The Ladies Who Served: Mary Tudor, Queen of England (Part 2)

Mary Tudor had many women and girls who served her over her four decades of life. There were the ladies who served in her household when she was a princess and then those who served her as queen of England. All of them played very important roles to ensure everything ran smoothly within her household

This is the second part of the two-part series of “The Ladies Who Served: Mary Tudor, Queen of England”. If you missed part one you can find it *here*.

As always, I must give the credit for this list of ladies to Kathy Lynn Emerson of “The Who’s Who of Tudor Women”, because without her website I would never have been able to discover these ladies. Her website is alphebetized and I had to search throughout the pages to find women who served Mary. Thank you Ms. Emerson for your hard work researching the hundreds of names and stories of these amazing ladies who left a little mark on history.



The Ladies Who Served: Mary Tudor, Queen of England

ELIZABETH JERNINGHAM

Elizabeth Jerningham was the daughter of Sir Edward Jerningham or Jernegan and his second wife, Mary Scrope.  She was a waiting gentlewoman to Anne Stanhope, Lady Beauchamp until January, 1537, when she became a maid of honor to Anne’s sister-in-law, Queen Jane Seymour. Later she was a maid of honor to Queen Mary. She was following family tradition. Her mother, first as Lady Jerningham and then as Lady Kingston, had been in the queen’s household since the beginning of Henry the Eighth’s reign.

JANE THE FOOL

Jane the Fool was as much a fixture at the Tudor court as Henry VIII’s fool, Will Somers. John Southworth, in Fools and Jesters at the English Court offers evidence that she was there as early as 1537 and may have been there earlier, as the female fool in Queen Anne Boleyn’s household. She was the type of fool known as an “innocent”—probably mentally retarded and possibly suffering from physical disabilities. She had a “keeper” assigned to her. According to records cited in Carolly Erickson’s Bloody Mary, Jane wore beautiful gowns but the hose and shoes of a clown and she had her head shaved regularly at fourpence per barbering. In December 1537 she was in Princess Mary’s household. She was ill in the autumn of 1543 and cost Mary 22s 6d. and another 5s for six ells of cloth to make a pair of sheets for her. It is possible that soon after that she became part of the household of Queen Kathryn Parr, but she was with Mary Tudor after Mary became queen in 1553. Jane the Fool survived into the reign of Elizabeth but then disappears from the records. Biographies: see the chapter on Jane in Southworth’s book. Portraits: Again, following Southworth, Jane is probably the figure on one side of the portrait of Henry VIII and his family at Hampton Court. This makes sense, since the figure on the opposite side is Will Somers. Others argue that the woman is “Mother Jak,” Prince Edward’s nurse, but Mother Jak herself is the object a good deal of confusion. The Holbein sketch labeled “Mother Jak” is actually Margaret Gigs, Sir Thomas More’s foster daughter. Nineteenth-century historian Agnes Stickland suggested that Jak was short for Jackson, but offered no proof. Another unsubstantiated story I’ve seen online is that “Mother Jak” haunts Hampton Court. In reality, the most likely “Mother Jak” was an anonymous wet-nurse hired to take care of Prince Edward. She was replaced, when her services were no longer needed to feed the infant prince, by Sybil Hampden, Mrs. Penne, the gentlewoman who was Edward’s chief nurse (a “dry” nurse) from October 1538 to 1544.

ELIZABETH JERNINGHAM

Elizabeth Jerningham was the daughter of John Jerningham and Agnes Darrell. She married John Denton about whom nothing is known, before October 31, 1473, the date of her father’s will, in which he names her the default heir to his manor of Little Worlingham. She is to inherit a life interest in this property after the death of her brother Osberne. Upon her death, the manor was to go to her son, Walter Denton, but he appears to have predeceased her.

In 1496, she entered the household of Henry VII’s children as mistress of the nursery to Prince Henry. She went on to become Princess Mary’s governess and is probably the Mistress Denton who accompanied Princess Margaret to Scotland as well as the wardrobe keeper and lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth of York. She was paid £20 on June 23, 1503 ”for the queen’s debts.” Giles Tremlett (Catherine of Aragon) identifies her as Lady Governess to Catherine of Aragon’s first, short-lived child in 1511 and David Loades identifies Elizabeth Denton as the first Lady Mistress of the nursery to Henry VIII’s daughter, another Princess Mary, in 1516.

