Ladies-in-Waiting: Anne Russell, Countess of Bedford

Anne Sapcote, Countess of Bedford
Anne Russell (née Sapcote), Countess of Bedford by George Perfect Harding pencil, 1802-1853 6 5/8 in. x 5 3/8 in. (168 mm x 137 mm) Purchased, 1929 Reference Collection NPG D5636 Anne Russell (née Sapcote), Countess of Bedford (died 1559), Former wife of John Broughton and of Sir Richard Jerningham, and later wife of 1st Earl of Bedford; daughter of Sir Guy Sapcote. [National Portrait Gallery, London]
Anne Russell (née Sapcote), Countess of Bedford (died 1559) was the daughter and heiress of Sir Guy Sapcote and Margaret Wolston.[1] By her son by the Earl of Bedford, Anne is the ancestress of the current Dukes of Bedford. The current heir to the Dukedom is Henry Robin Charles Russell, Marquess of Tavistock (b. 2005). Anne is also an ancestor to other Dukedoms which include the Dukes of Beaufort and Manchester.

Anne’s first husband was John Broughton. The couple had three children, Katherine, John, and Anne. Anne’s daughter, Katherine later married to William Howard1st Baron Howard of Effingham, son of Thomas Howard2nd Duke of Norfolk and Agnes Tilney.[1] Another daughter, named Anne became the wife of Sir Thomas Cheney of the Isle of Sheppey.[BHO] Sadly, the elder John died in June 1519.

Anne married secondly to Sir Richard Jerningham. The two had no issue.[1] Jerningham was a diplomat and gentleman of the privy chamber for Henry VIII. However, Anne was widowed again by 1525.

As a twice widowed woman at court, Anne was involved in court politics, was intelligent, was mature, and was wealthy. One would say she sounded much like Katherine Parr did after her second husband, Lord Latimer, died in 1543. All of these characteristics made Anne a perfect match even if she had three children from her first marriage.[2]

John Russell
A portrait of John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, after Hans Holbein the Younger

garter plate john russell 1st earl of bedford 1539
Garter stall-plate of John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford (c. 1485 – 14 March 1554/1555), KG, nominated to the Order in 1539. The arms are blazoned: quarterly of four: 1st grand quarter: quarterly 1st & 4th: Argent, a lion rampant gules on a chief sable three escallops of the first (Russell); 2nd & 3rd: Azure, a tower argent (de la Tour); 2nd grand quarter: Gules, three herrings hauriant argent (Herringham); 3rd: Sable, a griffin segreant between three crosses crosslet fitchy argent (Froxmere); 4th: Sable, three chevronnels ermine in dexter chief a crescent or for difference. Crest: A goat statant argentarmed and unguled or; Supporters: Dexter: A goat argent, Sinister: A lion rampant gules (Debrett’s Peerage, 1968, p.131), with supporters on exchanged sides) Motto: Plus que Jamais (“More than Never”). Inscription: “Of the very noble and powerful Lord John, Earl of Bedford, Baron Russell, Knight of the Very Noble Order of the Garter and Keeper of the Privy Seal, was installed at Windsor the 18th day of May the year of King Henry VIII of his reign the 31st, the year 1539”). [Wikipedia]
John Russell1st Earl of Bedford (1485-14 March 1555) was the son of James Russell and Alice Wyse. He married Anne in 1526.[1] At the time of their marriage, Russell was a newly made man of the privy chamber to Henry VIII. Russell would go on to serve as Lord High Admiral and Lord Privy Seal.

Russell’s career spanned over the reigns of King Henry VII to Queen Mary I. In 1506, he was in service to the future Queen Mary’s grandparents, Queen Isabel I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, when they were shipwrecked at Weymouth. He escorted the couple to London and was praised by the royal couple to King Henry upon his manners. He became a gentleman of the privy chamber to Henry VII in 1507.

In the reign of Henry VIII, Russell was used for diplomatic purposes and was knighted in 1522 after he lost an eye fighting in Brittany.

