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.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A St Loe murderer

Bess of Hardwick

In January 1559 Bess of Hardwick married her third husband William St Loe, a widower with two grown daughters; Mary and Margaret.
William was the eldest son of his parents, Sir John St Loe and his wife Margaret, and therefore inherited the family fortune upon his father's death in 1559. When John St Loe died, he left his eldest William, as well as his youngest two sons, Clement and John, and his only daughter Elizabeth well provided for with money and properties, however to Edward he left nothing. This was probably due to him knowing of Edward's lack of responsibility when it came to money; in 1553 Margaret had encourage John to give Edward the lease of Whitchurch Manor in Somerset, however he had sold it three years later and had quickly spent all of the money. In 1559 William gave Edward the stewardship of Sutton Court with residential rights for life. After William's death, Edward claimed that on his deathbed he had given Edward a lifetime interest in Sutton Court.

Sutton Court
Edward's marital life was also a source of scandal. In 1558 Edward married Bridget Scutt (nee Malte). Bridget was the second wife of John Scutt, a former tailor to King Henry VIII, and they had a twelve year old son Anthony as well as eighteen year old Margaret who was John Scutt's daughter from his first marriage. John Scutt died suddenly in 1558 and only a month later Bridget married Edward. At the time of this marriage it was found that Bridget was three months pregnant by Edward. Only two weeks after John Scutt died, Edward had purchased from Bridget the property leases that Scutt had owned; the manors of Stanton Drew and East Cranmer. If the situation was not suspicious enough already, only a few months after the wedding Bridget herself mysteriously died. Six months after Bridget's death, Edward married again. The lucky bride was Margaret Scutt, Bridget's step daughter from her first marriage. Despite everything that had happened, Edward and Margaret had a long marriage, she outlived him by thirteen years, and they had two children together; John and Ann.

William St Loe

As William's first younger brother, Edward, was his heir as William only had daughters from his first marriage and his current marriage to Bess was yet to produce any children. However, Edward feared greatly that if Bess gave birth to a son, it would be this child that inherited and not him. 
In 1560 Bess was poisoned but luckily she recovered. This occurred during a visit from Edward to the newly married St Loe's in London, so that he could meet his new sister-in-law. For this, William and his mother Margaret both thought Edward to have been behind it. 
In December 1564 Edward went to visit William and was staying with him. It was during this visit that William suddenly died. William was only forty seven years old. It can be assumed that Edward thought he would then inherit William's fortune and properties, however William may have forseen this eventuality and in his Will he left everything to Bess. William had started to move his properties into the hands of Bess after the 1560 poisoning. 
The picture that we have of Edward St Loe is not a positive one, and the number of sudden and mysterious deaths that he is connected to, and profits from, is suspicious. It is entirely possible that Edward spent his life using poison to murder those around him whom he perceived as a threat, as it was only through their deaths that he would get what he wanted. 
This following letter was sent from Margaret St Loe to her daughter-in-law Bess on the 13th June 1560, after the event of Bess being poisoned in London, stating that she had been told of Edward's involvement in it from a lady, possibly a cousin or close friend of Edward's. 