In May 1515 she was granted an annuity of £50 per annum “for service to the late king and queen.” By November 1517, Margaret Bryan was in charge of Mary Tudor’s nursery. In 1518, Elizabeth Denton erected a tomb to herself in Blackfriars. She lived in some comfort in the Blackfriars Precinct until her death. She had a messuage, tenement and garden with a way to the waterside between the garden of Lady Peacock on the west and the garden of Richard Tryce on the east, and also two chambers and a cellar under the under-library adjacent to the hill garden.

Philippa Jones’s The Other Tudors: Henry VIII’s Mistresses and Bastards makes the extraordinary claim that Elizabeth Denton was King Henry’s first lover and even suggests that his grandmother, Margaret Beaufort, selected her for him.

Elizabeth Denton left a will dated April 26, 1518. Among other legacies, she left thirty shillings to the prior and chapter of Blackfriars.

FRIDESWIDE KNIGHT

Frideswide Knight was the daughter of John Knight. She was a member of Katherine of Aragon’s household and a member of Mary Tudor’s household in 1533 and again from 1536-1558.

Knight was a chamberer in 1533 and 1536 and a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber from 1553. She married a gentleman of Mary’s household, Robert Strelley, in 1548. She received several grants for her service, including the former chantry windmill at Great Bowden, Leicestershire in 1548,  Ulverscroft Priory from Queen Mary, and a property called Oxehedd.

Frideswide and her husband received the latter from Edward VI in return for surrendering a £10 annuity. She did not have any children. The heirs to various properties were her nephew, John Wilson, and her husband’s “nephew and heir” William Saville. Frideswide Strelley was the only one of Queen Mary’s ladies who would not pretend that the queen was pregnant after it became obvious that she was not.

ISABEL LEGH

Isabel Legh, sometimes called Isabel Howard, was the daughter of Ralph Legh and Joyce Culpepper and thus a half-sister of Queen Catherine Howard. The History of Parliament identifies her as the daughter of Sir John Legh of Stockwell, Surrey, Ralph’s brother.

She married Edward Baynton of Bromham, Wiltshire on January 18, 1531 and had by him three children, Henry, Francis and Anne. Baynton was vice-chamberlain to several of Henry VIII’s queens.

The History of Parliament suggests she served Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour. In addition, Sir Edward’s entry says that by March 14, 1539, the Bayntons had replaced Lady Kingston in supervising the joint household of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Isabel was at court during the tenure of her half-sister.

When Queen Catherine was sent to Syon House in the autumn of 1541, she was allowed to choose her own female attendants, on the condition that Isabel was one of them. Isabel also accompanied Catherine to the Tower.

She was later a lady of the household extraordinary to Kathryn Parr. According to Charlotte Merton in The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, she was also part of Queen Mary’s household in 1554-7.

After Baynton’s death and that of Isabel’s stepdaughter, Bridget, in 1545, Isabel married Bridget’s widower, Sir James Stumpe of Malmesbury and Bromham, Wiltshire. She brought Edington, Wiltshire to her second marriage, along with the household stuff at Edington, 1000 sheep, and all Baynton’s plate, jewels, corn, and cattle. Stumpe had to deal with lawsuits over this inheritance.



In 1550, Isabel was granted the site and demesnes of Edington Abbey for a term of forty-one years. He made his will on April 28, 1563, naming Isabel his executor and leaving her, in addition to rents totaling £100 for her jointure, an interest in Bromham, Wiltshire and Edington. Before September 30, 1572, Isabel married Thomas Stafford of Bromham, Wiltshire.

CATHERINE LUTTRELL

Catherine Luttrell was the daughter of Sir John Luttrell and Mary Griffith, daughter of Sir Griffith Rhys. At the time of Luttrell’s death of the sweating sickness, he had been attempting to divorce his wife on grounds of adultery, but others apparently did not believe the charges.

Catherine received a legacy in his mother’s will and was buried with the Luttrells in East Quantockshead. She did, however, remarry, taking James Godolphin of Gwinear, Cornwall as her second husband in 1552.

Catherine and her sisters, Dorothy and Mary, were wards of the Crown and the earl of Arundell became Catherine’s guardian. Through his influence, she became a member of Queen Mary’s Privy Chamber.

