The Lamentation of a Sinner

Lamentations of a Sinner

by Catherine Parr, Queen of England and Ireland

A publication of the book c.1550 [after the death of Queen Katherine]

A publication of the book c.1550 [after the death of Queen Katherine]

“The Lamentacion of a synner, made by the most vertuous Lady quene Caterine, bewailyng the ignoraunce of her blind life; let foorth & put in print at the inflance befire of the right gracious lady Caterine, Duchesse of Suffolke, and the ernest request of the right honourable Lord William Parre, Marquesse of Northampton.”

Published in 1548 after the death of King Henry VIII, “The Lamentation of a Sinner” was Catherine’s second book which was more extreme than her first publication. She was encouraged by her good friend the Duchess of Suffolk and her brother, the Marquess, to publish.
[Vivat Rex Exhibition, Folger Shakespeare Library, STC 4828]


Family of Queen Katherine: Bess Throckmorton, Lady Raleigh


Abbie Cornish as Bess; lady to Elizabeth I in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007)

16 APRIL 1565: The BIRTH of Elizabeth “Bess” Throckmorton, Lady Raleigh (16 April 1565 – 1647) was a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I. Bess is said to have been intelligent, forthright, passionate and courageous. Elizabeth Throckmorton would have been a striking person in any age, including our own. She stands alongside Bess of Hardwick, a contemporary, and Lady Anne Clifford, a little later, as an example of the woman who overcomes all the considerable odds stacked against her.

I envy you Bess. You’re free to have what I can’t have.”
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Family History at Court

Elizabeth’s family had deep rooted connections at court that started centuries before her birth. Elizabeth was the youngest child and only daughter of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton and his wife Anne Carew. Nicholas was the son of Sir George of Coughton Court and Katherine Vaux. The Throckmortons had been at court since the early reign of King Henry IV. Elizabeth’s great-great-grandfather, Sir Thomas Throckmorton, was High Sheriff of Warwick and Leicester counties during Henry’s reign. Nicholas’s mother, Katherine, just happened to be the uterine sister of Sir Thomas Parr, father of the future Queen Katherine. A uterine sibling meant that Sir Thomas and Lady Throckmorton shared the same mother, Elizabeth FitzHugh. Elizabeth was a daughter of Henry, Lord FitzHugh and Lady Alice [born Neville]. As the daughter of a Neville, there is no need to explain the Neville connections to the crown. I will simply note that they were descended from the Beaufort children of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and his third wife, Katherine Swynford. Elizabeth FitzHugh was at court as Lady Parr until her husband died in 1483. Sir William Parr was a staunch supporter of the House of York and had been a close confidant of King Edward IV. However, once the Duke of Gloucester took the throne as Richard III, Parr declined any involvement in Richard’s coronation and reign. Lord Parr headed north where he died shortly after. His widow, Elizabeth, would marry again sometime before or shortly after Henry Tudor took the throne as King Henry VII. The new husband was a staunch Lancastrian. Nicholas Vaux’s mother had served Margaret of Anjou. Nicholas was a protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of the new King. And this, my friends, was how it was played at court. Alignment with the right people and monarch on the throne made life comfortable for everyone involved. Elizabeth, now Lady Vaux, had three daughters by her second husband, Nicholas [later Baron Vaux of Harrowden].


Elizabeth Throckmorton’s father, Lord Nicholas, later a diplomat, served in the household of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond as a page. The position is thought to have been attained by his uncle, Sir William Parr [later Baron Parr of Horton], in 1532. Sir William had been appointed Chamberlain of the household of the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII. Nicholas’s cousin, also named William, was present in Richmond’s household as a companion. William learned and played alongside Richmond and another companion, the Earl of Surrey [Henry Howard]. Nicholas ventured with Fitzroy as he traveled to France to meet King Francis. He stayed on for about a year and became somewhat fluent in French. After Fitzroy’s death in 1536, Nicholas’s options were somewhat limited. His mother, Katherine, used her influence as an aunt to obtain him a position in the household of his cousin, Lord William Parr [created Earl of Essex in December 1543]. In July 1543, his cousin Katherine Parr, was married to King Henry VIII as his sixth queen. By 1544-47 or 8, Nicholas had been appointed to the Queen’s household as a sewer. Nicholas would go on to serve under the rest of the Tudor monarchs; Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.


