Friday, 11 September 2015

Cavendish-Pierrepont marriage negotiations

Frances Cavendish (1548-1632) married Henry Pierrepont (1546-1615) before 1568 and the couple went on to have six children;
+ Robert Pierrepont (1584-1643) m. Gertrude Talbot
+ Elizabeth Pierrepont (1568-1621) m1. Sir Edward Norreys m2. Sir Thomas Erskine
+ Grace Pierrepont (1575-1650) m. Sir George Manners
+ Frances Pierrepont (1575-1648)
+ Mary Pierrepont (1580-1670) m. Fulk Cartwright
+ William Pierrepont (b.1591)

Bess St Loe, otherwise known as Bess of Hardwick, the mother of Frances, and George Pierrepont, father of Henry, exchanged letters discussing a future marriage between their children. It is perhaps interesting to note that Sir Henry wrote to Frances' mother rather than her step-father William St Loe. This could perhaps indicate that George Pierrepont believed Bess to have more power over the marriage of her daughter than her husband. Perhaps it was the case that Bess was in charge of the marriage of her daughters rather than William St Loe, as she does play a key role in all of her children's marriages. William St Loe was only a step parent to her children and was away from the family home often at the royal court and Bess was comfortably in charge of all domestic matters. George Pierrepont seems to be the one who is pushing the marriage forward, in particular in the second letter here where he is urging that the paperwork be signed as soon as possible. The letters shown here are from 1561 and 1562 respectively.

4 November 1561, Sir George Pierrepont to Bess St Loe

To the right worshipffull and my Singuler goode ladye my ladye Sentloo at London this be delivered.

Right wurshipffull. and my vereye good ladye
after my hertiest maner I comende me to your good ladishepe
even so preye yow I meye be to good Master Sentloo
most hertelye thanckinge yow boothe
for your great paynes taken with me at holme
acceptinge euerye thinge (thoughe it were neuer so rewdlye handlyde) in suche gentill sorte as ye dyde which doithe and will cause me to love yow the better whuell I lyve
yf I were abill to doo yow othere pleassure or service and the rathere because I vnderstand
that your ladishipe hathe not forgotten my sewte to yow at your goinge awaye as speciallye to make Master Sackvile & Master attorneye my ffrendes
in the matter betwene Master whalleye and me wherin he doithe me playne wronge (as I take it in my concyence) onelye to kepe trouble & vnquyett me
But I trust somoche in godes helpe
and partlye by your ladishipes good meanes
and contynewance of your goodnes towardes me
that he shall not ouerthrowe me in my rightiose cause
and touchinge suche cominication. as was betwene vs at holme
yf your ladishipe. & the gentillwoman your doughtour
lyke our boye vppon sight
aswell. as I & my wife lyke the yonge gentillwomman
I will not shrincke one worde. ffrome yat I said or promysed
by the grace of gode who preserve your ladishipe
and my master your husbande longe togethere
in wealthe. healthe and prosperytie. to his pleasure. and your gentill hertes desyer
ffrome my pover house at woodhouse. the iiijth of november .1561.

by the rewde hastie hande. of your goode ladishipes. assuredlye allwaye to comaunde

George. pierponnte. K.

18 May 1562, Sir George Pierrepont to Bess St Loe

To the right worshipfull and my vereye good ladye my Ladye Sentloo at Chattesworthe this be delivered

Right wurshipffull. and my vereye good ladye
after my hertiest comendacions to your good ladishepe remembred even so require yow I meye be to good Master Sentloo. with most entyer thanckes for my wyne yat I haue ben bolde to take of his lyberalytie
most hertelye thanckinge yow ffurthere for your bountiouse goodnes & cost bestowed of henrye my sonne & of those yat were with him at London as also for the good will and ffauour that I perceave ye beare to my said sonne
which I preye gode he maye deserve
and perceaved ffurthere yf ye coulde geat leave ye woulde come to Chattesworthe this whitsontide whethere ye would be glade to haue me & my wiffe to come. lyke as I vnderstand the same. by a lettre receaved this morninge ffrome Master Hardwycke
wherbye I do not onlye perceave ye be come to Chattesworthe but would haue me & my wife to come over to make merrie
but to procede ffurthere to the perffytinge of the wrytinges accordinge to our former comunication 
trulye madame I woulde as gladlie come as ye woulde be to haue me
but I am not abill to goo nor ryde
but to my great payne trouble & shame
and because I woulde ye shoulde not thincke I doo yt to staye of anyethinge
which I am as willinge to haue performed and perfyted as ye arre
after the wrytinges be maed & sealled
yt shull be at your pleasure to cause the same to be drawen in paper accordinglye as I thincke ye haue goode remembrance of tharticles of our agreament
ye recyted them so fformallye a lytill before our partinge
and so send them to me
or else I to geat them done
thoughe learned men be skaunt in the countrye at this presente
and so I to sende them to yow. which ones agreede vppon by vs boothe and our councelles then to ingrose the same readye to seallinge. which for my parte I shall doo. so ffare as I can with my helthe and after to haue the matrymonye so sone accomplyshed. as ye shall seame goode & conveynyent at your pleasure
and forasmoche as I am even nowe & haue bene for this fourtnight or iij. weekes. moche troubled. with payne of my disease I shall require yow to take this rewde wrytinge in good part. yat wrytes with moche payne
vntill I know furthere of your pleasure in the meane season leavinge to trouble yow anye ffurthere. doo beseche allmightie gode to haue yow and Master Sentloo euermore in his kepinge. ffrome holme in hast the xviijth of maij 1562.

