Ladies-in-Waiting: Jane, Countess of Southampton

 

Jane Cheney Southampton
Effigy of Jane, Countess of Southampton at Titchfield, Hampshire, England where she is buried with her husband.[Tudor Effigies]
Jane Cheney, Countess of Southampton (d.15 September 1574) was the daughter and heiress of William Cheney of Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire, by Emma Walwyn, daughter of Thomas Walwyn.[1]

There is some obscurity about the identity of Southampton’s wife. He was married before 1533 to Jane, niece of Stephen Gardiner [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, and sister of the unfortunate Germain Gardiner, the bishop’s private secretary, who was executed for denying the royal supremacy in 1543 (Letters and Papers, xii. i. 1209, ii. 47, 546, 634, 825). In all the pedigrees, however, his wife is styled ‘Jane daughter of William Cheney or Cheyne of Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire,’ and there is no trace of his having had two wives. The inference is that the Countess of Southampton’s mother married first a brother of Bishop Gardiner, and secondly William Cheney, being mother of Germain Gardiner by her first husband, and of the Countess of Southampton by her second.[DNB]

Jane married to Thomas Wriothesley (21 December 1505-30 July 1550), the son of York Herald, William Wriothesley and Agnes Drayton, daughter and heiress of James Drayton of London.[1] Thomas Wriothesley was held in high favor with King Henry VIII. However, he would become one of the members of the Catholic faction that tried to arrest Queen Katherine Parr. As Jane was a member of Parr’s household, one wonders what she would have thought when her own husband was reprimanded for trying to serve an arrest warrant to the Queen while she was sitting in the garden enjoying an afternoon with the King. Wriothesley was not met with a warm reception and was yelled at by the King for such behavior after the two had been reconciled on the matter at hand.

Coat of Arms Thomas Wriothesley 1st earl of Southampton
Quartered arms of Sir Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, KG. [Wikipedia]
The couple had several children; three sons and five daughters.[1] Sadly, the first two sons died and only the third survived; Henry. Henry was christened on 24 April 1545 at St. Andrews in Holborn. One of his godfather’s was the King, who was represented by Sir William Parr, 1st Earl of Essex (brother of the current Queen, Katherine Parr).  His other godfather was the Duke of Suffolk and his godmother was the Lady Mary. Jane brought up her children in the Catholic faith and that may have hindered them.[3]

The eight thousand acre, Beaulieu Abbey, was acquired by the Wriothesley family in 1538. Another monastic estate granted to the family was Titchfield in Hampshire where the principal family home was located.

Jane was fashionable and had the luxury of jewels due to her husband’s status. In her will is described a fine jewel, ‘a brooch of gold set with an agate and four little rubies [and] there is a picture of a face upon the agate.’ Cameos were popular, especially for queen’s like Katherine Parr who can be seen wearing a girdle of them in her large portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.[2]

Jane outlived her husband who died on 30 July 1550. Her son, who was still a minor at the time of his father’s death, became the ward of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke, husband of Lady Anne Herbert (sister of the late Queen Katherine Parr). As a widow, Jane inherited manors in Hampshire like Titchfield and Southampton House in Holborn.

In her will of 1574, Jane left to her daughter Katherine one book, ‘my best book of gold set with four diamonds on one side, and a ruby in the middle, weighing about nine ounces and a half, and the Queen’s Majesty handwriting in the same book.’ A second book, ‘a book of gold enamelled with a black knot with two scallop shells, weighing about four ounces and a half’ went to her daughter Mabel. These books could be attached to a girdle like jewelry. Jane had used them to collect signatures, inscriptions and short versus from friends. The books were religious in nature. And to her son, Henry, Jane left ‘a square tablett of golde wherein is the picture of my lorde his father’s face in in, weighinge about two ounces and a half.'[2]

Titchfield Abbey
After the Dissolution, Titchfield Abbey was converted into a mansion, known as Place House, seen here as it looked in 1733. [Wikipedia]
Jane died on 15 September 1574 and she was buried in Titchfield, Hampshire where her effigy can be seen.

Links

Sources

  1. Cokayne, G. E. (1953). The Complete Peerage edited by Geoffrey H. White. XII (Part I)
  2. Susan James. The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 1485-1603 Women as Consumers, Patrons and Painters. Google eBook.
  3. Akrigg, G.P.V. (1968). Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Advertisements

Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s