Nicholas Throckmorton and his wife, Anne Carew.

Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Carew, was the daughter of Sir Nicholas Carew and Elizabeth Bryan. Lady Bryan married Sir Thomas Bryan and was governess to all three of Henry VIII’s children at one point in time. Lady Bryan was the daughter of Elizabeth Tilney by her first marriage to Sir Humphrey Bourchier. By her mother’s second marriage to Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey [later Duke of Norfolk], Lady Bryan was an aunt of Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Katherine Howard. Anne Carew’s father, Nicholas, was a grandson of Eleanor Hoo. Eleanor was sister to Sir Thomas Boleyn’s [father of Queen Anne Boleyn] grandmother, Anne Hoo. Courtiers, by this time, had started to close the gap between the affinity to each other, meaning most of the court was related to each other. One way or another.


Elizabeth was only six when her father died. In 1584, she went to court and became a lady-in-waiting to the Queen. She eventually became a gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber (she dressed and undressed Elizabeth).

Sir Walter Raleigh before Queen Elizabeth

Sir Walter Raleigh was in favour with Queen Elizabeth until he fell in love with the daughter of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton. Look AND Learn History Picture Library.

In 1590, she caught the eye of Sir Walter Raleigh, a rising royal favorite. In November 1591, the couple secretly wed after Elizabeth discovered she was pregnant. For months, Elizabeth kept her secret from the queen and withdrew to her brother’s house in London, where she gave birth to a son in March 1592. The queen came to discover what had happened and both Elizabeth and Raleigh were thrown in to The Tower of London.

In December 1592, after Elizabeth had lost her child, the two were released, but Raleigh was refused to be seen by the queen for a year and the queen never forgave Lady Raleigh. In 1601, an attempt to restore her at court failed. Lady Raleigh spent most of her time at Sherborne, their country home in Dorset. In 1593, Lady Raleigh gave birth to another son named Walter at Sherborne. Lady Raleigh did come and go between London, but much of the 1590s saw husband and wife separated from each other.

Sir Walter Raleigh lead an exhibition to the Orinoco basin to South America in 1595; while in 1596, Raleigh was made a leader of the Cadiz Raid.

After the ascension of James I in 1603, Raleigh’s enemies at court convinced King James that he was a threat and Raleigh was imprisoned again in the Tower.

In 1605, Lady Raleigh gave birth to another son named Carew either in or around the Tower. In 1609, the King confiscated Sherborne and Lady Raleigh was given a small pension to live off of.

Lady Raleigh lived with her husband  until 1610.  Despite her many appeals, her husband was executed on 29 October 1618. Lady Raleigh ended up keeping her husband’s head which she had embalmed. It is said that she carried the head with her until her own death. Whether that’s true, who knows!

Bess would go on to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She was perused by creditors for the rest of her life but in time came to clear her family’s name. She earned back her fortunes and prospects and ended up a rich widow in time. Bess became good friend to John Donne and Ben Jonson [the play write], and mother of an MP.


Elizabeth “Bess” Throckmorton portrayals through out the years in film.

  • The Virgin Queen (1955): Sir Walter Raleigh gains audience with Queen Elizabeth I seeking her support – and money for ships to sail – but soon finds himself caught between the Queen’s desire for him and his love for Beth Throgmorton (Joan Collins). Ben Nye was makeup artist.
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007): This sequel to Elizabeth deals with Elizabeth’s handling of the Spanish Armada, and the problem of Mary Queen of Scots, while infatuated with sir Walter Raleigh. The Armada is dealt with in short order, Mary with much anguish but thanks to Bess Throckmorton (Abbie Cornish) Raleigh slips from her grasp. Jenny Shircore was hair & makeup designer.
  • The Simpsons (2009): The plot of this one was basically The Simpsons’ take on “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” with Selma as Elizabeth I, Homer as Sir Walter Raleigh, and Marge as Bess Throckmorton. (Eakins)


"My Just Desire: The Life of Bess Raleigh, Wife to Sir Walter"

My Just Desire: The Life of Bess Raleigh, Wife to Sir Walter” by Anna Beer.


