The Tudor Society
  • 25 December – Christmas Day and Lettice Knollys

    Merry Christmas! A very Happy Christmas to you and yours!

    In today’s talk, I explain how Tudor people would have celebrated Christmas, before moving on to today’s “on this day” event, the death of Lettice Blount (also known as Lettice Devereux, Lettice Dudley and Lettice Knollys). Not only did she serve Queen Elizabeth I as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber, she was also the queen’s first cousin once removed, and was nicknamed the “she-wolf” by her royal mistress. Find out more about Lettice Knollys in today’s talk.

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  • 21 February 1590 – The death of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick

    Today is the anniversary of the death of Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Master of the Ordnance, Privy Councillor and fourth son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, at Bedford House on the Strand in 1590. He was laid to rest in the Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick. You can read more about Ambrose in my bio of him – Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick.

    I have a real fondness for the Dudley family and was very moved when I visited the tombs of Ambrose, his brother Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Robert’s wife, Lettice, and Robert’s little boy, Robert Dudley, Lord Denbigh, “the noble imp” as his tomb says.

    Here are some photos I took at the church in Warwick. By the way, the crowns are earls’ coronets rather than royal crowns.

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  • Lettice Knollys and Robert Dudley Quiz

    Grab your favourite beverage and snack, get your thinking cap on, make yourself comfortable and test your knowledge of this famous Tudor couple with our Sunday quiz. Good luck!

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  • Lettice Knollys

    Lettice Knollys was born on 8 November 1543 at Rotherfield Greys in Oxfordshire. She was the eldest of sixteen children born to Sir Francis Knollys and his wife, Katherine Carey. Lettice’s mother was the daughter of Mary Boleyn, meaning that Lettice was the great niece of Anne Boleyn. She was also a kinswoman of Elizabeth I. Francis and Katherine Knollys departed for the Continent in the mid-1550s to escape the religious persecution during Mary I’s reign, but it is possible that Lettice remained with Elizabeth Tudor at Hatfield. When Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558, Francis was appointed vice-chamberlain and Katherine, who was close to the queen, was appointed a lady of the bedchamber. Lettice, now in her teens, served as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber.

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  • The marriage of Robert Dudley and Lettice Devereux

    On the morning of Sunday 21st September 1578, between seven and eight o’clock, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, married Lettice Devereux (née Knollys), widow of Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, at his house in Wanstead, Essex.

    Leicester’s chaplain, Humphrey Tindall officiated, and the guests at this secret and private ceremony included Sir Francis Knollys, father of the bride; Richard Knollys, the bride’s brother; Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick and brother of Leicester; and Leicester’s friends, the Earl of Pembroke and Lord North.

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  • Lettice Knollys by Adrienne Dillard

    Author Adrienne Dillard, who has done extensive research on Lettice’s family, the Careys and Knollys, has written this excellent bio of Lettice. Thank you so much to Adrienne.

    Per Francis Knollys’ Latin Dictionary entry,* Lettice Knollys was born in 1543 on the Tuesday present after All Hallows’ Day, or November 8, 1543, most likely at the Knollys’ family home at Rotherfield Greys in Oxfordshire. Lettice’s brilliant red hair and pale complexion may have come from her close connections to the royal family. Her mother, Catherine Carey, was Anne Boleyn’s niece and Elizabeth I’s cousin. Some historians have debated whether Catherine was the product of Mary Boleyn’s affair with King Henry VIII, but it has never been proven and rests only on circumstantial evidence. Lettice was the third child and second daughter born out of a possible sixteen, but more likely fourteen, children born to Catherine and Francis.

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