To my good lady Sayntloo be thys delyueryd

good madam with my very harty commendacyns as sche that desyrys to here how yow & my son sayntloo doth & also to sertyfy yow wat I here of dyueres & I haue ben exed wat the maters ys be twexte my son sayntloo & hys brother edward I haue made anser I was suer my sone Sayntloo wolde not mysse leke with hym with owte a gret caues/ & many hath sayde to me thay here say Edward scholde go abowte to powson hys brether & yow & I haue tolde them I know hyt not so here hys a gret talke of hyt/ & apone amonth or more ther cam alady hether to me/ & was very ernest with me to know wher euer I harde eny sych thyng & sayde sche scholde here hyt at longeys moth who browte hor leter or token from besse sayntloo & sche wolde ahade me synde to long & I wolde not// but I tolde hur I was suer yow where powsonyd when I was at London & yeffe yow had not ade a present Remedy ye had dyed wych sche made hyt straynge sche neuer harde of hyt afor/ wych I am suer sche dyd/ sche hath byn more & senyte & yet is at Edward sayntloes besdon schall tell yow more of hur talke to me now I know suer sche cam hether to here wat I wolde say & wat sche code vnderstand by me/ sche tolde me how hur coson edward had send to hur often to cometo hym but sche wolde not but I tolde hur wat I thowght of hym wych I am suer sche myslekyd me for/ but sche sayde sche was sory ther scholde beeny varyances be twen vs for sche dyd know I haue vsed hym wery well but I thynk sche sayth the contrary now to hym/ I perceue ther heddes be foll of thys mater as thay haue letell grace so god send them letell powre to do my son sayntlo or yow eny horte thys was the good wyll he bare yow when he cam vp to London to se yow as he sayde was nonother caues hys comyng/ wych I know the contrary for he lekyd no thyng your maryege/ hys good frynchyppe to yow & to me ys all on/ the lyuyng god defende vs all from sych fryndes I pray yow madam send me worde how thys deuell deuysys be gan & how hyt can to lyte thankes be to god ye know hyt I wyll troboll yow no lenger but I pray god sende yow both long lyffe & good helth

with moch worchyppe wryton the xiij of Iune by yowres most assurydly as long as I haue lyffe

margret Sayntloo

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Elizabeth I and her care for Robert Dudley

Elizabeth and Robert

The close relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester was a constant and fixed feature throughout her reign until Robert's death. The relationship was often viewed as a romantic one despite Elizabeth declaring herself to be a 'Virgin Queen'. It is probable that Elizabeth did consider marriage with Dudley as from her proposition in 1563 for him to be the husband to Mary, Queen of Scots we can understand that she considered him good enough to marry a queen. However, the suspicious death of his first wife Amy Robsart meant that his reputation was tarnished enough for him to be unacceptable as the husband to England's monarch. In their personal relationship, to put it simply, Elizabeth and Robert loved each other. Elizabeth needed him by her side and he acted as an unofficial consort, often not allowed to leave court. When Robert died in 1588, Elizabeth shut herself away in her apartments for days until the door was broken down. They had been friends since childhood and Elizabeth was now to live another fifteen years without him.
Countess Bess
Robert Dudley was to be hosted by the Shrewsburys, Countess Bess and Earl George, in June 1577 at Buxton and Chatsworth, as he was visiting Buxton to treat a boil on the calf of his leg. The Shrewsburys were important people at this time as they were the hosts of the captive Mary, Queen of Scots. As well as Bess' daughter Elizabeth having married Charles Stuart, the queen's cousin and member of the royal family, and having had a daughter, Arbella. They enjoyed a friendly and close relationship with both Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. Robert Dudley helped to further the marriage arrangements of the Shrewsbury children, Charles and Elizabeth. Also, when the Shrewsbury's marriage fell apart in 1580, the queen became involved in trying to reconcile the couple.
The revised version of this letter which was sent to the Countess, was incredibly different to this draft as all considerations concerning Robert Dudley had been removed. In this draft Queen Elizabeth writes about the well being of Robert, concerning how much food and drink he is allowed to have, showing Elizabeth to be explicitly concerned with his health. This draft was written on the 4th June, and the revised version was not written until the 25th of June 1577. 

4 Iunii. 1577 memorandum of her majestes lettre to the Erle and Countesse of Shrewsbury. of thankes for the good vsage of my Lord of Leicester

