Sunday, May 17, 2009

Question from Anon - More on Anne's ladies in the Tower

What is known about Mrs Stoner, one of the ladies who attended Anne Boleyn in the Tower? And what about her other attendants, Mrs. Cosyns/Coffin and Lady Kingston?

[Ed. note - previous related topic linked below]


Foose said...

Retha Warnicke, author of The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn, identifies Mrs Stoner as "perhaps the wife of John [Stoner], the king's sergeant at arms." Joanna Denny follows this line as well.

Wikipedia lists Mrs Stoner as Elizabeth Stoner, "wife of the king's sergeant-at-arms, William Stoner." I think this is probably erroneous. There was certainly an Elizabeth Stoner, but she appears to be the daughter of Sir Walter Stonor, and married successively to Sir William Compton (Henry VIII's "bestest friend" of his youth), Sir Walter Walshe and Sir Philip Hoby.

Part of the difficulty is that Stoner is variously spelt Stonor and Stonar in the records. A Sir Walter Stoner (father of Elizabeth, above) is mentioned prominently; he has a brother John, married to one Isabel Agard, who fits from a timeline point of view, but I can't find any conclusive identification. (There is certainly a John Stoner, sergeant-at-arms, in the records, but I can't find evidence he is the brother of Sir Walter). John and Isabel Stoner's son was a notable Catholic recusant, Sir Francis Stoner -- knighted by Queen Mary, while his mother received a pension from her.

I am curious as to whether "Mistress Stoner" who attended on Anne Boleyn was related by marriage to the Stoner/Stonor family of Stonor, which left behind a treasure-trove of letters comparable to the Pastons', but unfortunately dating largely from the 15th century. Elizabeth Noble has just published a work on The World of the Stonors: A Gentry Society, relying heavily on those letters.

Foose said...

Warnicke identifies Mrs. Coffin as Margaret Dymoke. The genealogical site provides information on her gentry background -- she was the daughter of the king's hereditary champion (the person who ceremoniously rides into the hall at coronations and flings down the gauntlet in challenge to anyone who would deny the sovereign's legitimate title; perhaps her prison attendance on a woman who had allegedly impugned the king's honor was appropriate) and married successively to a Vernon, a Coffin and a Manners, all very well connected to various leading aristocratic families, the Plantagenets and the Boleyns. features a brief bio of her second husband, Sir William Coffin, Anne's Master of Horse. She seems to have passed into the service of Jane Seymour with no fuss.