Her grandmother, Catherine St. John, Lady Edgecumbe, left Catherine a chain of gold with a flower set with two diamonds and a ruby in December 1553. In July 1558, she married Sir Thomas Copley who later claimed to have chosen her for her beauty. In doing so, he alienated Lord William Howard, who wanted him to marry one of his daughters. The wedding took place at Nonsuch Palace, which at that time belonged to the earl of Arundel.

In November 1558, Mistress Copley attended Queen Mary’s funeral as a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber. Queen Elizabeth was godmother to her eldest son, Henry.

In 1563, however, Sir Thomas refused to conform in religion. He was fined and imprisoned in 1568. In 1570, he went abroad without license, taking his family with him. The Crown promptly seized his property. Although Catherine was allowed to return to England for a visit, her husband remained in exile until his death in Antwerp. They seem to have lived comfortably abroad, where he received a knighthood from the French king, Henri III, and a title from the king of Spain and was a pensioner of the governor of the Netherlands.

Late in the reign of Elizabeth, Catherine was imprisoned at least once for recusancy and convicted twice for harboring priests. An online genealogy states she was buried at Horsham, Sussex on January 7, 1608. Portrait: detail of “A Religious Allegory with Sir Thomas Copley (d.1584) and family” (1625), Dunster Castle, Somerset.

BLANCHE MILBORNE

Blanche Milborne was the daughter of Simon Milborne and Jane Baskerville. She was bilingual, born in England but living in a Welsh environment.

Blanche was married first in 1494 to James Whitney and when she was widowed, she was left with three young children—Robert, Elizabeth, and James. Two others, Watkin or Walter and Anne, had died young. She remarried soon after, taking as her second husband William Herbert. They had three sons, including Charles and Thomas, and in August 1502 entertained King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at Troy House near Monmouth. They were frequent guests of the duke of Buckingham at Thornbury. In 1516, William Herbert was knighted. In the late 1520s and early 1530s, Blanche was probably part of the Countess of Worcester’s household and may have acted as governess to the earl’s children. She may have been put in charge of Princess Mary’s household as early as 1531, when Mary was separated from her mother, Catherine of Aragon. Sometimes referred to as Lady Herbert and other times as Lady Troy, Blanche was the one charged with giving their earliest lessons to both Princess Elizabeth and Prince Edward. In each household in turn she became Lady Mistress when Lady Bryan relinquished that post. She carried Elizabeth’s train at the christening of Prince Edward in 1537. She was still in the Lady Elizabeth’s household as late as 1545 but had left by the time King Henry died in 1547. Lady Troy retired to Troy House, living there into her late seventies. Biography: The information above is condensed from the account in the biography of Blanche Milborne’s niece and goddaughter, Blanche Parry, Ruth Elizabeth Richardson’s Mistress Blanche: Queen Elizabeth’s Confidante. Other sources tend not to mention Blanche Milborne in connection with either Mary or Elizabeth.

ANNE MORGAN

Anne Morgan was the daughter of Sir Thomas Morgan and Elizabeth Whitney. On May 21, 1545 she married Henry Carey, son of Mary Boleyn and was later created baron Hunsdon. As Lady Hunsdon, Anne was a lady of the privy chamber. She had ten sons and three daughters, including George, 2nd baron Hunsdon, Henry, John, 3rd baron Hunsdon, William, Catherine, Philadelphia, Edmund, Robert, and Margaret.

In 1568 she left court for Berwick-upon-Tweed when Hunsdon was appointed governor there. According to Charlotte Merton’s The Women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, she had to pay domestic staff and even some staff officers out of her own pocket.When Lord Hunsdon died, he left the family in debt, thanks to the expense of serving the queen. Elizabeth Tudor paid Hunsdon’s funeral expenses (£800) and granted the widow an outright gift of £400, a pension of £200 per annum from the Exchequer, and the keepership of Somerset House for life. Lady Hunsdon used some of the money to erect a monument to her late husband in Westminster Abbey. Portrait: While another copy is elsewhere identified as Mary Hill, Mrs. MacWilliam, the portrait at Hatfield c. 1585-90 by a follower of George Gower is called Lady Hunsdon.

FRANCES NEVILLE

Frances Neville was the daughter of Sir Edward Neville and Eleanor Windsor. Around 1544, she had married Sir Edward Waldegrave. Their children included Magdalen, Catherine, Mary, Nicholas, Charles, Frances, and Christopher.