Ryght Trvsty &ct. being geven to vnderstande from owre cosyn of Leycester howe honorably he was lately receyved and vsed by you owre cosyn the Cowntesse at Chatswoorth and howe his dyet is by you bothe dyscharged at Bvxtons we shoolde doe him great wronge howlding him in yt place of owre favor we doe in case we shoold not let you vnderstande in how thankefoll sorte we accept the same at bothe your handes which we doe not acknowled to be don vnto him but to owre selfes and therfor doe mean to take vppon vs the debt and to acknowledge you bothe as credytors so you can be content to accept vs for debter wherin is the daynger vnles you cvt of some parte of the large allowavnce of dyet you geve him. lest otherwyse the debt herby may growe to be so great as we shall not be able to dyscharge the same and so become banke rowte and therfor we thinke yt meet for the saving of owre credyt to proscrybe vnto you a proportyon of dyet which we mean in no case you shall exceed: and that is to allowe him, by the daye for his meate two ownces of fleshe referring the qualytye to your selves so you exceed not the quantytye and for his drynke the ... parte of a parte of a pynte of wyne to comphorte his stomocke and as myche of St Ames sacred water as he lvstethe to drynke On festyvall dayes as is fyt for a man of his qualytye we can be content you shall enlarge his dyet by allowng vnto him for his dyner the showlder of a wren and for his svpper a leg of the same besydes his ordenary ownces. the lyke proportyon we ... you shall allowe vnto owr brother of warwycke saving yt we thinke yt ... in respekt that his boddye is more replete then his brothers yt the wrens legg allowed at svpper on festyvall dayes be abated for that lyght svppers agreeth best with rvles of physyke. This order owre meanyng is you shall inviolably observe and so may you ryght well assvre your selfes of a most thankfull debter to so well deservng credytors.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Elizabeth's Josseline connections

Upon the birth of Princess Elizabeth in 1533, her mother Queen Anne Boleyn sent letters out to privy councilors, noblemen and family members announcing the birth of an heir to the English crown. Famously, these were the letters which had the suffix of 'ss' added to 'prince' due to the fact that Elizabeth was not the hoped for son which King Henry VIII longed for.  

By the Quene.
Right trustie and welbiloved, we grete you well. And where as it hath pleased the goodnes of Almightie God, of his infynite marcie and grace, to sende unto us, at this tyme, good spede, in the delyveraunce and bringing furthe of a Princes, to the great joye, rejoyce, and inward comforte of my Lorde, us, and all his good and loving subjectes of this his realme; for the whiche his inestymable benevolence, soo shewed unto us, we have noo litle cause to give high thankes, laude, and praising unto oure said Maker, like as we doo mooste lowly, humbly, and with all the inwarde desire of our harte. And inasmuche as we undoubtidly truste, that this oure good spede is to your great pleasure, comforte, and consolation, We, therefore, by thies our letters, advertise you thereof, desiring and hartely praying you to give, with us, unto Almightie God, high thankes, glorie, laude, and praising; and to praye for the good helth, prosperitie, and contynuall preservation of the said Princes accordingly. Yeven under our Signet, at my Lordis Manour of Grenewiche, the 7 day of September, in the 25th yere of my said Lordis reigne.

To oure right trustie and welbiloved,
the Lorde Cobham.

George Brooke, Lord Cobham was a blood relation of Anne Boleyn and her daughter Princess Elizabeth; George Brooke was the grandson of Anne's great-aunt, another Anne Boleyn.
George Brooke, Lord Cobham

This letter was sent to George Brooke, Lord Cobham on the 7th September 1533. A letter with the same content was sent to Thomas Josseline, Esquire on the 25th September 1533. The later date suggests that Thomas Josseline was not among the more important nobles or officials who were to be informed of the princess' birth right away, however he was significant enough to warrant a letter. Unknown to Queen Anne when she wrote this letter, the Josseline family was to become an important part of Elizabeth's life. Family connections were of the highest importance, and alliances were created through dynastic marriages with prominent families. It was her Boleyn family that would provide a stable family base for Elizabeth throughout her life.

Geoffrey Boleyn m. Anne Hoo;

1)William Boleyn m. Margaret Butler
    + Anne Boleyn m. John Shelton 
                                + Mary/Madge Shelton (mistress to King Henry VIII in 1535)
                                + John Shelton m. Margaret Parker (sister to Jane Boleyn nee Parker)
                                                                  + Alice Shelton m. 1549 Sir Richard Josseline (b.1529)                                                                                                 + Richard Josseline
    + Thomas Boleyn m. Elizabeth Howard
                                    + Anne Boleyn m. King Henry VIII
                                                                    + Princess Elizabeth
2)Anne Boleyn m. Henry Heydon
                                 + Dorothy Heydon m. Thomas Brooke
                                                                        + George Brooke m. Anne Braye
                                                                        + Elizabeth Brooke m. Thomas Wyatt (poet)

During Princess Elizabeth's early life, Queen Anne ensured that she was surrounded by Boleyn family members to provide protection and loyalty to her daughter. 

