Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Caesars of Elizabethan London

The Caesar family of Elizabethan London can be seen as a shining example of the importance of education during this era. The medical education which Dr Guilio received in Italy was key to his immigration to England and led to his court career. As a result of this, he was able to ensure that his children also were highly educated and could forge out successful careers for themselves. They were an immigrant family who used education to gain connections and to integrate themselves into leading contemporary events which dominated English culture, such as expeditions to the New World.

Dr Guilio Caesar Adelmare, born in 1540 in Treviso, Italy, was a court physician under Queens Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. He came to England around 1550 and became naturalized as an English citizen in 1558. Guilio (Julius) was the son of Dr Pietro Maria Adelmare and Paola Caesarino - Paola was descended from the Dukes of Caesarino.
He and his wife Margery Peryent (d.1583) had several highly accomplished children together;
+ Julius Caesar, a judge, MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1558-1636)
+ Henry Caesar, Dean of Ely
+ Thomas Caesar, lawyer and MP (1561-1610)
+ Charles Caesar
+ Elizabeth Caesar, married Dr John Hunt
+ William Caesar, merchant in the Mediterranean
+ Anne Caesar, married Damian Peck, lawyer of Grey's Inn
+ Margaret Caesar, married Nicholas Wright, lawyer of Grey's Inn

Thomas Caesar married three times within four years;
1) Susanna Longe in January 1589, who then died in 1590
2) Anne Beeston (nee Lynne)
3) Susan Ryder on 18th January 1593, with whom he had eight children including Alice and Thomas. Susan was the daughter of Sir William Ryder, a haberdasher and the Lord Mayor of London.
Like his father before him, Thomas served the monarchy of England. Thomas was raised to the position of Clock Keeper to Prince Henry and in 1610 was made Cursitor Baron of the Exchequer and was knighted, however later that year Thomas died.

It is a result of Guilio's own experience of education at Padua University that his sons were also sent to university to gain Bachelor's and Masters degrees. His eldest son Julius was educated at Oxford University, and later as University of Paris, gaining four degrees within six years. Henry Caesar had studied at Cambridge University in his younger years, after which he was a Roman Catholic priest abroad, however he later on renounced his faith and became a Protestant preacher. Julius organised for his younger brother Henry to study at Oxford University in the 1590's, where he gained a BA, MA and Phd in Divinity. Julius was also responsible for promoting his brother William to the service of William Harborne in Turkey in September 1584. Julius and Thomas both being lawyers often consulted each other concerning cases as their focuses were different; Julius often asked for Thomas' help with cases concerning the law of property. Although family loyalty did not mean that Julius always found in favour of his brother's clients; Julius found in favour of his opponent on several noted occasions.

Julius Caesar, MP and Judge

In 1563 when the plague was rife in England, Dr Caesar wrote to William Cecil from Hatfield that in order to contain the spread of the disease, Italian practices should be employed. Possibly influenced by Caesar's ideas, on the 12th March 1564 Cecil issued a proclamation in Westminster, which was an area of particular concern as this is where the government convened and was therefore key to the spread of the disease, of plague orders.

After Dr Guilio Caesar died in 1569, his widow Margery married Michael Lok after 1571, when his first wife had died. It is possible that the couple had up to seven children together as in 1579 Lok states he has fifteen children, and he had at least eight with his first wife. Lok was a merchant and traveller, having been captain of a ship which traded in the Levant, as well as the governor of the Cathay Company, founded in 1577, who funded the explorations of Martin Frobisher. It is this family connection which meant that in 1577 when Lok was finding sponsors and funding for Frobisher's exploration of Cathay, four of Lok's Caesar step-children each gave £25; Julius, Thomas, Charles and Elizabeth. Lok and his own children all gave money towards the expedition too; Lok himself invested £900, whilst seven of his sons each gave £25; Matthew, Henry, Michael, Zachary, Eleazer, Gerson and Benjamin. The expedition was not financed solely by fellow merchants, it also included payments from many prominent court figures; Dr John Dee, Robert Dudley, Francis Walsingham, William Cecil and Queen Elizabeth, to name a few.

1 comment:

  1. I was born a Caesar, and am fascinated to know where you got all the information on my ancestor. We've been trying to get more on the Elizabethan era family, so any pointers would be appreciated.

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