Thursday, February 04, 2010

Question from Memory - Travel and children of ladies in waiting

When a lady in waiting to the Queen wanted to go home to see her family, how did they travel? Who was responsible for arranging and paying for the trip. Also, if they lady was married and had children, where did the children stay when the lady attended her duties with the Queen?


kb said...

Well the answers are varied...

Some women had London townhouses that they used to take a break from court, when the queen allowed.

Other women would travel to their family homes via horse or carts. Mostly by horse. Several court women had extensive stables.

The women paid their own travel expenses. However, some women received wages for attending the queen. Others received gifts and grants. All women 'sworn to the chamber' received room and board for themselves and some servants at the queen's expense. Sometimes the stabling of horses was also at the queen's expense.

The real value of waiting on the queen was the ability to gain influence for one's family through information, grants, gifts and further appointments.

Remember that court women were elite and it was expected that their children would be wet nursed by a healthy country woman; that they would be raised primarily by staff either at the country seat or the London town house; and that the children would be placed in a prestigious household as soon as practical.

This has always been our assumptions. HOWEVER, some women actually had their children at court with accommodations either in the palace or nearby. The girls could be 'maids of the court'. For example, Elizabeth Knollys Leighton was a maid of the court at age 9.

kb said...

One other bit -
Just because a lady wanted to go home did not mean they were given permission to go. There are plenty of letters of husbands and wives complaining that they were not being released from court and that they wanted to see each other.sometimes it took several months for permission to be granted.

Anonymous said...

Some children were brought up at court such as the Bryan children: Margaret, Elizabeth and Francis.

Their parents were Sir Thomas Bryan, who ran Queen Katherine of Aragon's household, and Margaret,

Lady Bryan who initially was a member of Queen Katherine's household but eventually became Lady Mistress of, firstly, The Princess Mary, then Princess Elizabeth and then the combined household of Elizabeth (then "demoted" to a mere Lady) and her brother Prince Edward.

Mistress Elizabeth Bryan was well known to the King and is recorded as taking a regular part in the Court Revels. Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk sent his best wishes to her in a letter to the King himself. Charles clearly expected those best wishes to be passed onto Mistress Elizabeth by the King himself.

Mistress Elizabeth became Lady Carew in 1514 when she married Sir Nicholas Carew, a close friend of King Henry's.

The King gave property to the pair of them as a gift. Queen Jane Seymour bequeathed very expensive jewellery to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, and her brother Francis, were courtiers born and bred.