First of all, I'd just like to say a massive thank you to Lara for creating this site - it's absolutely brilliant! I've been using it for a while now and I'd just like to say how amazing I think it is. It's an absolute goldmine of information. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!
My query is just regarding the birthdate of Laetitia Knollys. I'm a bit confused because I always assumed that it was impossible to pinpoint an exact birthdate for her, but then I came across a site saying that she was born on 8 November 1543. It was on Wikipedia (which I know is unreliable) but also several other sites as well. I've always thought Laetitia was born before then anyway - maybe c.1540-41. I'd just like to know everyone else's opinions about when she was more likely to have been born. And does anyone know of any substantial evidence to support the birthdate given by Wikipedia?
I presume you mean the same woman more commonly called Lettice Knollys who later married Robert Dudley.
According to her father's Latin Dictionary, she was born 6 Nov 1543. Not all the Knollys children's birth dates were written down by Sir Francis in this dictionary but hers was.
There has long been some confusion over her birth date. Her parents were married 26 April 1540. Her mother was 16 at the time. While it was often thought that Lettice was the first born, she was not. The eldest child of Sir Francis Knollys and Katherine Carey Knollys was Henry born 12 April 1541. This was followed by a sister Mary born 25 October 1542. Then Lettice, William was born 20 March 1545, Edward 18 Oct 1546, Maud 30 Mar 1548, Elizabeth 16 Jun 1549, Robert 8 Nov 1550, Richard 21 May 1552, Francis 14 Aug 1553, Anne 19 Jul 1555, Thomas 2 Feb 1558, Katherine 21 Oct 1559, and lastly Dudley 9 May 1562. Dudley died the following month.
Katherine was 38 at the time of Dudley's birth. We have no proof of no further births. Katherine Carey Knollys died 15 Jan 1569 at the age of 45.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online) says she was born 8 November 1543. The article is by Dr. Simon Adams, a specialist on Lettice's second husband, the Earl of Leicester.
Dr. Adams, Sally Varlow and myself are all working from the same transcription of the Latin Dictionary which Ms. Varlow worked on with Dr. Frances Harris of the British Library.
Lettice's father lists her birth date as the Tuesday 'present aftr all halou daye.' Ms. Varlow and I calculated that in the year 1543 in old calendar dating this would be the 6th. Dr. Adams calculated it as the 8th.
You missed Cecily out of the birthdates. They had another girl, in between Katherine and Dudley. She was called Cecily.
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