In September 1551, Waldegrave was in the Tower of London. Frances was permitted to go there to nurse him. He was released on October 24 and allowed to return to his own house on the following March 18. On April 24, he was set at liberty. Frances was one of Queen Mary’s ladies in 1556. In 1561, both she and her husband were in the Tower for hearing mass. Sir Edward died there. During their imprisonment, Queen Elizabeth made use of their house at Smallbridge, Suffolk, on her annual progress. Frances’s second husband, married c.1562, was Chidiock Paulet of Wade, Hampshire (before 1521-August 17, 1574), by whom she had one son, Thomas. Paulet was also a recusant. He was not persecuted for his faith but, in 1565, Frances’s daughters by her first marriage were prevented from leaving England. Paulet left his widow all the plate, hangings, bedding, brass, and pewter he had received when they married and all his household silver. His eldest son by his first marriage was his principal heir. He his daughters by that marriage £900 between them, a £20 annuity to his son Thomas, and a horse to his stepson, Charles Waldegrave. Frances was living at the manor of Navestock, Essex, left to her for life by her first husband, at the time of her death. Portraits: effigy on Waldegrave tomb in Borley, Essex.

ANNE PARR

Anne Parr was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr and Maud Green. Her mother was a lady in waiting to Katherine of Aragon and Anne became a maid of honor to Queen Jane Seymour.

In early 1538, Anne married William Herbert. She should not be confused with Lady Herbert of Troy (Blanche Milborne) who carried Elizabeth Tudor’s train at the christening of Prince Edward, or Mrs. Fitzherbert, who was chief chamberer to Queen Jane and rode in her funeral cortege in 1537. Anne Parr was also in the cortege, but she was not yet Mrs. Herbert. As Lady Herbert, she was keeper of the queen’s jewels to Catherine Howard, although she left court briefly to give birth to her first child, Henry, in 1540. She was back at court in time to attend the disgraced queen at Syon House and in the Tower.

When her sister Katherine became Henry VIII’s sixth queen in 1543, Anne returned to court.

In 1551, William Herbert was created earl of Pembroke. They had two more children, Edward and Anne and used Baynard’s Castle as their London residence. For the birth of her second son, Anne’s sister loaned her the manor of Hanworth in Middlesex for her lying in. After the birth, Anne visited Lady Hertford, who had also just given birth, at Syon House near Richmond. In August, the queen sent a barge to bring Anne by river from Syon to Westminster.

After Henry VIII’s death, when the queen dowager’s household was at Chelsea, both Anne and her son Edward were part of the household there. At the time of her death, Anne Parr was one of Princess Mary’s ladies. She died quite unexpectedly at Baynard’s Castle and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral next to the tomb of John of Gaunt. Her memorial there reads: “a most faithful wife, a woman of the greatest piety and discretion.” Portrait: portrait bust on one face of the 1540s porch at Wilton (now in Wilton garden); stained glass window; it is the opinion of Susan E. James, Katherine Parr’s biographer, that Anne is the subject of the “unidentified” lady in the Holbein sketch shown below; a portrait of Anne was part of the Pembroke collection in 1561.

Anne Parr by Holbein

ANNE PERCY

Anne Percy was the daughter of Henry Percy, 4th earl of Northumberland and Maud Herbert. She was in the household of Elizabeth of York by 1494 when, at age nine, she presented one of the participants in a tournament to Princess Margaret, then age five.

She is in mentioned in royal clothing warrants for 1497 and 1498 and on one occasion received two gowns, a kirtle, a bonnet, a doublet, and other items.

On July 10, 1502 “Lady Anne Percy” was at Windsor to take a delivery of linen cloth for a sampler to the queen. She is recorded as serving the queen from June-December 1502. A needlework sampler attributed to Lady Anne herself has descended through the Eyre family and is the subject of an article in Oremus (July&August 2011) by Christopher Wickham. After the death of Elizabeth of York, Lady Anne was part of the household of Princess Mary and she was probably the “Lady Percy” who attended Queen Catherine at her coronation in 1509.

On February 15, 1511, she married, as his second wife, William Fitzalan, Lord Maltravers. The king made an offering of 6s. 8d. for the occasion.

In 1524, Maltravers succeeded his father as earl of Arundel. Their children were Henry (April 23, 1512-February 25, 1579/80), Catherine (d.1552+), Margaret, and Elizabeth.

ANNE RADCLIFFE

Anne Radcliffe was the daughter of Robert Radcliffe, 1st earl of Sussex and his second wife, Margaret Stanley, who married Radcliffe before September 1, 1532.

