RECENT investigation into the prominent Elizabethan family of Sir Francis Knollys and his wife Katherine Carey Knollys has shed new light on the identities of their children. Here, we present new information regarding the identification of the Knollys children, specifically of Dudley Knollys, born 9 May 1562, who lived less than two months and is represented as an infant effigy lying next to Katherine Carey Knollys on the Knollys funeral monument in St. Nicholas Church, Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire. The proposal is that Dudley Knollys was female, not male, and in conjunction with new analysis confirms that Francis Knollys and Katherine Carey Knollys had an equal number of daughters and sons, as designated on both their Rotherfield Greys monument and Katherine’s Westminster Abbey plaque, although the monuments differ on whether the number was seven or eight. Commissioned by William Knollys, the second but oldest surviving son, the funeral monument sits in its own chapel projecting from the north side of the chancel. Records indicate that the monument was installed in the church in 1605. The canopy, with the two kneeling figures arrayed in noble robes and coronets, was a later addition to the memorial, which can be dated between 1616 and 1625 when William was created Viscount Wallingford and before his creation as Earl of Banbury as he wears a viscount’s coronet, not that of an earl. The structure of the canopy resting on four pillars does not interfere with the effigies or weepers on the base so it could have been added without disruption to the existing structure to celebrate William Knollys’s elevation from Baron Knollys to Viscount Wallingford.1 While the Knollys family held considerable power under Queen Elizabeth I, her reluctance to create peers left William well-placed in terms of royal office, inheriting his father’s offices and leading the Knollys faction in Parliament, but with no noble titles.2 In contrast, King James I of England was generous in distributing titles and created William Baron Knollys of Greys on 13 May 1603 shortly after the Stuart household set up court in London with further titles added in 1616 and 1626.3 In April 1574, William Knollys married first Dorothy Bray Brydges, Baroness Chandos,4 the daughter of Edmund, Baron Bray. Lady Chandos was sixteen years William’s senior with multiple children from her first marriage to Edmund Brydges, Baron Chandos. Her Knollys marriage was childless and seems to have been more of a business transaction, bringing considerable financial support to the union as she was co-heir of her father’s estates and sole executrix of Brydges’s will. She had served at Mary I’s court and participated in the first extant Elizabethan New Year’s gift exchange, probably retiring from court about 1562. After her 1574 marriage to William, she was a regular gift exchange participant for the rest of Elizabeth’s reign. When he was knighted in 1586, Dorothy’s title, as recorded on the gift exchange rolls, was Baroness Chandos Knollys instead of Baroness Chandos dowager. She died 31 October 1605 and is buried at St. Nicholas Church, Rotherfield Greys.5 On 23 December 1605 within eight weeks of his first wife’s death and in need of an heir, William Knollys, age 60, married Elizabeth Howard, about age 20, daughter of Thomas Howard and Katherine Knyvett Howard, Earl and Countess of Suffolk.6 Her parents, although active during the reign of Elizabeth, came to prominence under James I. Thomas was created Earl of Suffolk and privy councillor and Katherine succeeded Mary Radcliffe as keeper of the Queen’s Jewels for Queen Anne. Another daughter Frances, successively Countess of Essex and of Somerset, was indicted along with her second husband Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester for the murder of Thomas Overbury.7 Because of this scandal both William and Elizabeth Knollys experienced political set-backs from which they eventually recovered. As the funeral monument was installed in 1605 and this second marriage happened eight days before the end of that year, it would be highly unlikely that the canopy installation depicting Elizabeth Howard Knollys could have occurred simultaneously with the installation of the base of the monument.8 The style of the coronet worn by both William and Elizabeth is that of viscount rank as the silver, or in the case of this monument gold gilt, balls rest directly on the circlet and are more numerous than on a baron’s coronet. The coronet for an earl