Person of the Day

Tudor Person of the Day: Elizabeth Sydneham

Per Kathy Lynn Emerson:

(c) Plymouth City Council: Museum and Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Elizabeth Sydenham was the daughter of Sir George Sydenham of Combe Sydenham, Somerset (c.1524-1596) and Elizabeth Hales. She married first, on about February 9, 1585, Sir Francis Drake of Buckland Abbey and Yelverhampton, Devon (c.1540-January 28, 1595/6). In September of that year, she entertained Don Antonio at their Devon estate. Sir Philip Sidney was also there, according to a letter from Ambassador Mendoza to King Philip. Drake was already a hero from his voyage around the world (1577-80). He spent most of their marriage at sea and died aboard his ship in the harbor at Porto Bello and was buried at sea. Elizabeth then married Sir William Courtenay of Powderham, Devon (c.1553-June 24, 1630), as his second wife. She had no children from either marriage and barely rates a footnote in biographies of her famous first husband. Portrait: by George Gower, c. 1585.

Tudor Person of the Day: Jennet Parkinson (d. 1580)

This excerpt is courtesy of Kate Emerson and her fantastic website detailing Tudor women:

Portrait of Jennet Parkinson, wife of Cuthbert Hesketh of Whitehill, Lancashire

Jennet Parkinson was the daughter of John Parkinson of Whinney Clough. She married Cuthbert Hesketh of Whitehill, Lancashire (d.1629), a lawyer, by whom she had three
sons, Thomas, Bartholomew, and Gabriel, and six daughters. She was his first wife. His second was Anne Parkinson (d.1647), daughter of Edmund Parkinson. Portrait: 1580 by George Gower.





Tudor Person of the Day: Kate Arden(d. 1602)

This excerpt is courtesy of Kate Emerson and her fantastic website detailing Tudor women:

Katherine Arden was a prostitute. Unmarried and pregnant in mid-April 1599, Katherine Arden was facing childbirth with no midwife present in the house of one Pugsby in St. Peter’s Lane, Clerkenwell, notorious as a red light district. At the christening of another prostitute’s child, some of those attending were concerned that Katherine, who used to lie in brothels run by male keepers, would not be property attended during her confinement. Elizabeth Reignoldes was asked to look after her and may have been the only woman present when Katherine delivered her child. Ungerer speculates that she abandoned the infant. A few months later, in August 1599, another prostitute, Mary Newborough, took Katherine with her to see the muster of soldiers in St. James’s Park, a effort to drum up new business. Both women ended up in Bridewell, where Katherine was examined on November 10, 1599. She made up a story about having come with her husband from beyond the Seas and lodging in Fetter Lane. Examined again on December 14, she confessed the truth. By then she was in poor health and was put with Mary Newborough and Mary Digby so they could look after her. She was soon after released, but not for long. She was back in Bridewell in 1602 and entertaining the governor of that institution, Nicholas Bywater, in her bed. In payment, he left the door open so that she could escape. Kate Arden was immortalized by Ben Jonson in his “Epigram 133,” her case of “burning clap” said to be so virulent that it “kindled the fire” that burned the Globe Theatre in June 1613.

Further Reading: Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Volume 15 &

Tudor Person of the Day: Mary Howard, Duchess of Richmond (1519-1556)

Mary Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and Lady Elizabeth Stafford. Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey was her brother.

At about fourteen years old, on 26 November 1533, she married Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and illegitimate son on King Henry VIII. The Duke and Duchess of Richmond were both very young and considered too young to consummate their marriage – they weren’t even allowed to live together. Mary remained at court where she was one of Anne Boleyn’s favorite ladies.

When Henry Fitzroy died she was merely seventeen years old. Henry VIII denied her the money promised to her through their marriage using the fact that the marriage was never consummated.

Mary was one of the highest ranking women in the kingdom as Duchess of Richmond.

The Duchess remained unmarried for the rest of her life even though there was a proposal for her to marry Thomas Seymour in both 1538 and 1546. King Henry approved the match but Mary herself was not keen to it and rejected the proposal each time. It appears that in 1546 she was more inclined to the marriage but her brother the Earl of Surrey messed things up by telling her she shouldn’t marriage below her station (to Seymour) and would be better off becoming the King’s mistress if she wanted power.