On April 10, 1547, Anne married Thomas Wharton, later 2nd baron Wharton, although he did not succeed his father until after Anne’s death. Their children were Philip, Anne, Thomas, and Mary.

Anne was part of the household of Princess (later Queen) Mary before 1552. She is mentioned as such in the 1551 will of one of her fellow gentlewomen, Margaret Pennington Cooke, and also features in an oft-repeated but possibly apocryphal story about Lady Jane Grey. Lady Jane is supposed to have been visiting Princess Mary at Beaulieu when, upon seeing Anne genuflect in the chapel, she made several rude remarks about Catholic practices. This “Lady Anne Wharton” is said to have been a favorite of Mary’s, but she is often misidentified as Anne Talbot, second wife of Anne Radcliffe’s father-in-law. This is impossible because Anne Talbot was Lady Bray during Queen Mary’s reign and did not marry Thomas Wharton’s father until November 1561. That was not only after the death of Queen Mary, but also after the death of Anne Radcliffe. Anne Radcliffe, Lady Wharton was also at court in 1558/9.

BEATRICE ap RICE or RHYS  (maiden name unknown)

Beatrice was the wife of David ap Rice/Rhys, a groom or yeoman of the chamber in Princess Mary’s household prior to 1525. Beatrice became Mary’s laundress in 1519 and was still with her when her household was dissolved in October 1533. She also held this post when Mary was queen.

ANNE REDE

Anne Rede was the daughter of Sir William Rede and Anne Warham.



The list of ladies attending on Princess Mary in December 1526 includes the name Anne Rede. It was there she met her first husband, Sir Giles Greville or Grevill of Wick, Worcestershire, controller of the household. Two letters are extant that refer to the courtship, the first from Margaret, countess of Salisbury, governess of the Princess Mary, to Lady Rede. Written from Worcester on August 20, 1526, it refers to the interest the comptroller has in her daughter and does not sound entirely approving of the romance. The second letter is from Lady Rede to Mr. Henry Golde, chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury. Written from Knole on April 8, 1527, it announces that “the matter betwixt Sir Giles Bryvel (sic) and my daughter is driven almost into conclusion.” Barbara J. Harris, in “Women and Politics in Early Tudor England,” reveals that Sir Giles grew so frustrated with Lady Rede’s demands concerning her daughter’s jointure that he threatened to break off negotiations.

In about 1530, Anne married Sir Adrian Fortescue. He was engaged in a long-running dispute over land with the family of his first wife, Anne Stonor. On one occasion, according to later testimony before the Star Chamber, a party led by Sir Walter Stonor attacked Stonor Manor and dragged Anne Rede, who was pregnant, out of her chamber. Anne and Fortescue also contested the inheritance of one of Sir Giles Greville’s manors by his daughter by an earlier marriage and her second husband. Fortescue, in 1532, joined the knights of St. John of Jerusalem, an order that was abolished by Parliament in 1534/5. In August 1534, for refusing to take the Oath of Succession, he was imprisoned in the Marshalsea. The family was based at Brightwell Baldwin in Oxfordshire when, in February 1539, for refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, Sir Adrian was arrested again and this time charged with “sedition and refusing allegiance” and beheaded. He was beatified in 1895. By Fortescue, Anne was the mother of Sir John (1533-December 23, 1607), Thomas (May 13, 1534-1611), Sir Anthony (c.1535-c.1611), Elizabeth (d.1602), and Mary. Her third husband, married in about 1540, was Sir Thomas Parry of Hampstead Marshall and Welford, Berkshire (c.1505-December 15, 1560). According to The History of Parliament, the marriage was troubled early on. In August 1540, the Bishop of London set up a commission to investigate Parry’s complaint that his wife had left him. They were reconciled and eventually had two sons and three daughters: Thomas (1544-1616), Edward, Anne, Frances, and Muriel (d.1616). In October 1542, Anne was granted 1,500 sheep in Gloucestershire and other goods confiscated from her second husband. Thomas Parry had entered the service of Princess Elizabeth by 1548, when he was her cofferer. He was arrested in 1549 because of his knowledge of the activities of Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour but later released. The Parrys lived at Wallingford, Berkshire and at Welford Park, Berkshire. Anne was in the household of Elizabeth Tudor before she became queen, but on September 30, 1553, she was in attendance on Queen Mary. Mary granted her Pannington, Gotherington, Tredington, Washbourne, and Hamstead in Gloucestershire. Under Queen Elizabeth, Anne Parry was a lady of the privy chamber. When she retired from the court in 1566, she received an annuity and more land in Gloucestershire. Portrait: alabaster effigy on her tomb in Welford, Berkshire, erected by her son Thomas.