includes strawberry leaves and the silver balls are elevated onto spires or spokes. The remains of such spikes can be seen on the coronet of the first female weeper on the side of the monument, Lettice Knollys, whose first marriage made her Countess of Essex and upon her second Countess of Leicester. Additionally, the armorial shield under the female figure atop the canopy is replete with Howard heraldry. This would indicate that the canopy was installed after William was created Viscount Wallingford in 1616 but before he became Earl of Banbury in 1626.9 A later installation date for the canopy would also explain the difference in hair styles for the male weepers, which includes William. The hair of the male weepers on the main structure is longer and wavy, as are the beards. The base structure includes Sir Francis Knollys and his wife Katherine Carey Knollys in effigy lying on their backs looking toward the underside of the canopy. On Francis’s side kneel seven male weepers and on Katherine’s seven female weepers. Additionally, there is a very small effigy of an infant lying next to Katherine’s effigy. Katherine is wearing a pendant, which is also portrayed in the 1562 painting of Portrait of a Woman, probably Catherine Carey, Lady Knollys, attributed to Steven van der Meulen.10 The presence of the unique pendant in both the painting and on the effigy along with the coincident dates of Katherine’s last pregnancy seem to confirm the sitter’s identity as that of Katherine Carey and the unborn infant, Dudley. According to Sir Francis Knollys’s Latin Dictionary, in which he recorded the births of his children, ‘Dudley Knolles was borne uppon saterdaye the 9th of maye, halffe a qwarter of an howre before 2 of the klocke at afternoonne ao. 1562’.11 Given the close relationship between the Knollys and Dudley families, especially Robert Dudley, later Earl of Leicester, it was reasonable to assume that someone from that family stood as godparent for this infant. This was possibly Elizabeth Tailboys Dudley, Countess of Warwick, second wife to Ambrose Dudley, as one court source described the child as Dudley Warwick, who was born alive but died, or ‘was killed’, within two months.12 Custom decreed that there were three godparents with two of the same sex of the child and a third of the opposite sex. With the Queen standing as one of the godparents and the Countess of Warwick as a possible second, the sex of the child could be confirmed as female, although the identity of the third godparent is not known. The assumption that Dudley Knollys was a male child has persisted and seemed to be based solely upon the infant’s first name. However, the chosen first name does not indicate gender. For example, Douglas Howard, born 1542, daughter of William Howard and Margaret Gamage Howard, Baron and Baroness of Effingham, bore a family name as her first name. Her gender is confirmed by her appointment as a maid of honour to Elizabeth I and her subsequent marriages.13 It has been conjectured that the choice of Douglas for a first name was given in honour of her godmother Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox.14 In the same naming tradition of a family name for a daughter, the first name of Dudley was also chosen for the daughters of Sir Arthur Gorges and Lady Elizabeth Clinton Gorges, William Hyde and Elizabeth Shipman Hyde, and Sir John St Leger and Lady Catherine Neville St Leger. Confirmation that the infant Dudley Knollys was female comes from the Elizabethan New Year’s Gift Rolls where this item was recorded under Sundry Gifts at Various Tymes on the 1563 roll: ‘Syr Frauncis Knolles—Gevon by the Quene her Matie this xviij of Maye Anno quarto Regni Regine Elizabeth at the Christeninge of Syr Frauncis Knowlles his Doughter—Thre guilt Bolles weith a couer bought of the Goldesmythes poz xlvj oz di.’ The Queen’s role as godparent is confirmed by this gift and in the Audit Office record of the payment of twenty-six shillings paid by warrant dormant delivered as the ‘Q’s maties rewarde’ to the nurse and midwife for their assistance with the birth.15 There is no mention of the sex of the child in either the Audit Office record or in other news of the court. From the Latin Dictionary, we know that the only child born close to this date was Dudley Knollys. This combined with the gift roll listing confirms Dudley’s gender as female.16 Misidentification of the gender of an infant did occur in court documents including Treasurer of the Chamber accounts and the Privy Seal documents