[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

to Hogans to put into her Lady.

design upon her life he would have placed ship's purse

£ 36 135. 40. her in a house only a few miles from the 1559. For sewing silk sent to


Hydes, her most intimate friends. Cum. lady by Mr. Forster

45. nor was a large building, quadrangular, For apparel sent to my lady and for the charges of Higgenes, her

and of ecclesiastical style, having for. man, lying in London

merly belonged to the dissolved monasFor bringing venison to Mr. Hide's


tery of Abingdon. It was not lonely, for Item : ji pair of hose sent to my

it was close to a large village, within an lady by Sir Richard Verney's

easy walk of Oxford, and there were sev

8s. eral persons staying in it; Mrs. Owen Item. for spices bought by the

(wife of William Owen, the owner), Mr. cook when your Lordship rode

Forster and his wife (tenants), Mrs. to my lady's

Odingsell, a widow, sister of Mr. Hyde, 1559. For a looking glass sent to

living with the Forsters. It is not unmy lady by Mr. Forster

45. likely, from two sets of servants being To Smyth the mercer for 6 yards of velvet at 435. a yard : and 4

spoken of, one under Amye's control, that yards to the Spanish taylor for

the house was divided, one part being your Lordship's doublet: and 2

appropriated to her. Mr. Forster puryards for garding my lady's cloak 1125. 6d. chased the house from Owen after Amye's The following items, under the head of death, and curiously enough, by his will

Play money, show that Lord Robert in 1572, he bequeathed it to Ďudley on was frequently visiting at Mr. Hyde's:- widow Forster. Budley (then Earl of

condition of his paying 1,2001. to the To Mr. Hide which he lent your Lordship at play at his own

Leicester) did so; and it is entered as his house

property in a schedule of his estátes.

405. Delivered to your Lordship at Mr.

One would have thought that if he had Hide's at sundry times; by my

ever been a party to the murder of his wife hands 20s. : by Hugans IIs. and

there, he would have been content to by Mr. Aldersey 28s, &c. Total 675. have nothing to do with it, and rather

The other account-book (Richard El. never hear of it again. lys's) resers to 1560, the last year of her

One of the very few documents at life, but there are in it only one or two Longleat, connected with her actual resiitems, and these refer to the expense of dence at Cumnor, is a dressmaker's, or, her funeral. There is, however, a mercer's more correctly, a woman-tailor's bill, from bill (six months before her death) : —

one William Edney, of Tower Royal, in

f. s. d. London, sent in by him to Lord Robert 1560. March. Delyvered a velvet hatt Dudley for articles supplied to his wife.

imbroidered for my Ladye 36 8 Inside this bill was found (as before menPair of velvet shoes for my Ladye 3 0 0 tioned) a letter from Amyè to the tailor, In the account-books the dates of month which he had preserved as a voucher for and day are not always given, so that it is some particular gown ordered by her. not easy to distinguish exactly which of

Amye Lady Dudley's Letter to her Tailor. them refer to her whilst she was lodging

edney wt my harty ccmendations thesse with the Hyde family at Denchworth, and shalbe to desier you to take ye paynes for me which to her later residence at Cumnor. As to make this gowne of vellet * whiche I But it is evident that she was under no sende you wt suche A collare as you made my restraint, for we find her journeying about, to Lincolnshire, London, Suffolk, rosset taffyta gowne you sente my last & I will Christchurch in Hampshire, and Camber- se you dyscharged for all I pray you let it be well, twelve horses being at her command. by this bearar frewen the carryar of oxforde

done wt as muche speade as you can & sente CUMNOR.

& & thus I bed you most hartely fare well from

comnare this xxiiij of avguste It cannot have been much before the

Your assured frind very last year of her life that she removed

AMYE DUDDLEY. from Mr. Hyde's, at Denchworth, to Cum- To my very frinde will nor Place, about eleven miles off. It is yam | edney the tayler quite intelligible that she might have found it more convenient to have a house in

at tower rill geve this

in London.t which she would be more of the mistress than would be the case whilst staying at

* Vellet, in the letter, is used by Spenser, for velvet. a friend's; and it seems unreasonable to from the Latin villosus, hairy or woolly.

