It was suggested that the pair might make a winning team as with the death of Mary Queen of Scots a Catholic alternative was required to Protestant James.
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It was not necessarily a wildly happy marriage although they did have a shared friend in Sir Walter Raleigh. Initially it appeared that the ninth earl would rise to prominence under the Stuarts. He was made a Privy Councillor in but Percy was not happy about the way Raleigh was treated and the promised tolerance for catholicism never materialised.
He also regarded Prince Henry as a more regal alternative. In short when Thomas Percy was found to have conspired in the gunpowder plot it was one short step from there to the incrimination of the earl himself. In all the earl spent almost sixteen years inside the Tower.
The earl, upon release, having taken the waters in Bath retired to Petworth where he died in Whilst he was on his European educational tour his father wrote to him from the Tower giving him advice about what to look at and how to behave. He was the MP for Sussex in and served as an admiral in various campaigns. Essentially after Charles I was executed Algernon threw all his toys out from his pram and refused to play with Oliver Cromwell.
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In when he returned to politics along with a restored monarchy he petitioned against the actions that Charles II took against the regicides. When he died in Turin in there was just one daughter Elizabeth. Her son Algernon became the Duke of Somerset — the title being superior to that of an earl.
So, her husband Sir Hugh Smithson took the surname Percy in much the same way that had happened back in the thirteenth century. It was a move to see that an ancient name and title did not die out. He was created the Duke of Northumberland the same year. The Dukedom of Northumberland has been created on three different occasions: John Dudley made himself Duke of Northumberland in — but he had a nasty accident with an axe thanks to the whole Lady Jane Grey gambit.
There was a Jacobite duke in but he is considered not to count because he was installed by the Old Pretender. Prior to the sixteenth century Derbyshire did not have an extremely powerful local magnate to dominate affairs. It was only in the sixteenth century that Derbyshire acquired its own homegrown power base rather than the Crown or the Earls of Shrewsbury who owned land to the north including Sheffield Castle.
Like Bess, who was his third wife, Thomas had an eye for a bargain. The pair soon started to build up a property portfolio. She ensured all her children made good marriages — a dynasty had been founded. He was did what gentry did in those days. He was a justice of the peace and a member of parliament. He and his wife had three children. The family would go on to spawn the Dukes of Kingston-Upon-Hull. It should be noted that he actually did inherit Chatsworth but sold it to his brother.
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One of his illegitimate sons, also called Henry, founded the Cavendish of Doveridge line. William Cavendish — started off having the kind of career that readers of this blog might expect of a scion of the gentry. He was an MP and a justice. He was also the Sheriff of Derbyshire. He became a baron in thanks to his niece Arbella Stuart who presents this case to her cousin King James I.
I shall be coming back to William tomorrow. Charles Cavendish was the godson of Queen Mary and the father of William Cavendish who became the Duke of Newcastle — he went through the titles earl and marquis before gaining the dukedom in when he pointed out to Charles II that the Crown owed him rather a lot of back pay and that he was seriously out of pocket for having supported Charles I during the English Civil War. From this branch of the family come the dukes of Newcastle and also Portland. Margaret, Countess of Lennox and Bess, then Countess of Shrewsbury, met at Rufford Abbey along with their respective off-spring and the rest, as they say, is history.
The result of the marriage was Arbella Stuart and a possible contender for the Crown being descended from the eldest daughter of Henry VII. The pair had five children but their two sons died in infancy. Their three daughters married as follows; the earls of Norfolk, Pembroke and Kent.
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Elizabeth I is a monarch of notoriously dodgy temperament. It is perhaps not surprising then that when another scion of the Tudor family tree married on the quiet that there was repercussions. Rufford Abbey was a very convenient place. It was getting on for thirty miles away from Chatsworth and it was handily close to the Great North Road.
Bess was on her way to meet an important guest. The guest was Margaret Stuart, Countess of Lennox. In any event Margaret having realised that her own claim to the throne was nothing but a dream had concentrated her ambition into her two sons by her husband Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox. Given the link between Mary and Margaret as well as their shared Catholicism the English Privy Council had stipulated that Margaret should not come within thirty miles of either Chatsworth or Sheffield if Mary Queen of Scots was in residence.
They suspected plots. However, Margaret had been given permission to travel between her home in Hackney to her home in Yorkshire, Temple Newsam. Permission had been granted for her to travel on 3 October Mid October — Margaret began her journey north. She became the duchess of Suffolk when she married the widowed Charles Brandon, was a friend of Katherine Parr and has been identified by some historians as a perspective wife number seven for Henry VIII. Margaret and Katherine Bertie had known each other since they were young women.
They had a friend in common — Bess of Hardwick had entertained Katherine when Katherine went to Buxton to take the waters in and she stayed at Chatsworth. Bess invited the Countess to stay at Rufford during her journey north.
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He was nineteen at that time and already earl of Lennox — though not necessarily terribly wealthy. For once this does not seem to have bothered Bess. Margaret became unwell whilst staying in Rufford. Bess cared for her guest personally. After all Margaret was a Tudor even if both host and guest were countesses. Elizabeth who had accompanied her mother and young Charles were left to their own devices. The pair fell in love and got themselves firmly engaged.
Neither mother raised any objections. In fact it appears that Bess smoothed the way. He stressed that the marriage was not a secret and that he was hiding nothing. The reality was, of course, that royal permission had not been sought — Charles Stuart was a direct descendent of Henry VII and the son of an English subject so a possible claimant of the Crown. Someone broke the news to Elizabeth I. The queen was predictably and probably alarmingly annoyed.
Charles Stuart was to return to London with his bride Elizabeth Cavendish. The journey took the rest of the month and into the beginning of December. Perhaps it was bad roads and lame beasts or perhaps Margaret wanted time for her cousin to calm down. She wrote to the earl of Leicester and Lord Burghley asking for help.
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