as well as in the New Year’s Gift exchanges. In 1572, Privy Seal records a christening gift of a cup with a cover gilt for Lord Paget’s daughter who was a son, William. The Queen was godmother to the son of Thomas Lord Paget and Nazareth Newton Paget, widow of Thomas Southwell and a lady of the Privy Chamber. In 1573, Treasurer accounts record that the Queen was godmother to Sir Henry Radcliffe’s daughter. This was a son, Robert who became Earl of Sussex in 1593. In 1575, Thomas Wenman and Jane West Wenman’s son was actually a daughter, Elizabeth. The Queen was godmother and presented the child with a silver gilt cup with a cover. While this was not the actual problem with Dudley Knollys, these records demonstrate that errors were bound to be made.17 One last indication that this child was female is the placement of the infant effigy alongside the mother on the female side of the monument. We suspect this simple key to the infant’s gender identification has been clouded throughout the last four hundred years by sentimentality. Thinking that the close affection that a mother would have for losing a child not yet eight weeks old suits the placement of the figure close to its nurturing mother but muddies the otherwise clear layout and organization of the rest of the monument of females on one side and males on the other. The decision to place a male infant effigy on the female side would have to have been made by William Knollys when he commissioned the monument which was thirty-six years after Katherine’s death and forty-three years after the infant’s death. By acknowledging that Dudley was female, the number of children along with their relative genders, born to Sir Francis and Lady Katherine can be confirmed. Lady Knollys’s plaque in the Chapel of St. Edmund in Westminster Abbey, where she is buried, says that she gave birth to sixteen children equally male and female.18 This is two more than represented on the funeral monument but accurately reflects even numbers of males and females. The plaque was placed in the Abbey during Sir Francis’s lifetime, and therefore should be considered a contemporary record, although its location within the chapel was changed in the 1960s. Lady Katherine Knollys’s monument is stylistically of the period and fits the date of her death in 1569. According to Adam White, the more delicate architectural surround relates to that of good-quality London work of the 1560s and 1570s, with similarity to the monument to Frances, Duchess of Suffolk in the Abbey which is dated 1563.19 Given the elaborate nature of Lady Knollys’s funeral, paid for by Queen Elizabeth, the small plaque installed in the Abbey is understated. Her sumptuous hearse sparked a conflict over who would keep possession of it, requiring intervention by Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England.20 After all, her brother, Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon’s monument has been called ‘breathtaking in its arrogance’ and is the tallest in the Abbey.21 In 1569 when Katherine was buried, Francis was in a state of grief over the loss of his wife, dealing with details of a large household, and actively involved in government. He had just transferred custody of Mary Queen of Scots to the Earl of Shrewsbury, who commented to the Earl of Leicester: ‘The Queen of Scots coming to my charge will make me soon grey-headed’.22 It is unknown if Francis was consulted for details of the memorial plaque. One possibility could have been that he said he had an equal number of sons and daughters. Based on the known number of sons along with the recently deceased infant, someone counted this to be eight sons, which meant there had to be eight daughters for a total of sixteen. As of this writing, records have been confirmed for fourteen children, equally male and female with Dudley as the seventh daughter. The weepers on the monument in Rotherfield Greys represent fourteen figures, equally male and female, reinforcing Sir Francis’s personal records of his children’s births in the Latin Dictionary. It is possible that two other pregnancies ended in stillbirths, or died before a christening could be arranged. If so, it might explain why the births were not recorded in the Latin Dictionary, which seems in all other ways to be replete with details. The seven female children in birth order were; Mary (b.25 Oct 1542), Lettice (b.6 Nov 1543), Maude (b.30 Mar 1548), Elizabeth (b.16 Jun 1549), Anne (b.19 Jul 1555), Katherine (b.21 Oct 1559), and Dudley (b.9 May 1562). The