Anne Rede

MARY ROPER

Mary Roper was the daughter of William Roper and Margaret More and the granddaughter of Sir Thomas More. As such, she was given a fine education, did many translations, and was an ardent Catholic. She married twice, first to Stephen Clarke and second, around June 1556, to James Bassett. She bore Bassett two sons, Philip and Charles. Mary was at court under Queen Mary as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber. Biography: Oxford DNB entry under “Bassett [née Roper], Mary”

JANE RUSSELL  (maiden name unknown)

Jane was the wife of William Russell, by whom she had several children, possibly including the Mary Russell in the household of Queen Mary from 1554-7. Jane herself served Mary before she was queen, since she is listed among the “fellows in service” with Margaret Pennington, Lady Cooke, from 1552. She is listed as a chamberer in 1553 and as a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber from 1554-7. She was granted five leases of land by the queen. In the winter of 1557/8, Jane was invited to live in the London house of Henry Fisher, a wealthy skinner and one of the founders of the Russia Company, and his wife, Elizabeth, “for the great friendship she showed to the same Fisher in such suits as he had” to Queen Mary. According to the entry for Fisher in The History of Parliament, the Fishers nursed Jane during her last illness, for which expenses Fisher later sued in the court of requests. Jane had a son to whom Frances Baynton repaid a loan in her will in 1583.

MARY SCROPE

Mary Scrope was one of the nine daughters of Sir Richard Scrope and Eleanor Washbourne. Two of her older sisters were married to earls, Elizabeth, countess of Oxford and Margaret, countess of Suffolk.

Mary married first, c.1509, Sir Edward Jerningham, by whom she had four sons and one daughter, Sir Henry, Ferdinand, Edward, Edmund, and Elizabeth. Her will mentions a daughter named Margaret and does not mention an Elizabeth, presenting me with a small mystery yet to be solved. In between lying-ins, she had an active career at court from 1509-1527 as one of Catherine of Aragon’s ladies.

On June 26, 1510, she received the gift of tawny velvet for a gown. Her husband was the queen’s cupbearer and her son Henry was a carver to Princess Mary. Edmund became a gentleman of the bedchamber to Henry VIII and Elizabeth was one of Queen Jane’s maids of honor. See the entry for Anne Jerningham for an incident involving the newly widowed Lady Jerningham in 1517. Mary Scrope’s second husband, to whom she was married by the beginning of 1532, was Sir William Kingston (by 1476-September 4, 1540), constable of the Tower from 1524 until his death.

Although Mary Kingston was implicated in the affair of the Nun of Kent in 1533, she took part in Anne Boleyn’s coronation. She was ill at Wanstead in June 1534. During the imprisonment of Anne Boleyn, Lady Kingston was called upon to hear Anne’s apology to Mary Tudor and deliver it to the king’s daughter after Anne’s execution.

Lady Kingston carried Mary Tudor’s train at the christening of Prince Edward, rode in the funeral cortege of Queen Jane, and was listed as one of the thirty ladies appointed as “ordinary waiters” upon Anne of Cleves in 1539. According to some accounts, she served the first four of Henry VIII’s wives and also spent some time in the household of Princess Mary.

David Loades, in his biography of Mary Tudor, says she was in charge of a joint household for Mary and Elizabeth from March 1538 until April 1539. In her will she left her daughter Lady Anne Grey a goblet of silver and gilt with a cover and a ring with a ruby. She was particularly generous to her servant, Margaret Harris, leaving her gowns and other clothing, bedding, and even a tenement in Leyton, Essex. She added a codicil to revoke to revoke the bed of crimson velvet and cloth of gold panes she’d given to Sir Anthony Kingson (her stepson) and left it instead to Mary Jerningham, daughter of her son Henry. She asked to be buried at Painswick, Gloucestershire with her second husband, but her memorial brass, dated 1557, is at Low Leyton, Essex, where she was apparently buried on September 4, 1548. Portrait: a possible portrait has been located in a private collection. More information to come.