Sudeley Castle History: Ralph Boteler, 1st Baron Sudeley

Boteler of Sudeley coat of arms.

Boteler of Sudeley coat of arms; bore gules, a fess countercompony argent and sablo between six crosses pattee or

Ralph Boteler, 1st Baron Sudeley and 7th Baron Sudeley KG (c. 1394 – 2 May 1473[1]) was an English baron and aristocrat. He was the Captain of Calais and Treasurer of England (from 7 July 1443).


Ralph Boteler was the youngest surviving son of Sir Thomas Boteler, de jure 4th Baron of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire and Alice Beauchamp (d. 1443), daughter of Sir John Beauchamp of Powick, Worcestershire.[1]

His paternal grandparents were Sir William le Boteler, 2nd Baron Boteler and co-heiress Joan de Sudeley, daughter of John de Sudeley, 2nd Baron Sudeley.


Boteler was a military commander and member of the King’s Household under both Henry V and Henry VI. In 1418, Boteler was part of the retinue of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (son of Henry IV) on the occasion of Henry V’s visit to Troyes.[6] He was present for the signing of the Treaty of Troyes which agreed that after the death of Charles VI of France, his heirs male would inherit the throne of France.[6] The treaty also required that Henry espouse the Princess Katherine of Valois, a younger daughter of Charles VI and sister to Isabella of Valois, the second queen to Richard II of England.[6] In 1420-21, Boteler was awarded grants of land in France most likely for his service to the King. After the signing of the treaty, Boteler was part of the attack against the Dauphin of France to keep him from trying to reclaim his right to the succession.

Dugdale quotes, “he was retained by indenture to serve the King in his wars of France with twenty men-at-arms and sixty archers on horseback.” (Dent)

Again, “In the beginning of the following reign, he had liscence to travel beyond the sea; was again in the wars of France and of the retinue of John, Duke of Bedford (brother of Henry V).” (Dent)

The Duke of Bedford was named Protector of the Realm and carried on the wars of France. Dent states that after the fall of Joan of Arc, Boteler rejoined Bedford at Rouen and was present for her burning at the stake.

He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1420.[4] He was captain of Arques and Crotoy in 1423 and took muster in Calais in 1425.[3] In 1441, Boteler became Lord Chamberlain of the King’s household.[6] The following year, Boteler was made Treasurer of the King’s Exchequer.[6] He was then sent as an ambassador with Richard, Duke of York, to negotiate a treaty with France. He served as Lord High Treasurer of England from 1443 to 1446. In 1447, he was associated with John, Viscount Beaumont in the Governorship of the “Isle of Jersey, Garnesey, Serke, and Erme” with the priories-alien and all their possessions in those islands; to hold during the minority of Anne, daughter and heiress of Henry Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick (husband to Lady Cecily Neville, sister to Lady Alice, great-grandmother of Queen Katherine Parr).[6] The employment was short as the young heiress died in 1449. Boteler then joined commission with James Butler, Earl of Wiltshire, in the Governorship of the town, marches, and castle of Calais.

In 1458, Boteler was acknowledged for his great service done to King Henry V and Henry VI in France and Normandy. Upon the fall of Henry VI, things drastically turned. Boteler excused himself from Parliament due to his age. He then devoted himself to the re-construction of Sudeley Castle.