In 1533, the aunts of the queen, Anne Shelton (nee Boleyn) born 1475, and Alice Clere (nee Boleyn) were put in charge of Princess Elizabeth's household. The king's daughter Mary was also sent to live in this household, and Anne Shelton would taunt Mary with her bastard status and being replaced as Princess and heir to the throne by Elizabeth. Queen Anne would write to Anne Shelton criticizing Mary and ordering her to beat Mary. Anne Shelton and her husband John, who was controller of the princess' household, became very close to Elizabeth. During Queen Mary's reign, Elizabeth was in fear of her life and for her own protection she fled to the Norfolk home of Anne and John Shelton. 

Shelton Manor, Norfolk
Shelton Church
In 1549 Anne Boleyn's cousin Alice Shelton married Sir Richard Josseline. Despite the Protestantism of many members of his family, Richard was a Catholic, and perhaps as a result of this, he was not in public life unlike his relatives. On the 16-17th September 1578, Queen Elizabeth stayed at Hyde Hall as part of her progress, Alice and Richard had both passed away by this time, it was inhabited by Richard's second wife. 
The Josseline family were fierce supporters of the Protestant faith which Elizabeth reinstated in England. John Josseline became secretary to Archbishop Matthew Parker, previously chaplain to Anne Boleyn, and helped him to write his De Antiquitato Britannica (published 1572).
Correspondance from Matthew Parker circa 1575;

To Sir Thomas Josseline's brother, an antiquary in his house,
who wrote this history, Dc Antiquitato Britannica) ecclesicc, a
prebend worth 30/. per annum, and procured for him 300/. 
He expended upon repairing of his palace at Canterbury, his chief lodging, 
being burnt in Archbishop Cranmer's time,
and upon his other houses, chancels, &c., to about 2G00/.

The Josseline's were cousins to the Protestant Wentworth family. Peter Wentworth, a Puritan, was a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons where he was highly critical of Queen Elizabeth. This peaked in 1576 when he gave a speech at the opening of Parliament concerning the right of freedom of speech, concerning the question of the queen's marriage and succession. He was stopped by other MP's before the end of his speech and was sent to the Tower. 

John Josseline (d.1524) m1. Cecilia FitzHerbert  
                  m2. Phillipa Bradbury
              + Anne Josseline m. John Bagshott
              + Jane Josseline m. Nicholas Wentworth (d.1557)
                                         + Peter Wentworth m1. Letitia Lane  m2. Elizabeth Walsingham
                                         + Paul Wentworth m. Helen Agmondesham
                                         + Henry Wentworth
                                         + Francis Wentworth
                                         + Clara Wentworth m. Edward Boys
                                         + Joan Wentworth m. Geoffrey Gates
              + Thomas Josseline (b.1500) m. Dorothy Gates (1512-82)
                                                             + Thomas Josseline
                                                             + John Josseline m. Elizabeth Dore
                                                             + Henry Josseline m. Ann Torrell
                                                             + Edward Josseline m. Mary Lamb
                                                             + Jane Josseline m. Richard Kelton
                                                             + Richard Josseline m1. Alice Shelton 
                                                                                           m2. Anne Lucas (1541-1604)

Anthony Denny

Dorothy Gates had a brother Sir John Gates, who married Mary Denny. Dorothy was very close to her brother, his wife and her family; she often wrote letters to her brother asking him for favours at court. Historian Barbara J Harris asserts that Dorothy "managed her brother's affairs in Essex, while he acted as her advocate at court" as she was "more assertive and shrewder about business than her spouse". Harris suggests that Dorothy had a keen interest in acquiring land and wardships, which brought with them a lot of money.
Sir John's wife Mary Denny was the sister of Anthony Denny, who married Joan Champernowne - a cousin of Kat Ashley, Elizabeth's beloved governess. It was this couple, Anthony and Joan Denny, with whom Elizabeth stayed in 1548 at Cheshunt, from May until October, during Katherine Parr's pregnancy, delivery and death. Anthony Denny was good friends with Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Roger Asham, Elizabeth's tutor, as well as with Nicholas Wentworth.