ANNE SHELTON

Anne Shelton was the daughter of Sir John Shelton and Anne Boleyn (c.1475-December 1556), the sister of Queen Anne Boleyn’s father. Anne married Sir Edmund Knyvett of Buckenham Castle, Norfolk by 1527. As he was not knighted until 1538/9, she may have been the Mistress Anne Knyvett in the household of Princess Mary in Wales in 1525-7.



In 1538, her aunt, Alice Boleyn Clere, left her ”a tablet of gold with the picture of the Salutation of Our Lady in it with 8 rubies and 24 pearls in the same.” Their children still living when Anne died in 1563 were Thomas, Edmund, Henry, and Anthony. Her second husband was Christopher Coote of Blonorton, by whom may have had another son, Richard.

ANNE SOMERSET

Anne Somerset was the daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd earl of Worcester and Elizabeth Browne. She is probably the Lady Anne Somerset who was a maid of honor to Queen Mary in 1557 and therefore is also likely the “Anne Neville” Charlotte Merton identifies in her PhD dissertation as the recipient of a wedding gift from the queen of twenty-three ruby buttons and two sapphires. On June 12, 1558, she married Thomas Percy, 7th earl of Northumberland, by whom she had Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary, Lucy, and Jane or Joan.

In 1569, together with Jane Howard, countess of Westmorland, Anne was an instigator of the Northern Rebellion. Her husband was hesitant, but when, in the dead of night, his servants came to tell him that his enemies were surrounding him, the earl and countess fled to Branspeth, Westmorland’s house, and from there began their uprising against Queen Elizabeth. Lord Hunsdon, at the head of the queen’s troops, reported that Lady Northumberland was “stouter” than her husband and rode “up and down with the army.” When the rebellion failed, Northumberland sought refuge with Hector Graham, a borderlands robber, but Graham betrayed Northumberland to the earl of Moray. Anne was pregnant during the uprising. She gave birth on June 11, 1570 in Old Aberdeen, Scotland. On August 23, she and her baby fled to the Continent, arriving in Bruges on August 31,1570. Anne hoped to raise enough money to ransom her husband. She persuaded both King Philip II and the Pope to contribute to her cause, but her effort was in vain. Elizabeth of England outbid her, took charge of the prisoner, and executed him. Anne spent the rest of her life in exile. There is some mystery about her youngest child. Genealogical research on the Belgian family of Percy or Persy indicates that although the baby was given the name Maria, no sex was recorded, and argues that the child was a boy, subsequently called John Percy. A second John Percy shows up in records in Brussels in 1620, claiming to the son of “Jean Piercy,” son of Thomas, earl of Northumberland, who came to Flanders with his mother. This claim was apparently recognized by Spanish authorities. Although some English genealogists over the years have identified the child born in 1570 with the Mary Percy who founded a convent in Brussels, her epitaph there clearly states that she was “in England for a long time” before she first came to the Netherlands. Other sources say that this Mary was eighty at the time of her death in 1643, which would be consistent with a 1563 birth date. Anne Somerset’s daughters had to be abandoned in England when the rebellion failed. Two of them were found at Wressel, the family seat, in a pitiful state, nearly frozen, half starved, and terrified. The servants with whom they’d been left had been murdered and the house ransacked. Their uncle, Henry Percy, who subsequently was granted their father’s title, took his brother’s daughters into his own household and they were raised at Petworth. Meanwhile, their mother was at Liège, living on a pension from Philip II. There she wrote “Discours des troubles du Comte de Northumberland” and involved herself in Catholic plots. She spent the next decade moving from place to place in the Spanish Netherlands, staying in contact with other exiles. She was living at Malines in 1572, in Mechlin in 1573, in Brussels in 1574 and again in 1576, and was back in Liège in 1575. In 1576 she was briefly expelled from the territory in an attempt to placate Queen Elizabeth, but she returned almost immediately. In September 1591, Charles Paget, an English exile in Antwerp, wrote to the Percy family in London to say that Anne had died and to request that her youngest daughter, Jane, come to Flanders to claim her mother’s belongings. This appears to have been a ruse to allow Jane to visit her mother. Anne died of smallpox while living in the convent at Namur, but not until five years later.

