Saturday, September 15, 2012

Question from Amelia - Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhitt

Could you tell me about Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhitt, the chief lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth. I haven't been able to find anything on her. I was just curious about her life, family background, what she died of and when and what she looked like. I think she might have been an ancestor of mine and I would really like to know everything about her!


Marilyn R said...

How far have you got? This is an old Lincolnshire family and you should be able to find out quite a lot. Have you contacted the Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln?

If you haven't already seen it, there is an article on the Elizabeth Tyrwhitt who was born an Oxenbridge and died in 1578, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, with references, that should get you started. This Elizabeth was a good friend of Katherine Parr and governess to Elizabeth after Parr's death.The article says her tomb effigy still exists.
The Tyrwhitts are associated with Katherine Swynford's old estate at Kettleby near Lincoln but Elizabeth, her husband and daughter seem to have been buried in the church of St Mary in Leighton Bromswold in Huntingdon,where Sir Robert was living when they got married.

An article on the church ( I don't know how old it is) states:

In the north transept is an alabaster altar-tomb with mutilated effigies of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who died on 10 May 1572 in Leighton Bromswold, and Elizabeth (Oxenbridge), his third wife, died 1578. Altar-tomb of alabaster, south side divided into three bays by ornamental pilasters, shield in middle bay with arms three tirwhitts for Tyrwhitt quartering a chief indented, the whole impaling a lion rampant with a forked tail and a border, figures of daughter and two swaddled infants in side bays; similar pilasters west end of tomb, forming two bays each with a shield bearing the quarterly coat above and the impaled coat; on tomb, recumbent effigies of man and wife, man in plate-armour with head on mantled helm and lion at feet, legs of man missing; effigy of wife in French cap, long cloak,

Also in the north transept, further west, is a mutilated alabaster effigy of probably Katherine, the 4th daughter of Sir Robert and Elizabeth, and wife of Sir Henry D'Arcy, died 1567, head on two cushions, hands broken, modern altar-tomb with old alabaster plinth, mid- to late-16th-century.

Lying loose, close to these monuments, is a broken stone crest. There is also a monument of Sir Robert Tyrwhitt and his wife Elizabeth Oxenbridge in Bigby church, Lincolnshire, dated 1581, which unlike the monument in Leighton church, included effigies of all his twenty-two children.


kb said...

Why do you think she was chief lady-in-waiting? According to my research she was never chief lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth 1.

There were many important or primary ladies of the chambers. Remember there were two chambers - privy and bed - with senior ladies in each. The position of senior lady was fluid and frequently unofficial. Elizabeth I was queen for a long time so there were many women who came and went throughout her reign. Additionally some women retired upon marriage, some when pregnant, some in disgrace for some transgression.

My research is by no means comprehensive as I focus on a particular kinship network - albeit quite extended. However, just within this kinship network there were 19 women who could be considered senior, or chief, ladies of the chambers at various times. (Alphabetical order by birth family name. Dates are birth - death)

Brooke Parr, Elizabeth Marchioness Northampton (1526 - 1565)
Carey Howard, Katherine Lady Effingham, Countess of Nottingham (1547 - 1603)
Carey Knollys, Katherine Lady Knollys (1524 - 1569)
Carey Scrope, Philadelphia Baroness Scrope (1563 - 1629)
Champernowne Ashley, Katherine ( - 1565)
Clifford Stanley, Margaret Lady Strange, Countess Of Derby (1540 - 1596)
Cooke Hoby Russell, Lady Elizabeth Baroness Russell (1528 - 1609)
Dudley Hastings, Katherine Countess Of Huntingdon (1533 - 1620)
Dudley Sidney, Lady Mary (1531 - 1586)
Fitzgerald Browne Fiennes de Clinton,, Elizabeth Countess of Lincoln (1528 - 1589)
Howard Paulet, Agnes (Anne) Marchioness Of Winchester ( - 1601)
Howard Seymour, Frances Countess of Hertford (1554 - 1598)
Newton Brooke, Frances Lady Cobham (1544 - 1592)
Parry, Blanche (1508 - 1589)
Russell Dudley, Anne Countess of Warwick (1548 - 1604)
Shelton Scudamore, Lady Mary (1556 - 1604)
Stafford, Dorothy (1524 - 1604)
Williams Norris, Lady Margaret (1525 - 1599)
Willoughby, Lady Margaret (1545 - 1585)

Marilyn R said...

Further to the last paragraph of my first post: I think the writer of the church information has confused the Elizabeth who died in 1578 with her half-brother's daughter of the same name who also married a Sir Robert Tyrwhitt - this is the couple with the 22 children.

Amelia said...

That's interesting. I'll look at that archive. I've read that the Oxenbridge Elizabeth had a daughter of the same name, did she ever become a lady in waiting?

Unknown said...

Elizabeth Tyrwhit was a lady in waiting to Katherine Parr and she compiled a Prayer Book that has been edited by Susan Felch. Susan Felch provides a detailed biographical introduction that contains all known information about E. Tyrwhit. I also recently wrote a short article on Tyrwhit's authorship of a Lutheran style Hymn (very avant-guard in the 1550s) for ANQ (American Notes and Queries). Hope this helps,
Micheline White

Unknown said...

Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhitt/ oxenbridge is my great great great grandmother

Anonymous said...

Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhitt is my ancestor and I have records of her duties in the documents I was able to copy from the British Library on my family from 1066. I also have a brief entry on our family tree noting her life in the royal household.