View of the back of Sudley Castle in Gloucestershire showing the landscape it overlooks. Sudley is one of the grandest late medieval houses in Gloucestershire. Many of the buildings are ruined but the long medieval hall appears habitable. The Castle Chapel is striking, very much in the Gothic Perpendicular style with heavily pinnacled roof. It has a Royal connection, as Katherine Parr, the last Queen of Henry VIII died here in 1548 and was buried in this Chapel. The large rear window of the chapel is obscured by foliage, which suggests that the Chapel was at this date in a bad state of repair. Between 1554 and 1813, it was held by the Chandos family, although it was damaged during the Civil War, which made it largely inhabitable.

View of the back of Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire showing the landscape it overlooks. Sudeley is one of the grandest late medieval houses in Gloucestershire. Many of the buildings are ruined but the long medieval hall appears habitable. The Castle Chapel is striking, very much in the Gothic Perpendicular style with heavily pinnacled roof. It has a Royal connection, as Katherine Parr, the last Queen of Henry VIII died here in 1548 and was buried in this Chapel. The large rear window of the chapel is obscured by foliage, which suggests that the Chapel was at this date in a bad state of repair. Between 1554 and 1813, it was held by the Chandos family, although it was damaged during the Civil War, which made it largely inhabitable.

The original Castle was built during King Stephen’s reign. His His capture of several French ships added to his wealth which he spent on restoring the Castle. Tradition says that the Portmare Tower was where Boteler held a French Admiral who he had taken prisoner. Boteler received ransom from the King adding more to his considerable wealth.[6]

Boteler was a huge benefactor to the churches. He erected St. Mary’s Chapel and aided the parishioners of Winchcombe to restore their Parish Church.[6]

The Dungeon Tower of Sudeley Castle.

The Dungeon Tower of Sudeley Castle.

In May 1455, Boteler took up arms again for the King at the first Battle of St. Alban’s. The First Battle of St Albans, fought on 22 May 1455 at St Albans, 22 miles (35 km) north of London, traditionally marks the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Richard, Duke of York (husband to Lady Cecily Neville and father to Edward IV and Richard III) and his ally, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (Warwick, the Kingmaker, uncle to Elizabeth Parr, grandmother of Queen Katherine), defeated the Lancastrians under Edmund, Duke of Somerset, who was killed. York captured Henry VI.[6]

When Edward IV took the throne, things turned for the bad for Boteler. Boteler was forced to give up Sudeley Castle — Edward was depriving the Lancastrians of their lands, etc. leaving some of them in poverty while the Yorks’ flourished with the new grants that had been transferred from the Lancastrians to them. Records show Boteler reluctantly handing over the Castle. It states that he confirmed the Castle over to Richard, Earl of Rivers; William, Earl of Pembroke; Antony Wydville; Lord Scales; William Hastings; Lord Hastings; Thomas Bonyfaunt, Dean of the Chapel Royal; Thomas Vaughan; and Richard Fowler.[6] With this went the inheritance of his heirs as well.

When the Lancastrian party rose again in 1470, there was hope that Sudeley would be restored to Boteler, but the House of York refused. The Castle was handed over to the Earl of Rivers and the others named above, but it was not meant to stay with them. Instead, Edward IV granted the Castle to his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III).[6] It would remain Crown property until a grant to Thomas, Lord Seymour, the husband of Queen Katherine Parr, widow of King Henry VIII, in 1547 by his nephew King Edward VI (son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, wife 3). Shortly after Sudeley was taken from Lord Seymour, the Castle would temporarily pass to the late Queen’s brother, Marquess of Northampton (Sir William Parr) until the accession of Queen Mary I.

Lord Sudeley

Tree of the Lords of Sudeley from "Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley" by Emma Dent, Lady Sudeley, 1877.

Tree of the Lords of Sudeley from “Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley” by Emma Dent, Lady Sudeley, 1877.