seven male children in birth order would be Henry (b.12 Apr 1541), William (b.20 Mar 1545), Edward (b.18 Oct 1546), Robert (b.9 Nov 1550), Richard (b.21 May 1552), Francis (b.14 Aug 1553), and Thomas (b.2 Feb 1558).23 The births come in very close succession. The largest gaps are between Anne and Thomas, thirty-one months, and Katherine and Dudley, twenty-nine months. A possible explanation for the gaps between births could have been stillbirths, although the couple’s Marian exile between 1555 and 1558 likely had an effect. By 1555 Francis was in Basel, moving on to Frankfurt where Katherine and the children joined him. They returned to England upon Elizabeth’s accession in November 1558. The gap between Katherine and Dudley has no such explanation as both husband and wife were in England before Elizabeth I’s coronation. Further discrepancies in the historical record derive from misunderstanding. Varlow argues for eight sons, with Dudley as the eighth, drawing support for this number from the line ‘I have six sons living, besides my eldest’ written by Sir Francis in a 1568 letter to William Cecil.24 Six sons plus the eldest is seven sons making Sir Francis’s statement accurate and in alignment with the figures represented on the monument. Two sons predeceased their father but not until 1575 (Edward) and 1582 (Henry). Two more hypotheses that bear reexamination include the seventh female weeper representing a daughter-in-law and the myth of a daughter named Cecilia. Varlow suggests that the seventh female weeper is William’s first wife Dorothy Bray Brydges Knollys Baroness Chandos and by 1605 also Baroness Knollys.25 There is no available evidence for this. The marriage did not occur until 1574. It was companionable, but clearly not affectionate and William’s hasty remarriage demonstrates an eagerness to move on. At the time of Lady Katherine Knollys’s death, she had only one daughter-in-law, Margaret Cave Knollys, who married her son Henry Knollys in an elaborate celebration on 16 July 1565 at Durham House with the queen in attendance. ‘The Queen is still at Greenwich. … She will come hither on her way to Richmond within seven or eight days, and will be present at the marriage of the son of her Vice-Chamberlain, who is called Knollys, with the daughter of Ambrose Cave, of the Council. She is rich and an only child’.26 Margaret Cave Knollys retired from court after her wedding and spent most of her time managing the family estates. As the monument was not installed in St. Nicholas Church in Rotherfield Greys until 1605, any other daughter-in-law might have been chosen by its patron, William Knollys, but there is no evidence that he made this decision in the interests of symmetry or sentimentality. The first female weeper is wearing ermine and a coronet, although it has been damaged over the years and the balls on elevated spires broken off, yet the bases of the spires are still just visible. Consensus is that this is Lettice Knollys who was a countess twice over having married Walter Devereux, Viscount Hereford and subsequently Earl of Essex and then, without the Queen’s knowledge or permission, married the favorite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The remaining six female weepers are dressed similarly in black court dresses with circular French farthingales and no embellishment but are likely to represent the remaining six Knollys daughters. Other women who became daughters-in-law after Katherine’s death included Katherine Vaughn Knollys (m. Robert in 1585), Joan Higham Knollys (m. Richard in 1578), Lettice Barrett Knollys (m. Francis ‘the younger’ in 1588), and Odelia de Morada Knollys (m. Thomas in 1590).27 None of these women are known to have had an especially close relationship with William, nor, did any of them have noble titles warranting a special place on the monument. The suggestion that a daughter-in-law in the mix is a hypothesis regarding a design decision in favour of symmetry. Putting a first wife in the position of weeper dressed in a plain court dress in line with the Knollys daughters would have undercut the message of grandeur and aspiration that inspired the monument. Whereas, whichever date is valid for the installation of the monument’s canopy, a daughter-in-law is present as William’s wife. The idea of a daughter-in-law among the kneeling figures is echoed by Norton but she does not speculate as to which one.28 Yet, there is no need for the inclusion of a daughter-in-law to substantiate seven daughters as seven daughters