In December 1546, when both her father and brother were arrested, Mary made no attempt to defend them and even testified against her brother.

After her brother, the Earl of Surrey’s execution in 1547 she became guardian to his children. She also made many attempts to secure her father’s release from the Tower of London. For the attempts the Duke of Norfolk never forgot and remembered her generously in his will.

Mary Howard died in Norfolk in January 1556/57.

*Pictured: Mary Howard and Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond

Tudor Person of the Day: Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel (1512-1580)

Henry Fitzalan was a prominent courtier who lived during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth I and Henry VIII stood as godfather at his baptism.

Henry Fitzalan was married to Katherine Grey, daughter of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset and Margaret Wotton.

He was one of the peers who stood in judgement of Anne Boleyn in 1536.

In 1540 he succeeded Arthur Plantagenet, Lord Lisle as Lord Deputy of Calais.

Upon his father’s death in 1544 he returned to England and assumed the title Earl of Arundel. In the same year he was made Knight of the Garter.

In 1546 he became Lord Chamberlain and also a Privy Councillor.

In 1547 he acted as High Constable for the young Edward VI’s coronation.

Arundel has secretly opposed Edward Seymour as Lord Protector and joined forces with John Dudley, Earl of Warwick to overthrow him in October 1549. That December he was stripped of his offices and dismissed from the privy council. He was heavily fined and made to forced to retire to Sussex.

It appears that later that Arundel considered turning on Dudley. In 1551 he was charged with treason and sent to the Tower of London for conspiring with Somerset. A year later he was released and restored to the privy council because Dudley was looking forr support putting Jane Grey on the throne. He appeared to support Jane Grey only to be a leader in Council for removing her.

Under the reign of Mary I he became Lord Steward and President of the Council.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth he was said to have been considered a possible husband for her.

Tudor Person of the Day: Lady Catherine Grey (1540-1568)

Catherine Grey was the daughter of Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk and Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk. This would also make her the sister of the “Nine Day Queen” Jane Grey.

Because Catherine was the daughter of Frances Brandon she was a descendant of Mary Tudor, dowager queen of France and sister to Henry VIII. She was cousins with King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I.

In May 1553, Edward VI’s President of the Council (after the downfall of Lord Protector and Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour), had arranged a series of political marriages for Catherine and sisters Jane and Mary Grey. Catherine was married to Henry Herbert, who was the heir of the Earl of Pembroke.

When Catherine’s sister was proclaimed as Queen of England on the 6th of July, she stayed with Jane in the royal apartments in the Tower of London.

After the downfall of her sister, Jane, and Mary Tudor being proclaimed Queen, Catherine was removed from London by her father-in-law (William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke) who immediately turned on her because of her family name and what had just happened with her sister. He didn’t want his son married to a “Grey” and sought an annulment of the marriage.

Catherine fell in love with Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford in the summer of 1554. No, not that Edward Seymour, his son by Anne Stanhope. Since she was of royal blood and included in the line of succession any future marriage was a matter of state policy, not personal choice. So their relationship had to be kept secret.

In 1561, Catherine Grey secretly married Edward Seymour and by 1561 she was pregnant.

Time and time again we’ve read how Queen Elizabeth, who at this time was the ruling monarch, reacted to those close to her marrying without her consent….Catherine was terrified of Elizabeth finding out that she was pregnant and in turn married. (This sounds just like Elizabeth Throckmorton, doesn’t it?) Catherine knew how close the queen was to Robert Dudley and asked him to intercede on her behalf. He did and Queen Elizabeth sent both Catherine and Edward to the Tower of London. She also invalidated their marriage which made her child illegitimate.

On a brighter note, even though their sentence was life in prison, Catherine and Edward were allowed, by sympathetic jailers, to sleep together occasionally. This led to a second pregnancy and a birth of their second son in 1563. This only infuriated Elizabeth more and she completely separated them – they never saw each other again.