in hast & leasureles by your good ladishipes to his lytill powere

George. pierponnte K.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Margaret Wotton and her son Henry Grey

Margaret Wotton (1487-1541) was the mother of Henry Grey (1517-54), the future father of Queen Jane Grey, by her second husband Thomas Grey. After the death of her husband, Margaret and Henry's relationship deteriorated and only worsened over the years. 

Hans Holbein the Younger (after) - Margaret, Marchioness of Dorset (Anglesey Abbey).jpg
Margaret Wotton, early 1530's
Margaret's husband died on the 10th October 1530, and her son Henry succeeded as the Marquis of Dorset. Due to Henry still being a minor, Margaret was granted custody of her late husband's estate until her son reached maturity. This was the first problem created as Margaret was now in charge of providing Henry with an allowance, which had been outlined in her late husband's will. Henry believed this allowance was not sufficient for someone of his position. This control over her son's finances and restrictions upon him shocked her peers as they saw it as a lack of generosity and motherly care. They also said her actions were not appropriate towards a man, like Henry, who was a close kinsman to the king - through the king's mother Elizabeth of York. In 1534 Margaret felt the need to respond to the allegations against her being an 'unnatural mother'. She agreed to increase his allowance and help to strengthen his position 'as my small power is and shall be'.

In late 1530 or early 1531 Henry Grey broke his pre-contract of marriage to Katherine FitzAlan, daughter of the Earl of Arundel. It seems that the couple disliked each other greatly, and that this was the reason for it being called off by Henry. For this breach of contract, a fine of 4000 marks was to be paid to the Earl of Arundel by Henry, or rather by Margaret, in yearly installments of 300 marks - which would take around 13 years to pay off in its entirety. 
This huge, and unexpected, debt left Margaret worried that she may "not set forth my daughters in marriage" - of which she had four - "neither continue in the keeping of my poor house". She argued that her husband's estate was "right small" in comparison to the debts her husband left as well as the everyday expenses of her children and household. 
On 19th November 1531 Margaret wrote to Thomas Cromwell asking him to negotiate with the Earl of Arundel on her behalf, so that he would reduce the debt she owed him by 1000 marks. She felt this was justified as the marriage contract between her daughter Katherine Grey and the Earl of Arundel's son and heir Henry had only cost 3000 marks and therefore why should the marriage of his daughter cost more. 
In 1537 Katherine FitzAlan was exchanging letters with Thomas Cromwell which stated that he supported her in her dispute with Margaret Wotton in relation to the debt she owed; it is possible that Margaret was behind on payments or was refusing to pay them.

For the marriage between Henry and Frances Brandon to go ahead in 1533, Margaret agreed to it solely upon the condition that Frances' father Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, supported the couple financially for the duration of Henry's minority.

In 1538 Henry Grey reached his age of majority and therefore came into possession of his inheritance from his father. Soon after, Henry took his financial problems with his mother to the King's Council, where she did admit that Henry's allowance was not 'meet or sufficient to maintain his estate' and she offered to increase the amount he was receiving. However, this did nothing to ease the tension between the two and as a result Margaret moved out of the family home of Bradgate House. Henry would not allow his mother's servants to retrieve her personal possessions so she could take them with her. Margaret wrote to Thomas Cromwell asking for his help with her son and that he could persuade Henry to give her her possessions as she was a 'poor widow...unkindly and extremely...handled by my son marquis'.