The Boteler’s elevation to the aristocracy arose from the second marriage of Ralph’s grandfather, William le Botiler of Wem, de jure 2nd Baron Boteler, to the co-heiress of John de Sudeley, de jure 2nd Baron Sudeley, Joan de Sudeley.[1] In 1367, Thomas Boteler became co-heir to his uncle, John de Sudeley, de jure 3rd Baron Sudeley.[1] This eventually led to his father succeeding to the title of Lord of Sudeley. The title passed to both of Ralph’s elder brothers, John (5th Baron Sudeley) who died unmarried and childless in 1410 and William (6th Baron Sudeley), who despite being married, also died childless seven years later. William’s widow, Alice, was appointed governess of Henry VI in 1424.[2] On 10 September 1441, Ralph Boteler was created by a new writ and letters patent, Baron of Sudeley by King Henry VI.[1] With the title he was granted an annuity of 100 marks to himself and his heirs for the better support of his dignity, to be received out of the farm of the county of Lincoln.[6]

Ralph inherited Sudeley Castle from his mother; he started rebuilding in 1442.[4][6] Unfortunately he failed to gain royal permission to crenellate it and had to seek Henry VI’s pardon.[5] Boteler was a supporter of the House of Lancaster during the War of the Roses. In 1469, Boteler was forced to sell Sudeley to King Edward IV due to his support for the Lancastrian cause. Sudeley became Royal property.

Marriage and Family

Lord Sudeley married twice. Before 6 July 1419, he married commercial wealth, in the person of Elizabeth Norbury, widow of John Hende (d. 1418), late Mayor of London, and daughter of John Norbury.[1] They had two sons, Ralph and Thomas, Knt.[1] She died 28 August 1462, and in the following year he married Alice (d. 1474), daughter of John, Baron Deyncourt, and widow of William, Baron Lovel of Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire, who survived him.[1] They had no issue.[1]

Sudeley’s only surviving son from his first marriage, Thomas, predeceased him, also without a male heir.[1] Thomas’ widow Eleanor was the Lady Eleanor Boteler[7] (known as the Holy Harlot) whose alleged pre-contract of marriage to Edward IV of England was claimed to have invalidated Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, and so legitimized the usurpation of Richard III of England. Lady Eleanor describes herself as “lately the wife of Thomas Boteler, knight, now deceased.”[7]


  1. Douglas Richardson. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 230-32.
  2. John Ashdown-Hill, “Eleanor The Secret Queen“, The History Press, 2009, pg 50 ISBN 978-0-7524-5669-0
  3. John Ashdown-Hill, “Eleanor The Secret Queen“, The History Press, 2009. pg 52 ISBN 978-0-7524-5669-0
  4. Sudeley Castle Online: History Timeline URL:
  5. John Ashdown-Hill, “Eleanor The Secret Queen“, The History Press, 2009. pg 51 ISBN 978-0-7524-5669-0
  6. Emma Dent. ”Annals of Winchcombe and Sudeley,” J. Murray, 1877.
  7. John Ashdown-Hill, “Eleanor The Secret Queen”, The History Press, 2009. pg 140

12 FEBRUARY: The Throckmorton Brothers

Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England

Coughton Court, Warwickshire, England

The Throckmorton family of Coughton Court in Warwickshire is one of the oldest Catholic families in England. The Throckmortons were prominent in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I (Tudor). Sir George Throckmorton was a favorite of King Henry VIII during his early years as King. He owed his position probably due to his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Parr, comptroller of the King’s household and loyal friend of the King. However, his marriage to the Lancastrian Vaux family may have had something to do it. Throckmorton’s wife, Lady Katherine (Vaux), was the younger half-sister of Lord Parr, both being children from one of Lady Elizabeth’s (born FitzHugh) two marriages; Lord Parr and Lord Vaux. The Vaux family was loyal to Henry VI and especially Margaret of Anjou when she was exiled to France. George’s father-in-law, Nicholas, became a protege and favorite of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII Tudor. As the stepson of Lord Vaux (Lord William Parr died shortly after the coronation of Richard III in 1483), Thomas Parr is noted to have been a possible pupil in the household of Henry VIII’s grandmother as a young lad.

