Friday, 14 August 2015

The Darrell-Wyatts

Elizabeth Darrell, born around 1513, was the youngest daughter of Edward Darrell, Chamberlain to Queen Catherine of Aragon, and his third wife Alice Flyte. By 1530 Elizabeth was serving Queen Catherine of Aragon as a Maid of Honour until her death in January 1536. She did not take the Oath of Supremacy, perhaps out of loyalty to Queen Catherine rather than for her religious beliefs. Elizabeth served as a mourner at Queen Catherine's funeral. Queen Catherine left Elizabeth £200 in her will which was to be used for her dowry, however this was not given to her until 1554 when Catherine's daughter Mary was on the throne. Elizabeth then went on to serve Gertrude Courtenay, Marchioness of Exeter, who had been a close friend of  Queen Catherine, after applying to join Queen Jane Seymour's household and being turned down.

By 1538 Elizabeth had begun an affair with the married Thomas Wyatt (1503-42), possibly as early as 1537 as testimony given in October 1538 states that the couple had been together since the previous June when Wyatt returned from Spain. They had three sons together; Henry - who died young, Francis (b.1540) and Edward (1541-54). Francis took the last name Darrell. Some historians list Thomas Wyatt's legitimate son Thomas the younger as the father of Edward, as due to the men's ages either could be, but for this post I am placing him as the son of the elder Thomas Wyatt as I feel Elizabeth Darrell would not have children with both the father and son within such a short space of time. Thomas Wyatt was married during this time to Elizabeth Brooke, but the couple had been separated since 1526, only six years after marrying.

Image result for allington castle
Allington Castle, Kent
By 1541 Elizabeth was openly living with Thomas Wyatt as his mistress at Allington Castle in Kent. When Wyatt was arrested on the 20th January 1541 for suspected Lutheran tendencies, Elizabeth was pregnant with their third son Edward. Due to her pregnancy she was allowed to continue living in one of Wyatt's houses that were confiscated by the crown upon his arrest. After his release from the Tower later that year, he returned to Elizabeth at Allington Castle despite the fact that his release was conditional upon his returning to his wife. Thomas Wyatt's legitimate son Thomas (1521-54) and his wife Jane were also living at Allington Castle during this time.

Thomas Wyatt died on the 12th October 1542. Wyatt left Elizabeth his properties in Dorset and Somerset in his Will dated 1541, with the instruction that after her death they would pass to their son Francis, and by 1543 Elizabeth was indeed in possession of those properties. That Thomas only mentioned one son in his will, we can guess that their son Henry had already died and that the youngest son Edward was not yet born at the time the will was written.

Upon his death on the 11th April 1554 Thomas Wyatt's legitimate son, Thomas the younger, also left Elizabeth Darrell properties in his Will, including the estate at Tarrant in Dorset on the 25th February 1544 which was to pass to her son Francis after her death. Due to his arrest and execution for treason, the properties which Elizabeth held for her lifetime and were supposed to pass to the younger Thomas after her death, were then confiscated by the Crown. The manor of Tintinhull in Somerset was left by Thomas the younger to Elizabeth, and failing her heirs, would revert to his son Thomas. However due to his attainder the crown declared that after Elizabeth's death it would go to Sir William Petre. The parsonage at Stoke in Somerset was leased to Elizabeth in 1548 and remained in her possession until her death, at which time it passed to her husband.

Image result for tintinhull manor
Tintinhull Manor, Somerset
Elizabeth and Thomas' son Edward was executed for treason in 1554 for his part in the rebellion against Queen Mary. The rebellion was led by his half-brother Thomas Wyatt, his father's legitimate son. On the 21st January 1554, the thirteen year old Edward was present at a meeting at Allington Castle led by Thomas Wyatt, which discussed the date for the rebellion. And three days later on the 24th he was listed alongside the main conspirators and local gentry who were sleeping on the floor of the hall of Allington Castle. The next day, the 25th, Edward marched into London with his brother, however the rebellion failed and the men surrendered. Edward was imprisoned in the Tower and tortured. Bishop Gardiner told Sir William Petre, Governor of the Tower, to find out any information about Thomas Wyatt's relationship with Princess Elizabeth "whether ye press him to say the truth by sharp punishment or promise of life". On February 19th, Edward was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

In 1554 Elizabeth married Robert Strode shortly after receiving her long overdue £200 legacy from Queen Catherine. However. Elizabeth died before the end of 1556. Her husband Robert was still living in 1560.

No comments:

Post a Comment