533-98) m. Lucy Browne (d.1606)
                                   + William (1555-1628) m. Catherine Browne
                                   + Anthony
                                   + Henry
                                   + Francis
                                   + Charles
                                   + Thomas
                                   + Philip
                                   + Mary
                                   + Frances
                                   + Elizabeth m. Thomas Hadd
                                   + Martha m. Thomas Watton
                                   + Catherine m. Edward Bently
                                   + Mabel
                                   + Lucy
Thomas attended firstly Louvain University in 1547, then like his father William before him, Thomas was educated in law at Lincoln's Inn in 1552 and went on to become MP for New Shoreham (1553) and Newport (1558). As his father had been, Thomas became Chief Clerk of the King's Bench. Thomas' eldest son William was knighted in 1603.

+ Anthony (1544-97) m. Anne Cotton (d.1607)
                                    + Anthony
                                    + John
                                    + Henry (b.1577) m. Philippa Zouch
                                    + Isabel (d.1622) m. Thomas Wiseman
                                    + Jane
Like his father and elder brother, Anthony became a lawyer at Lincoln's Inn in 1565, and was a founder of The Roper Charity. Anthony's son Henry attended Cambridge University in 1595.

The legacy which Thomas More had begun with his own children, had been nurtured and continued by his beloved eldest daughter Margaret, who ensured the education of her own children, and in turn also her grandchildren.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Agnes ap Rhys, the rebel's daughter

Agnes Rice (ap Rhys) (1522-74) was the daughter of Catherine Howard (1508-54) and Rhys ap Gruffydd (1508-31), a Welsh landowner who was executed for treason as it was believed he was plotting with the Scottish king against King Henry VIII. Due to her father's death, and the confiscation of his estates by the crown, Agnes was sent to live in the household of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. As Agnes' mother, Catherine, had been the daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk.

In the 1540's Agnes became the mistress of William Stourton, Baron Stourton.

William Stourton, Baron Stourton (1505-48) and his wife Elizabeth Dudley (1488-1560), had nine children together;
+ Charles Stourton (1521-57) m. Anne Stanley
+ Ursula Stourton (1518-51) m. Edward Clinton
+ Arthur Stourton (1524-58) m. Anne McWilliams
+ William Stourton (1526-81) m1. Thomasine FitzJames m2. Mary Wogan
+ Andrew Stourton
+ Dorothy Stourton m. Richard Brent
+ John Stourton (1531-81)
+ George Stourton (b.1527)
+ Giles Stourton (b.1529) m. Joan Gifford

William Stourton left his wife and children, and moved Agnes in with him where she lived as his wife. Agnes later claimed in 1553 that they had indeed been married in 1547 in the chapel at Stourton House, however William's wife Elizabeth was still living at this time.

Agnes and William had a daughter together; Mary Stourton (1547-1620), who married Richard Gore (1543-83) on the 13th July 1565. At the time of her marriage Mary was given the manor of Aldrington and half of the manor of Yetton Keynel. They sold their share of Yetton Keynel Manor in 1577.
Mary and Richard had six children together;
+ Edward (1565-1622) m. Elizabeth Jennings (d.1627)
+ Mary (b.1570)
+ Susannah (b.1582) m. Robert Edwards
+ Agnes
+ Elizabeth
+ Walter

Upon William's death in 1548, his Will left nearly everything he owned to Agnes, and with the exception of his heir, his eldest son Charles, his wife and children were left nothing. Agnes took all jewels and money and moved back to Stourton House, refusing to be evicted by Charles; she had the servants take up arms in defense of the estate and locked all gates. Charles was not able to evict her from the property until 1550, and even then he was not able to regain the jewels and money she had taken. Charles attempted to act against the wishes of his father's Will, and Agnes sued him through the courts. The settlement of the estate of William Stourton was not settled until 1557, after the death of Charles.

After William Stourton's death, Agnes married, or remarried if her claims of being married to Stourton are to be believed, to Edward Bayntun (1517-93). The couple had thirteen children together, including;
+ William (d.1564)
+ Henry (1571-1616)
+ Anne (d.1587)
+ Margaret
+ Elizabeth
+ Catherine (d.1582)

The couple lived at The Ivy, a large house at the Manor of Rowden in Chippenham which Edward had inherited from his father. Agnes and Edward continued to live there until 1564 when Edward's elder brother died and he inherited the entirety of the Manor of Rowden, and so moved their family into Bromham House. Edward was highly involved with local government, being MP for several areas - Wiltshire County, Devizes, Caine and Chippenham Borough - as well as High Sheriff of Wiltshire (1570) and Justice of the Peace. Edward was knighted in 1574.