The connection to the Parr family made Throckmorton an uncle by marriage to queen consort Katherine Parr, the Marquess of Northampton, and Lady Anne Herbert (wife of William, 1st Earl of Pembroke). The Parrs also shared common ancestry with the Throckmorton’s through their maternal great-grandmother Matilda Throckmorton (Lady Green), daughter of Sir John Throckmorton and Eleanor de la Spiney (great-grandparents of Sir George). George Throckmorton, however, would become involved in a scandal to keep the King from divorcing his first wife, Queen Katherine of Aragon, to marry her lady-in-waiting, Anne Boleyn. Throckmorton didn’t approve and supported the queen. Most members, including Sir Thomas Parr’s widow and his cousin, Lady Maud Parr (Green), stuck by Katherine of Aragon until her household was dissolved.

12 FEBRUARY 1570: THE DEATH of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton by Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist. © National Portrait Gallery, London

A cousin of Katherine Parr, Throckmorton was a staunch Protestant, and a supporter of Lady Jane Grey, though he served as a Member of Parliament under all the Tudor monarchs including the Catholic queen, Mary I. His importance during the reign of Elizabeth I was mainly as an ambassador to France and to Scotland. Throckmorton was the son of Katherine’s paternal aunt, Hon. Katherine Vaux and cousin Sir Robert Throckmorton of Coughton Court (a supporter of Queen Katherine of Aragon). Throckmorton was a page in the household of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond by 1532-6; his cousin, William Parr (brother of Queen Katherine) had been raised and educated with Fitzroy and the Earl of Surrey and his maternal uncle, also named William Parr, was head of the household there. Throckmorton then became a servant in the household of his cousin, William, Baron Parr by 1543. Throckmorton, along with his brother Clement, would go on to serve in the household of their cousin Queen Katherine Parr by 1544-7 or 8. After the reign of Henry VIII, Throckmorton continued to serve at court. Upon the death of the Dowager Queen, he returned to the household of his cousin, the 1st Marquess of Northampton (William Parr).

12 FEBRUARY 1581: THE DEATH of Sir Robert Throckmorton

Robert Throckmorton by British School (c) National Trust, Coughton Court; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Robert Throckmorton by British School (c) National Trust, Coughton Court; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Sir Robert Throckmorton (c.1513-12 February 1581) was the eldest son of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court and Hon. Katherine Vaux. As such, Robert was the elder brother of Nicholas, above. Throckmorton, like his father, was Catholic. His role in the succession crisis of Queen Mary is not clear, but it seems that he backed Mary’s claim because of the positions he was given. He was knighted in 1553 and appointed Constable of Warwick Castle among other positions. His Catholicism explains his disappearance from the Commons in the reign of Elizabeth I, although the most Catholic of his brothers, Anthony Throckmorton, was to sit in the Parliament of 1563. Judged an ‘adversary of true religion’ in 1564, Throckmorton remained active in Warwickshire until his refusal to subscribe to the Act of Uniformity led to his removal from the commission of the peace. (A. L. Rowse) Throckmorton married twice and had issue by both wives who would continue his legacy at Coughton Court.


20 JANUARY 1569: THE DEATH of Myles Coverdale

Stained glass at St. Mary's, Sudeley Castle (where Queen Catherine is buried). The window is shared with Lady Jane Grey and John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos.

Stained glass at St. Mary’s, Sudeley Castle (where Queen Catherine is buried). The window depicts Myles Coverdale (L) with Lady Jane Grey (C) and John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos (R).

20 JANUARY 1569: THE DEATH of Myles Coverdale, Bishop of Exeter. Coverdale assisted William Tyndale in the complete version of the Bible, printed probably at Hamburgh in 1535. After the death of King Henry, Coverdale became the Dowager Queen’s personal almoner. He assisted her in her endeavours to popularise Erasmus’ works. He preached her funeral sermon in September 1548. Coverdale died in London and was buried in the church of St. Bartholomew. When that church was demolished in 1840 to make way for the new Royal Exchange, his remains were moved to St. Magnus.

Family of Queen Katherine Parr: William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis

Powis Castle, Welshpool, Powys, Wales, UK photo by Cluke.