have been identified. An alternative theory is that one of the seven weepers is Cecilia Knollys, a daughter not recorded in the Latin Dictionary and for whom there is no evidence in the historical record. Cecilia seems to have been invented in the nineteenth century when a portrait listed in an inventory of Knollys family belongings at Fernhill Park is recorded as ‘Cecilia Knollys, daughter to the Lord treasurer, afterwards Lady Leighton, 1580’.29 The author of the list, General Sir William Knollys, is reported to have qualified his identification claiming the paintings were hung too high for him to accurately read their identifications. This misidentification was then repeated in Violet Wilson’s Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honour and Ladies of the Privy Chamber, published in 1922 and again in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for Sir Francis Knollys. The Latin Dictionary has no record of a daughter named Cecilia, but does list a daughter named Elizabeth and the painting in question has now been identified as of Elizabeth Knollys, later Lady Leighton.30 Given these identifications, there would only be two repeated figures amongst those represented on the monument. William Knollys is represented once kneeling at the head of the line of male weepers acknowledging his role as the accumulator of the most offices, titles, and wealth, and patron of the monument. He is represented again on the top of the canopy which was a later addition to the monument and which commemorated his further ennoblement and second marriage. The other double representation would be the daughter Dudley, the last in the female line of weepers. Having been christened, though living only a few weeks, Dudley could have been called upon to weep, or pray, for the matriarch and patriarch of this significant Elizabethan family. We posit that the gender reassignment of Dudley, as recorded in the Latin Dictionary and the gift exchange records, brings the total number of Knollys children into alignment with the representation in the St. Nicholas Chapel in Rotherfield Greys, while the plaque in Westminster Abbey is half correct in reporting an equal number of male and female children but incorrect in the total number born. In designing a monument to his prolific Elizabethan court family, William accurately represented himself and his thirteen siblings as weepers and subsequently further embellished the monument as his own status increased. Footnotes 1 Complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, ed. G. Cokayne (London, 2000), I, 400–1. Cokayne identifies William Knollys’ mother as Mary Boleyn Carey (his grandmother) instead of Katherine Carey, who was niece, not sister of Queen Anne Boleyn; correspondence with Adam White, 25 July 2017. 2 For a complete list of offices held see the second edition of Titled Elizabethans: A Directory of Elizabethan Court, State and Church Officers, 1558–1603, eds. A. Kinney and J. Lawson (New York, 2014) and K. Bundesen, ‘“No other faction but my own”: Dynastic politics and Elizabeth I’s Carey Cousins’, unpublished PhD thesis (University of Nottingham, 2008). 3 The History of Parliament: House of Commons 1558–1603, ed. P. W. Hasler (London, 1981), 417–18. 4 Ibid. (1981). Dorothy Bray was Baroness Chandos based on her first marriage. A woman with the rank of ‘lady’ or higher, attained either by marriage or by birth, continued to hold this rank throughout the remainder of her life. If she subsequently married a man of a lower rank, she retained her superior title. See J. Lawson, ‘Bess of Hardwick and Elizabeth St. Loe’, N&Q, lxi (2014), 206–11. 5 The Elizabethan New Year’s Gift Exchanges, 1559–1603, ed. J. Lawson (New York, 2013). 6 H. Causton, The Howard papers: with a Biographical Pedigree and Criticism (Kent, 1862), 529–31. ‘Of this lady’, writes Henry Howard of Corby, ‘the best I can say of her is, that she was not so bad as her next sister’. 7 A. Bellany, ‘Howard, Frances, countess of Somerset (1590–1632)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), online edn, Jan 2008 <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/53028>, accessed 18 July 2017. 8 We have taken as fact that the 1605 date for the monument which has persisted throughout the subsequent centuries is in the New Style instead of the Old Style in which 1605 would not end until Lady Day, 25 March, in what we would now refer to as 1606. 9 Hasler, The History of Parliament; The House of Commons 1558–1603, I (London,1981). 