Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Question from Ron - More info on Anne Pedissiqua, lady to Margaret of Anjou

Re previous query: Anna Pedissiqua, Lady-in-Waiting.

I have recently discovered that Anna was L-in-W to Queen Margaret of Anjou wife of Henry VI. Does anyone know anything about, or have any idea how to search for, info on Queen Margaret's Ladies?
I am a direct descendant of Thomas Berry, husband of Anna Margaretta Regina Pedissiqua, and anxious to further my research of their lives. Any leads or other help will be appreciated.
Thank you,

[Ed note - The previous question can be found here]


Foose said...

I did some investigating of this with the earlier query. One problem is that lady's last name, "Pedissiqua" has the meaning "to follow on foot, like an attendant." That opens the possibility that it's not her real surname, but rather descriptive of her position. "Pedisiqua" can even specifically mean handmaiden or waiting woman.

Foose said...

Actually, the juxtaposition of her two middle names suggests that the full name is actually a mangling of the Latin for "Anna, Attendant of Queen Margaret," rather than the Christian name "Anna Margaretta Regina."

Foose said...

Margaret of Anjou left a complete Wardrobe Book for 1452-53. In it we learn that "Ismania lady of Scales, Isabella lady Grey, Lady Margaret Ross, Lady Isabella Dacre, and Lady Isabella Butler, are mentioned as being in immediate attendance upon her person, besides ten 'little damsels,' and two chamberwomen." (Letters of Illustrious and Royal Ladies of Great Britain, by Mary Anne Everett Green, Vol. 1, page 98).

I would hazard a guess that Anna may have been a chamberwoman, because in rooting around the Internet I have seen the word "pedissequa" translated specifically as "chamberer." (The old classical Latin meaning meant "one who attends the mistress abroad or in the street," but it seems to have mutated over the centuries, indicating a servant who did a lot of the actual work.) I have no idea if Anne, or Anna, was one of the chamberwomen listed in the Wardrobe Book (it only covers a year). But it might be a place to start.

Perhaps one of the specialists in the hierarchies of ladies-in-waiting among this blog's readers could add more on the relative rank and duties of a 15th-century "pedissequa" ...?

Bearded Lady said...

Have you tried looking in Anne Somerset's book Ladies in Waiting? That name sounds awfully familiar and I can't remember where I read it.

Foose said...

You also might try getting hold of Laynesmith's recent "The Last Medieval Queens," which covers Margaret extensively; you can read the key chapter "Court and Household" online at Google Books (it has a lot of information on Margaret's 1450s household), but the bibliography is missing and that is what you really need. If you get hold of the book, see what Laynesmith has listed under Primary Sources. Helen Maurer wrote a recent biography of Margaret of Anjou that could be useful too; again I recommend getting at the bibliography for sources. Both books mention AR Myers' "The Household of Margaret of Anjou," which analyzes the Wardrobe Book of 1452-53 but would be useful in showing you what to look for and what various terms mean. It's an article, though, and might be difficult to get hold of outside an academic library.

If, as your previous query suggested, Anna/Anne married around 1480/83, that could suggest that she was not one of Margaret's women in the 1450s; she'd be rather mature for marriage 30 years later. However, Margaret died in 1482, and your date might indicate that Anna/Anne married after Margaret's death released her from service. Possibly Anna/Anne is a later addition to her household, perhaps sharing her captivity in England and travelling to France with her after Margaret was ransomed in 1476.