Powis Castle, Welshpool, Powys, Wales, UK photo by Cluke.

William Herbert, 1st Baron Powis of Powis Castle (c.1573[1] – 7 March 1655/6[1][2][3]) was a Welsh nobleman and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1597 and 1629.

Herbert was born in Powis Castle, the son of Sir Edward Herbert (June 1544–1593) and his wife Mary Stanley, daughter of Sir Thomas Stanley, Under-Treasurer of the Royal Mint.[1][2] His paternal grandparents were William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Lady Anne (Parr).[1][2] He was a nephew of Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke and Lady Anne Herbert, Lady Talbot. By his grandmother, Lady Pembroke (Anne Parr), he was a great-nephew of Queen Katherine Parr.

Marquesses of Powis and Earls of Powis, First Creation. The arms of William Herbert, 1st Marquess and Earl of Powis, grandson of the 1st Baron Powis.

The arms of the Herbert Marquesses of Powis and Earls of Powis, First Creation (1674). Sir William Herbert, 1st Marquess and Earl of Powis was the grandson of the 1st Baron Powis.[4]

Herbert was a member of the Herbert family, a Welsh noble family who descended from Sir William ap Thomas of Raglan Castle. His grandfather, Sir William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke of the second creation (within the Herbert family) was the grandson of the first creation also named William (1423-1469). From birth, William Herbert had the backing of his family’s powerful clan. It also didn’t hurt that his grandfather, the Earl of Pembroke had been a large influence at court during the last few years of Henry VIII and in the reign of his children Edward VI and Elizabeth I (the Protestant monarchs). His grandmother Anne Parr was sister to Queen Katherine. Lord Pembroke’s marriage to the queen’s sister advanced the family and Anne gave legitimacy to the Herbert family. Anne’s descendants also had the luxury of becoming the sole heir of the Parr inheritance once Anne’s brother, William, 1st Marquess of Northampton died in 1571 without issue.

Herbert inherited Powis Castle (at the time it was called “Poole Castell”) from his father.[5] Sir Edward Herbert bought the lordship and castle in 1587 from Edward Grey, a feudal Lord of Powis.[1] Edward Grey was the illegitimate child of the last Lord Powis and Jane Orwell; therefore his father’s estates, which he inherited, came with limitations within Lord Powis’s will.[6] One of those limitations was the obvious title, Baron Powis, which would be bestowed on the Herbert’s in the reign of James I. Edward Grey’s father, Sir Edward Grey, 4th Baron Powis had married firstly to Lady Anne Brandon, daughter of the Duke of Suffolk and his second wife Anne Browne.[7] The marriage however produced no children.[7]

Herbert was High Steward to Elizabeth I of England. In 1597, he was elected Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire. He served as Custos Rotulorum of Montgomeryshire from 1602 to 1641. Upon the coronation of James I in 1603, Herbert was made a Knight of the Bath.[1][2] In 1604, he was elected MP for Montgomeryshire again. He was appointed High Sheriff of Montgomeryshire in 1613. In 1614, he was re-elected MP for Montgomeryshire and was re-elected in 1624, 1625, 1626 and 1628. He was created Baron Powis (a new creation) of Powis Castle on 2 April 1629.[1][2] The creation made him the legitimate successor of the ancient princes of Powis, with undisputed primacy in Montgomeryshire. (CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 503, 511, 584)

Before 1600, Lord Powis married Lady Eleanor Percy, third daughter of Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland and his wife, Hon. Katherine Neville.[1][2] Lady Northumberland was the daughter and co-heiress of John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer of Snape, the step-son of Queen Katherine Parr by her second marriage to his father, the 3rd Baron, also named John.

They had several children including:

  • Percy Herbert, later 2nd Baron Powis.[1][2]
  • Katherine Herbert, who married firstly to Sir Richard Vaughan of Lydiard and secondly to Sir James Palmer, Knt. By her second husband, she was the mother of Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine.[2] Lord Castlemaine was married to Barbara Villiers; mistress to King Charles II of Great Britain who was created Duchess of Cleveland.
  • Lucy Herbert, who married in early 1633 to William Habington (or Abington) of Hinlop.[2][4]

He was succeeded by his son Percy Herbert, 2nd Baron Powis.