In 1528, Anne lost her only son by her first marriage, John. She was overcome with grief. As noted by Sir Thomas Heneage,[2]

“My lady Russell takes the death of her son so sore that Russell fears, if she should not obtain your favour [Cardinal Thomas Wolsey] for the wardship of the younger sister, it will be her utter undoing.”[2]

Sadly, the power struggle between Anne Boleyn and Wolsey would keep Lady Russell from obtaining the wardship of her daughter, which she so desperately hoped for.[2]

Anne helped her husband on many occasions. She is known to have appealed to Lord Cromwell about debts that had not been repaid to her husband. She sent gifts to the King and when John was sick, she sent a letter to Cromwell to send a doctor. In an effort to secure the wardship of Anne’s daughter, John also wrote in 1528, but failed to obtain it. He did however secure the wardship of other family members. He also secured the property rights as the Sapcote’s heiress.[2]

However, in 1535, Anne lost yet another child. This time it was Katherine who had become Baroness as the wife to Baron Effingham.

Sir John Russell survived the fall of Anne Boleyn and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1536. In 1539, he became a Knight of the Garter. He was also granted some of the estates of the attained Duke of Buckingham who had been executed for treason. He became Comptroller of the Household from 1537-1539.

Russell continued to rise among his peers and was granted the title Earl of Bedford on 19 January 1550 by the boy King, Edward VI.

Francis Russell 2nd Earl of Bedford
Portrait of Lord Francis Russell. Black and coloured chalks, pen and Indian ink on pink-primed paper, 24.2 × 18.1 cm, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle. The drawing is heavily rubbed and disfigured, and the penwork is not original. Francis Russell (1527–1585) was the son of John Russell, Ist Earl of Bedford, whose portrait Holbein also drew. He succeeded to the earldom in 1555. Reference K. T. Parker, The Drawings of Hans Holbein at Windsor Castle, Oxford: Phaidon, 1945, OCLC 822974, p. 55.

The couple had one son and heir, Francis (1527-28 July 1585). Francis eventually became the 2nd Earl of Bedford upon the death of his father. Like his father, Francis was very active at court. He rose to prominence under Queen Elizabeth I. He was made privy councillor and was an Ambassador. His tasks included that of representing Her Majesty at the christening of Prince James Stuart (the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley). He was a guest of honor at the subsequent banquet and masque held in the Prince’s honor. Francis married to Margaret St. John, the great-great-granddaughter of Margaret Beauchamp of Bletso. The couple had four sons and three daughters. He married secondly to Bridget Hussey, daughter of John Hussey, 1st Lord and Lady Anne Grey, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Kent and Lady Katherine Herbert. Francis had no issue by his second wife. His issue by his first wife included Lady Elizabeth who married the Earl of Bath and had issue, Lady Anne who married the Earl of Warwick, Lady Margaret who married the Earl of Cumberland and had issue, and Lord William Russell who became the father to the 4th Earl of Bedford. Lord William Russell was the grandfather of William Russell, 1st Duke of Bedford.[1]

Anne died in 1559. Her and her husband were buried in the Bedford Chapel in Chenies, Buckinghamshire. A description of the monument erected is below.

In the chancel is the oldest completed monument in the Chapel, early 16th c. most probably of Italian workmanship. Executed in red-veined alabaster, probably from Derbyshire, entirely uncoloured. The sides of the tomb chest are panelled, ornamented with pilasters, arabesques in relief and inlaid with Venetian Renaissance motifs of lozenges and roundels of clouded black marble and polished flint. Carved shields with achievement of arms are in each panel and at ends – eight in number. Recumbent effigies of the Earl and Countess, hands joined and raised in the attitude of prayer – the Earl’s figure clad in plate armour with the collar and mantle of the Garter, coronet and cross hilted sword. The head is on a helmet with goat couchant crest, mantling arranged to cover the hollow end and the feet on a lion. The face is modelled from a portrait of the Earl, by Holbein, in Woburn Abbey and indicates the droop of the eyelid over the eye which was damaged by an arrow at the siege of Morlaix in 1523. [Heraldry of the Bedford Chapel Chenies]

Links

Sources

  1. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 9, 73-76.
  2. Carole Levin, Anna Riehl Bertolet, Jo Eldridge Carney. A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern EnglishwomenExemplary Lives and Memorable Acts, 1500-1650. Taylor & Francis, Nov 3, 2016. Google eBook
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Ladies-in-Waiting: Elizabeth Stonor

Elizabeth Stonor, Lady Hoby
Portrait of Lady Hoby, inscribed “The Lady Hobbei”. Black and coloured chalks, pen and Indian ink on pink-primed paper, 27.8 × 20.3 cm, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle. The drawing has been so rubbed and reinforced by later hands that it is disfigured, obliterating Holbein’s original work. If the inscription—added later and not necessarily reliable—is correct, the sitter is most likely Elizabeth Hoby, wife of the diplomat Sir Philip Hoby (1505–1558), whose portrait Holbein also drew. Reference K. T. Parker, The Drawings of Hans Holbein at Windsor Castle, Oxford: Phaidon, 1945, OCLC 822974, p. 50.