In November 1564, she was transferred to the charge of Sir William Petre, followed by Sir John Wentworth.

On 26 January 1568, Catherine died of consumption. She was only twenty-seven years old.

*Pictured:Lady Catherine Grey with her elder son Edward, Lord Beauchamp

Tudor Person of the Day: Mary Rogers, Lady Harington (c.1565-1634)

There is more known about her husband Sir John Harington so we’ll actually cover two people today. 🙂

“Mary Rogers was the daughter of Sir George Rogers of Carrington, Somersetshire (1540-1587) and Jane or Joan Winter (c.1545-1598). She married Sir John Harington of Kelston (1561-November 20, 1612) and had at least nine children by him: Frances (b.c.1584), Henry (b.1589), George (b.1591), Helena (b.1591), James (b.1592), Edward (b.1593), Mary (b.1600), Hannah (b.c.1601), and Robert (b.1602). When Marys mother died, Mary and her husband attempted to disinherit her brother, Edward. Harrington was called before the Star Chamber in January 1603 over the matter but by December he was back in favor at court.” (Credit to: A Whos Who of Tudor Women by Kate Lynn Emerson)

Sir John Harington was the ‘much-indulged’ godson of Queen Elizabeth I. He was banished from court several times because his quick wit and talent for satire upset the Queen, his godmother.

In 1599, the Queen ordered him to accompany her favoirtie, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex to Ireland. The Queen commanded Harington to keep a journal on the expedition keeping tabs on what Essex was doing and reporting back to her – Essex was completely unaware.

Harington is most well-known for creating the first flushing toilet. Hence the name “John” that is use for the toilet.

On her deathbed, Harington confessed his affection for the Queen saying, “I can not blot from my memory’s table the goodness of our sovereign Lady to me.”

*Portrait of the couple by Hieronimo Custodis.

Tudor Person of the Day: Elizabeth Cornwallis, Lady Kytson (c.1547-1628)

Elizabeth Cornwallis was born c. 1547 to Sir Thomas Cornwallis of Brome Hall and Anne Jerningham.

Her mother, Anne Jerningham was a lady of the privy chamber to Queen Mary I, while her father was in the service of the Duke of Norfolk until he joined the royal household.

Elizabeth entered the service of the Margaret Audley, Duchess of Norfolk before her marriage to Thomas Kytson.

Eliizabeth married Sir Thomas Kytson in c.1560. They had three or four children. A son John, who died in infancy in 1562; A daughter Margaret, who went on to marry Sir Charles Cavendish in 1582; In 1583 their younger daughter Mary married Thomas Darcy, later Earl Rivers, but separated from him in 1594. (They may also have had a daughter named Elizabeth who married Edmund Croft of Westowe.)

Portrait Credit: Lady Kytson; George Gower (c.15401596);Tate Britain (ArtUK)

Tudor Person of the Day: Lady Frances Radclyffe (ne Sidney), Countess of Sussex (15311589)

Frances Sidney was the daughter of Sir William Sidney and his wife, Anne Packenham.

In 1555 she married Thomas Radcliffe who became Earl of Sussex around 1557.

Frances was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I and the founder of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

Image: Lady Frances Sidney (15311589), Countess of Sussex, Foundress of Sidney Sussex College
George Gower (c.15401596) (attributed to)
Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Courtesy of ArtUK

Tudor Person of the Day: Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk (1517-1559)

Frances was the eldest daughter of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. She was also the niece of King Henry VIII and 1st cousin to Mary, Elizabeth and Edward.

Frances married her father’s ward, Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset and they had two children who died in infancy followed by three daughters: Jane (1537), Catherine (1540) and Mary (1545).

When Henry VIII made out his will he named Frances and her heirs next in line of succession after his own children.

In 1551 after the death of her half brothers she became the sole surviving heir to Charles Brandon’s estate. That is when she was able to claim the title Duke of Suffolk for her husband and Duchess of Suffolk for herself.

Frances is typically portrayed as an unloving and harsh mother. Whether or not this is true we don’t know for certain but it does appear that she had some involvement in having her daughter declared Queen of England after the death of her cousin Edward VI.

