Saturday, February 07, 2009

Question from Elizabeth - Lady Bridget Wingfield

I have read in The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn that Lady Bridget Wingfield was a close friend of Anne's. Does anyone have any information on her? I have not been able to find much and would very much appreciate it!


Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth:
you may find this book review on Jane Parker Boyelyn interesting,,,half way thru there is a paragraph on Bridget Wingfield. How accurate it is I can't say..

Elizabeth M. said...

LAdy Bridget may have known Anne for many years. She, according to Eric Ives, was the daughter of Sir John Wiltshire, master of Stone Castle in Kent. Her first husband was Sir richard Wingfield, a Knight of the Garter who died in 1525. Lady Bridget was probably a member of Queen Catherine of Aragon's household dating back to the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. Her second husband was Sir Nicholas Harvey, an ambassador to Charles V, but a supporter of Anne Boleyn. When he died in 1532, Lady Bridget began seeing another member of the court, Robert Tyrwhitt.
There are theories that Anne's surviving letter to her may be a round-about apology for an argument she had with Lady Bridget, which caused the latter to leave court for a time. There is another theory that Lady Bridget was none too pleased with Anne's morals after it came out that Anne became pregnant late in 1532, several months before her marriage to the King.
Ives mentions that Lady Bridget's father-in-law was linked with leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace uprising, and that the Tyrwhitt's were also friends of the Duke of Suffolk, no friend of Anne. Thomas Wyatt supposedly blamed the Duke for his arrest, so Lady Bridget's deathbed confession of Anne's "crimes" may have been details about her friendship with Thomas Wyatt from years before.
There is also a theory that Lady Bridget may have been unhappy about Anne possibly scolding her about her relationship with Robert Tyrwhitt, whom she married shortly after the death of her second husband. Since he died in 1532, and there is no mention of Lady Bridget in court records after January, 1534, she married her third husband rather hastily after the death of the second. She died in childbirth. Supposedly, her deathbed utterances were condemnations of Anne's behavior. But then if they were so damning, why did they not become fodder for Anne's enemies until after her arrest? It was probably a spat between two women that got blown out of all proportion when Cromwell and his spies were looking for anything to pile on in their charges against Anne.

Foose said...

Interestingly, her eldest son married Joan Knollys in about 1535 -- Joan's brother Francis later married Catherine Carey, daughter of Mary Boleyn and either William Carey or Henry VIII.

I don't know whether this is significant or merely coincidental.

kb said...

Joan Knollys was also a lady in waiting to Elizabeth 1. Probably less an homage to Elizabeth's mother than to the Knollys's.