Elizabeth Stonor, Lady Hoby, daughter of Walter Stonor of Hawton, Nottinghamshire and Fenny Compton.

While most wives in the Tudor period cannot be documented, Elizabeth seems to have kept up correspondences with her father and they are well documented for two decades. Elizabeth’s first husband, Sir William Compton died in 1528. Unfortunately for her, the jointure she was promised had not been established by the time of his death. Her second husband, Sir Walter Walshe, sued Compton’s estate in Chancery. The matter was not settled and Walshe was dead by 1538. As a widow, Elizabeth returned home and her father took up the cause instead. Letters were sent to Cromwell to discuss the matter. Stonor sent the fee for the first year, reminding him to be her “good lord” and protect her from “great wrongs”.[1]

In 1540, Elizabeth married to Sir Philip Hoby,  the son of William Hoby of Leominster by his first wife, Catherine Forster. After their marriage, the two rented their chief residence, Wreysbury, from Elizabeth’s father.[1] Philip was a diplomat under King Henry VIII. He was also a huge supporter of the Protestant Reformation. Hoby was sent to places like Spain and Portugal. In 1538, he was tasked with getting a portrait done of Christina, Duchess of Milan by Holbein. Hoby and Holbein then went to France to paint Princess Margaret of France and Mary de Bourbon. Throughout the reign of Henry VIII, Hoby continued to advance and was eventually knighted after the siege of Boulogne. The couple had no children.

In respect to letters, after she married Hoby, Elizabeth was reluctant to spend time with her father despite his support during her first two marriages. One topic that comes up is one of religion. Sir Walter told his daughter’s servant, Richard Scudamore,[1]

“that he [Stonor] knew very well how to order himself and that my lady was much given to the Scriptures and that she always was arguing and contending with him in the same, and which thing he could in no wise bear and specially at her hands.”[1]

Another difficulty between Elizabeth and her father rose with his apparent new love, a “mistress Margaret”, who Elizabeth feared he would marry. Eventually, after much discussion between Scudumore and Stonor, Stonor replied with,[1]

“if it please my lady to come unto him to make merry and not meddle with him or any of his household she would be as welcome as ever she was.”[1]

The reply evidentely satisfied Elizabeth as she decided to spend Christmas at Stonor after all.[1]

When Tudor women married again, they used their subsequent husbands to safeguard their children’s inheritance. In some cases this worked and in others it did not. Luckily for Elizabeth, Sir Philip Hoby seems to have delivered in this area. Elizabeth asked Hoby to safeguard her inheritance for her daughters she had, had by her second husband, Walsh. Hoby delivered and made funds available for Elizabeth when she needed them.[1]

The couple were attendants upon Henry VIII’s sixth queen. Lady Hoby was a lady to Her Majesty and was part of her inner circle of ladies who read scriptures and continued to push the reformation of the Church. Lord Hoby was a part of the queen’s council from 1543, onward. He also was a steward, later on, to Baron Seymour of Sudeley.

By chance, the couple swapped the Abbey of Bisham with the former queen, Anne of Cleves. There was some delay as Anne was not satisfied with giving up the site as requested by Edward VI. In the church of All Saints is a window dedicated to the Hobys. The lights also feature the arms of several of the Hobys, including Sir Philip and Elizabeth. The Abbey at one time belonged to the Earls of Salisbury. It belonged to the last Plantagenet and York Princess, Margaret of Clarence–or–better known as “Lady Salisbury”. The Countess of Salisbury lost her head and her possessions when her cousin, Henry VIII decided to kill her. Lady Salisbury was a cousin to Queen Katherine Parr’s paternal grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Parr/Vaux.

Lady Hoby was lucky enough to be sketched by Hans Holbein. However, due to later rubbing and re-enforcing, the portrait is not in good quality. The description of the sitter was most likely added later and may not be reliable as most Tudor portraits were labeled after the period they were created. If the inscription is correct, the sitter is most likely Elizabeth Stonor.

Sources

  1. Barbara J. Harris. English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers, 2002. Google eBook