MARY VICTORIA (maiden name unknown)

The name Mistress Victoria appears among the gentlewomen attending Catherine of Aragon at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520 and Mary Victoria is listed in the household of Princess Mary in Wales in 1525 and was still with her in October 1533. She is listed as receiving £10/year in the household accounts for 1526. Joycelyne Russell, in The Field of Cloth of Gold, suggests she may be the wife of Dr. Ferdinand/Fernando Victoria/Vittorio, Spanish physician to the queen and this seems to be supported by an entry in the Letters and Papers, foreign & domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, Vol. II Part II which lists a payment of £66 13s. 4d. in February 1518 to Dr. Fernando for transporting his wife out of Spain. They had a son, who was the king’s godchild. Plans were discussed in 1523 and 1524 to send him to Emperor Charles V as a page but it is not clear if he ever left England. Mary is probably the “Mistress Mary, my physician’s wife,” to whom Catherine of Aragon left £40 in her will. It is also possible there were two Mary Victorias, mother and daughter, with the daughter serving as one of Princess Mary’s maids of honor in 1525-33.

SUSAN WHITE

Susan White was the daughter of Richard White and Maud Tyrell. As early as 1525, Susan may have been in the service of Mary Tudor, remaining with Mary until she was dismissed in late 1533. By 1534, she had married Thomas Tonge, Clarencieux King-at-arms and she 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, Susan 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 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 somewhat conniving and greedy. 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, both 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. Susan transferred her English properties to her brother, Richard, before leaving the country in August,1559 in the household of Jane Dormer, countess of Feria, where she appears to have remained until her death, although the History of Parliament entry for her nephew says she went overseas “for a short while.” That source also names four Essex manors granted to her in 1558 with reversion to her heirs as Rivenhall, Runwell, Chingford Paul, and Chingford Comitis. Biography: 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).

Source: 

Emerson, Kathy Lynn; Index to A Who’s Who of Tudor Women

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The Tudor Society - Tudor History at your Fingertips

Book Review: “Great Ladies” by Sylvia Barbara Soberton

Jane Seymour (4)

The most recent book I’ve had the pleasure of receiving, reading and reviewing is my second book and ‘best seller’ by author Sylvia Barbara Soberton called, “Great Ladies” – The Forgotten Tudor Witnesses to the Lives of Tudor Queen. The first, if you recall, was “The Forgotten Tudor Women“.

There has been a great deal written about Tudor queens, but less so about those women who surrounded the throne, who may have held even more power and influence than those who actually wore the golden crown.

Some ladies who served at the Tudor court are only faceless silhouettes lost to the sands of time, but there are those who dedicated their lives to please their royal mistresses and left documentation, allowing us to piece their life stories together and link them to the stories of Tudor queens. These female attendants saw their queens and princesses up close and often used their intimate bonds to their own benefit. Some were beloved, others hated.

This is the story of the ladies of the Tudor court like you?ve never read it before.?(Synopsis from Amazon)

If you are new, or newer, to the Tudor era than this book is definitely for you. It’s a quick read at only 259 pages (double-spaced) and covers a lot of the information that an avid Tudor researcher like myself is already familiar with.

While reading, I found myself getting bored with the story lines I was already familiar with, however, the interesting parts of the book were that of the forgotten witnesses – which, of course, is what the book is essentially about and I was not disappointed.

There were several ladies listed that I had not known much about and those stories pulled me in and left me wanting to do even more research on them for future in-depth articles. Then there are the ladies like Maria de Salinas, Jane Boleyn, Anne Stanhope, Jane Grey, Kat Ashley, Lettice Knollys, Catherine Carey and Blanche Parry?whom I always love to read about and was not disappointed by the information provided by Soberton.

This book is well researched and sourced with a comprehensive list of notes at the end of each chapter. At the end of the book there are pages of primary and secondary sources, PhD Dissertations and websites. I’ll go back to these lists eventually and look further into the primary sources to ensure I haven’t missed anything about this wonderful period in history.

The part that got me was the section about Jane Grey’s execution. While on the scaffold, blindfolded and awaiting her impending death, she was unable to locate the wooden block she was to rest her head on. Panicked she said, “What shall I do? Where is it?” A bystander, affected by Jane’s panic, guided her gently to the block where she then rested her head and stretched out her arms before her neck was severed with a blow from the axe.

I would highly recommend this book to someone who is new to the Tudor era and someone who loves to learn about the great ladies that surrounded and sometimes pushed their queen off the throne to make way for themselves.

Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Rebecca Larson
Owner of TudorsDynasty.com

If you’re interested in ordering this book you can find it on Amazon?as a paperback book or it is also available on Kindle for you eBook readers. 🙂

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