Portrait: Portrait of a woman sometimes identified as the Duchess of Suffolk, c. 1560

Tudor Person of the Day: Elizabeth Cooke, Lady Russell (1529-1609)

Elizabeth was the third daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke and Anne Fitzwilliam, the daughter of Sir William Fitzwilliam.

The daughters of Sir Anthony Cooke were known as some of the most learned women in England because of the great education he provided for them. Because of this all Cooke sisters married well: Elizabeth’s sister Mildred married William Cecil, while her sister Anne married Sir Nicholas Bacon and lastly her sister Catherine married Sir Henry Killigrew. Elizabeth herself married twice – first to Sir Thomas Hoby who died in Paris in 1566 while serving as an English Ambassador. She had two children by Hoby. In 1574 she married Lord John Russell and had two daughters by him – Elizabeth and Anne.

After ten years of marriage, in 1584, Lord John Russell died.

In 1592, Queen Elizabeth stopped at Elizabeth house in Berkshire while on progress.

As an old lady Elizabeth was known to frequently intervene in the lives of her children and nieces and nephews. She was a strong Protestant and was known to nag her nephew Anthony Bacon about his lifestyle and his Catholic friends. It appears her great education allowed her many opinions that she attempted to force on her family members.

Portrait: Portrait of Elizabeth Russell, hanging in the Great Hall at Bisham Abbey, Berkshire, UK.

Tudor Person of the Day: Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex (c. 1526-1583)

Thomas Radcliffe was the oldest son of Henry Radcliffe, 2nd Earl of Sussex, and his first wife Elizabeth Howard. Since his mother was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk he was part of the illustrious Howard Family.

In 1544, King Henry VIII knighted him for his service in his latest French campaign.

After the death of Henry VIII Thomas Radcliffe served under Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset at the Battle of Pinkie (Scotland).

In 1553,Queen Mary I raised Radcliffe to the peerage as Lord Fitzwalter. Then in 1554, he was instrumental in suppressing Wyatt’s Rebellion.

Thomas Radcliffe also participated in the negotiation for Mary’s marriage to Philip of Spain.

In 1556, Queen Mary appointed Radcliffe to lord deputy of Ireland – in the following year Radcliffe succeeded his father as 3rd Earl of Sussex.

Upon the succession of Queen Elizabeth, Radcliffe (after having proved himself) was raised to lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1560.

In 1569, Radcliffe was again elevated, this time to lord lieutenant of the north of England. In this position he was responsible for stamping out the Northern Rebellion. His success in the rebellion achieved Radcliffe a position in the Privy Council in 1570.

Tudor Person of the Day: Sir Francis Knollys (1514-1596)

Francis Knollys was married to Catherine Carey (daughter of Mary Boleyn) and was also the father of Lettice Knollys who we know best as the woman who took Robert Dudley from Queen Elizabeth.

Francis Knollys was a respected councillor of Queen Elizabeth I and was known as being outspoken. He had also served King Henry VIII. As a Protestant, Knollys thrived during the reign of Edward VI. When Mary ascended to the throne he went into exile in Europe.

Queen Elizabeth appointed him a member of the Privy Council and and also named him vice chamberlain of the household.

From 1572 until 1596 Knollys also served as treasurer of the royal household. When he died the title passed to his son William Knollys.

Tudor Person of the Day: Blanche Parry (1508-1590)

After the execution of Anne Boleyn on 19 May 1536, Henry VIII appointed Parry as an attendant to the three year old Princess Elizabeth. It is possible that she was part of her household even earlier since she had later mentioned she saw Elizabeth rocked in her cradle.

After the death of Queen Mary I of England, Parry became Queen Elizabeth’s second lady of the bedchamber (after Kat Ashley). In 1565, after Ashley’s death she became the first lady of the bedchamber – a position which she held until her last breath.

Parry held special favor with Queen Elizabeth as she was the longest serving of her household servants.

Portrait: Blanche Parry (15081590) Marcus Gheeraerts the younger (1561/15621635/1636) (possibly) National Trust, Tredegar House