10 Meulen became active in England in 1560 and became a naturalized citizen in 1562, the year of the portrait. See J. David, Conservation Examination Reveals Lady Knollys’s past. Yale Center for British Art <http://britishart.yale.edu/featured-story/30/3110> (accessed 9 September 2017). 11 S. Varlow, ‘Sir Francis Knollys’s Latin dictionary: new evidence for Katherine Carey’, Institute of Historical Research, lxxx (2007), 315–23. 12 I. W. Archer, and S. Adams, G. W. Bernard, M. Greengrass, P. E. J. Hammer, and F. Kisby, Religion, Politics, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England, Camden Fifth Series (Cambridge, 2003), 22; M. Colthorpe, Elizabethan Court Day by Day, <http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/mediawiki/media/images_pedia_folgerpedia_mw/d/d9/ECDbD_1562.pdf (accessed 26 July 2017)>. 13 C. Merton, ‘The women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth: ladies, gentlewomen and maids of the privy chamber, 1553–1603,’ unpublished PhD thesis (Trinity College, Cambridge, 1990) She married John Sheffield, Baron Sheffield, in 1560; Edward Stafford in 1579; and may have married Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester by whom she had Robert Dudley (1574). 14 R. K. Marshall, ‘Douglas, Lady Margaret, countess of Lennox (1515–1578)’, ODNB (Oxford, 2004) online edn, May 2006 <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/7911>, accessed 19 July 2017. 15 PRO AO 1/380/3; BL Yelverton MSS 4800–48196; ‘A “journal” of matters of state …’, ed. S. Adams et al. in Religion, Politics, and Society in 16th-Century England, xxii (London, 2003), 35–136, at 103. 16 Varlow, ‘Sir Francis Knollys’s Latin dictionary’, throughout; Bundesen, ‘No faction other than my own’, and Lawson, Elizabethan New Year’s Gift Exchanges—all followed the assumption that Dudley was male so could not be the seventh daughter. 17 M. Colthorpe, ‘Elizabethan Court Day By Day’, Folgerpedia, <http://folgerpedia.folger.edu/The_Elizabethan_Court_Day_by_Day>, accessed 22 July 2017. 18 Westminster Abbey web site. Katherine Knollys’s page is at <http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/katherine-knollys> (accessed 25 July 2017). 19 Varlow, ‘Sir Francis Knollys’s Latin dictionary, 317; Katherine Knollys monument, Westminster Abbey, <http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/katherine-knollys> (accessed 25 July 2017); A. White, ‘Church Monuments in Britain c. 1560–c. 1660’, unpublished PhD Thesis, University of London, 1992); correspondence with Adam White, 25 July 2017. 20 For the sumptuous nature of Lady Knollys’s funeral see Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, v.1, 1306–1571, p. 415 expenditure 9 July 1569. Her hearse was so elaborate that the dean of Westminster and the heralds both wanted to keep it. 21 L. Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558–1641 (Oxford,1965), 263–4. 22 Pepys, 144 per Colthorpe, ‘Elizabethan Court Day By Day’. 23 Henry is recorded as Harry in the Latin Dictionary. 24 Sir Francis to William Cecil, 12 Sept 1568, Calendar of State Papers, Scottish, 1563–9, II. 505, item 811. 25 Varlow, ‘Sir Francis Knollys’s Latin dictionary, 318. 26 De Silva to Philip II, 9 Sept, 1565, Calendar of State Papers, Spanish, I, 445–6. 27 See Bundesen, ‘No other faction but my own’, throughout. 28 E. Norton, The Boleyn Women: The Tudor femmes Fatales who changed English history (Gloucestershire, 2013), illustration 41 caption. 29 The list is printed in F. G. Lee, The History, Descriptions and Antiquities of the Prebendal Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Thame (England, 1883), 599–600. 30 Elizabeth Knollys (b. 16 June 1549) was a maid of the privy chamber receiving livery for the queen’s coronation in 1559 and later serving as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber. She married Thomas Leighton on 10 May 1579 in the Chapel Royal. She consistently appears in the Gift Rolls. She died c.1605 when her annuity was granted to Elizabeth Howard Southwell Stuart Lady Carrick. Presently the portrait is in the collection of Montacute House. See Bundesen, ‘No other faction but my own’, throughout; Lawson, Elizabethan New Year’s Gift Exchanges; Merton, ‘The women who served Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth’, 263. © The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. 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Notes and Queries – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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