Books of Hours belonging to Lady Eleanor Powis, wife to Sir William, 1st Baron Powis.  Lady Eleanor used her Book of Hours to remind her of important anniversaries writing these dates against the Feast Days of the Catholic Calendar at the front of her book. She includes the birthdays of herself, her husband William, and her children. © National Trust Collections

Books of Hours belonging to Lady Eleanor Powis, wife to Sir William, 1st Baron Powis. Lady Eleanor used her Book of Hours to remind her of important anniversaries writing these dates against the Feast Days of the Catholic Calendar at the front of her book. She includes the birthdays of herself, her husband William, and her children. © National Trust Collections

Lady Powis died on 24 October 1650 and was buried in the vault of Lady Latimer (her maternal grandmother Dorothy de Vere, the 1st wife of Sir John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape, himself the 2nd husband of Katherine Parr) in Hackney, Middlesex, London.[1] Lord Powis died five years later, abt 83 years of age, and was buried at St. Mary’s Church in Hendon, Middlesex, London.[1]


  1. George Edward Cokayne. Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, Or Dormant , Volume 6. G. Bell & sons, 1895. pg 295.
  2. Sir Bernard Burke. A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire, Harrison, 1866. pg 275.
  3. There is confusion as to his death date. Burke states 1655. Cokayne and the History of Parliament states 1656.
  4. The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature, Volume 1. John Wiley & Sons, Feb 7, 2012. pg 416. Google eBook
  5. European Heraldry. House of Herbert.
  6. A letter dated 8 October 1590 from Sir Edward Herbert at “The Poole Castell.” Kynaston Peerage Papers No 148.
  7. Morris Charles Jones. The Feudal Barons of Powis, 1868.
  8. Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 300.


© Meg McGath, 20 January 2013.

Queen Katherine Parr: “The Jersey Portrait”

The portrait known as “The Jersey Portrait,” was once thought to depict Lady Jane Grey. Through thorough research however, the conclusion is that this is a portrait of Queen Katherine Parr.

“Parr is known to have commissioned numerous portraits of herself while married to Henry VIII, and this portrait was no doubt one of the many produced and given to friends and family.” (Susan James)

From Dr. Edwards, author of the site “Some Grey Matter“: “The Earl of Jersey informed me via email on 12 November 2012 that an unnamed friend of his mother had previously conducted an unpublished study of the painting. That friend concluded independently that the sitter was Katherine Parr. The friend’s findings were reviewed by experts at Sotheby’s auction house, and Sotheby’s “concurred” with the findings. None of this was known to me prior to 12 November, and neither the friend nor Sotheby’s have published that independent report.”

Little is known about the painting. It is oil on wood panel, consistent with sixteenth-century practices. It is about three-quarter life-size, according to the current Earl of Jersey, measuring 34 inches high by 24 inches wide. The frame bears a label of unknown age and origin identifying the sitter as Queen Mary. No detailed provenance information has ever been published, so that it is not possible to know when or how it came into the Jersey collection at Osterley House. It is worth noting that the original Tudor-era Osterley House had been built in the 1570s by Sir Thomas Gresham, who held Lady Jane’s sister Lady Mary Keyes [Grey] in custody from 1569 to 1572. The Osterley House built by Gresham fell into ruin in the eighteenth century, however, making it unlikely that the portrait originated there. Osterley was acquired and rebuilt in the 1760s by Sir Francis Child, ancestor of the 9th Earl of Jersey. The painting almost certainly entered the Jersey collection after 1760 as decoration for the new house. The painting survives and is now owned by The Earldom of Jersey Trust and held at Radier Manor in the Isle of Jersey. (Edwards)

For more information on the portrait: “Some Grey Matter: THE JERSEY PORTRAIT