The Ivy

In 1564 the eldest son of Agnes and Edward, William, died as an infant. The sudden nature of his death led to the accusation that witchcraft had been behind his demise. Dorothy Mantell, the wife of Edward's younger brother Henry Bayntun was accused of employing Agnes Mills to bewitch the child, hoping to kill him. Dorothy's motives were that if William died, then her husband Henry would become Edward's heir and inherit the family estate. A witness to the crime was one Jane Marshe, who gave evidence against Dorothy. However she then changed her testimony and said that Edward and Agnes had bribed her into incriminating Dorothy. Agnes Mills was hanged for witchcraft, but Dorothy went unpunished for her part.

Agnes Bayntun died on the 19th August 1574, and was buried in St Nicholas Church in Bromham, where she was later joined by her husband Edward. At the time of her death, only five of her children by Edward were still alive, as well as her elder daughter Mary Stourton. Edward married for a second time to Anne Packington, with whom he had one son, before himself dying in 1593.

Brass on Bayntun tomb, St Nicholas; Edward, son Henry, Agnes, daughter Anne, missing brass of daughter Elizabeth, and second wife Anne.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Anne of Cleves' royal baby

King Henry VIII's fourth marriage to Anne of Cleves was a short lived disaster, yet after the marriage was annulled the king and his now 'sister', as Anne was to be known, the two shared a warm friendship. Anne was often at the royal court and maintained strong relationships with the king's daughters Mary and Elizabeth.

Anne of Cleves

In late 1541 rumours reached the royal court that Anne of Cleves had given birth to a baby boy, said to be the son of the king. It was reported that Anne had not informed the king or his council of her pregnancy and this was why the king himself had not announced it. The frequent visits between the king and Anne gave plausibility to the story, as well as the fact that Anne had recently been ill and kept to her bed, and therefore to discover the truth of the matter the king immediately sent envoys to Anne's estate at Hever.

The inquirers managed to trace the rumour back through only six people until they reached the source.
"We examined also, partly before dinner, and partly after, a new matter, being a report that the lady Anne of Cleves should be delivered of a fair boy; and whose should it be but the king's majesty's! which is a most abominable slander, and for this time necessary to be met withal. This matter was told to [Richard] Taverner, of the signet, more than a fortnight ago, by both his mother-in-law (Lambert's wife, the goldsmith) and by Taverner's own wife, who saith she heard it of Lilgrave's wife; and Lambert's wife heard it also of the old lady Carew. Taverner kept it, [concealed it], but they [the women] with others have made it common matter of talk. Taverner never revealed it till Sunday night, at which time he told it to Dr Cox, to be further declared if he thought good, who immediately disclosed it to me the lord privy-seal. We have committed Taverner to the custody of me the bishop of Winchester; likewise Lambert's wife (who seemeth to have been a dunce in it) to Mr the chancellor of the Augmentations." - Minutes of the Privy Council.

The members of Anne's household were subjected to strict interview by the council, and it was not until the end of December 1541 that the council were able to put an end to the matter.
The source of the rumour was found to be Frances Lilgrave, a widow, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London for her slanderous words. Richard Taverner was also imprisoned for the fact that he concealed her treason.
Frances Lilgrave was from an embroiderer family who were employed by the royal family; her husband having been an embroiderer to Anne Boleyn during her tenure as queen.
Richard Taverner (1505-75) was a translator of the Bible from Greek, having published 'Taverner's Bible' in 1539, and was under the patronage of Thomas Cromwell. He was not imprisoned in the Tower for long, and was soon returned to royal favour. His wife that was mentioned in the council minutes was his first wife Margaret Lambert (d.1563), whom he married in 1537 and had seven children by.

The circumstances surrounding Anne of Cleves at the time of this rumour only served to add plausibility to it. King Henry had two living wives, and his most recent bride Katherine Howard was under investigation for having been unfaithful to the king during their marriage. Historian Antonia Fraser mentions that her appearance also would have changed since her arrival in England, and especially as she enjoyed the English food and wine, and her weight gain may have only served to fuel the rumour mill.