Chaucer has velloute. Ben Jonson vellute, probably suppose that if her husband had any evil + Tower Royal, near Bucklersbury and the Mansion




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Among other items in the bill of this I of England to select for a husband a man poor lady's wardrobe were “a loose gown who had caused his wife to be murdered. of satten byassed with lace over the | The last thing, therefore, that Dudley garde, a round kirtle of russet wrought. would wish to hear among all these unvelvet with a fringe ; a Spanish gown toward rumors, would be that his wife had of damask, laced all thick athwart the met with a violent death. This appears guard;” “a Spanish gown of russet dam. from what took place when that news

“a loose gown of rosset taffataactually reached him as described in some (the pattern alluded to in the letter); letters preserved in transcript) in the also lace, fringes of black silk and gold, Pepysian Library at Cambridge, and ruffs, collars, and the like. These little printed in Craik's “ Romance of the Peermatters are mentioned merely to show age,” Lord Braybrooke's “Diary of that, as to dress, she appears to have Pepys,” Mr. Pettigrew's pamphlet, and been liberally supplied. One of the last Adler's “ Amye Robsart.” items was incurred after her death, viz., From these it appears that Amye's "a mantle of cloth for the chief mourner.” death took place on Sunday, the 8th of

While she was living at Cumnor during September, 1560. The news was carried the last year of her life, perfectly free by one Bowes, a Cumnor servant, to Lord from restraint, so far as appears from the Robert, then at Windsor, and reached documents before us, the court, and in him the next morning, Monday. A little deed the whole country, began to be filled while before this message reached Windwith various rumors about Robert Dudley sor Sir Thomas Blount, one of Dudley's and the queen. All these arose from the household officers, had set off towards queen being a young unmarried lady, and Oxfordshire. from the anxiety which her counsellors, It has been said that Dudley had prethe nation, and foreign nations, too, felt viously heard something that alarmed upon this question, viz. : who, in case of him, which induced him to send Blount her death, was to be the successor to the off. But no evidence of this has been throne. There were schemes and in produced. Blount had not gone very far trigues that were going on all around the on his road when he met Bowes coming, queen. There were princes abroad, and who told him all he knew, viz., that the noblemen at home, ready to be promoted. day before, Sunday, being Abingdon Fair Dudley was known to be in high favor : day, Lady Dudley had herself given the the queen was believed to be really at. strange order for all belonging to her to tached to him.

go to the fair, and would suffer none to Rumors of the worst kind were "bruited tarry at home; that Mrs. Odingsell reabout” in London. It was said that monstrated with her, saying it was not a Amye was very ill, that she had a cancer, proper day for gentlewomen to go, but that she was to be divorced, that she was that she would go next day. Whereupon to be poisoned, that Dudley had actually Lady Dudley grew very angry, and said given instructions for her quiet disappear- Mrs. Odingsell might do as she pleased,

The Spanish ambassador, De Cua- but all hers should go, and that Mrs. dra, reported all these to his master, and Owen should dine with her. Her people, that the affair was coming off immedi- accordingly, all went to the fair, leaving in ately. Dudley himself knew of these the house, so far as appears, three ladies, evii reports. He also knew that for his Mrs. Owen, Mrs. Forster, and Mrs. wife to die just then in any way would be Odingsell, besides the Forster servants. damaging to his character, and to any Of Forster himself or of Varney there is hopes that he might be entertaining they no mention at all. On their return from would only be most damaging, because, the fair Lady Dudley was dead, found though the queen had declared rather lying on the floor of the hall, at the foot pettishly to lier ministers that “ she was of the staircase. Bowes could tell Sir not going to marry a subject, or allow any Thomas nothing more, as he had been one beneath her to be called My Lord's among the rest away at the fair. Sir Grace,” still, should she change ber mind, Thomas, having heard this, continued his public opinion would hardly allow a queen ride, and stopped for the night at Abing

don, about four miles from Cumnor, and, House, London. Stowe says the queen's wardrobe wanting to hear what was said about the was there, and that it had been a strong residence matter, sends for the landlord, and


preoccupied by Royalty, afterwards turned into shops, tending that he was on his way to GlouOthers derive it from the merchants of La Reole, who established themselves there, and gave to the street the cestershire, asked, “What news in these


name of La Reole.

parts ?"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The landlord replied, “There was fallen that you will use all devises & meanes you can a great misfortune within three or four possible for the learning of the truth ; wherein miles of the town. My Lord Robert have no respect to any living person : & as by Dudley's wife was dead.

your own travell and diligence, so likewise by Blount asked, “ How was that?”

order of lawe, I mean, by calling of the Coro

ner, & charging him to the uttermost, from me, • By a misfortune, as he heard : by a

to have good regard to make choyse of no fall from a pair of stairs." *

light or slight persons, but the discreetest & Blount asked, “ By what chance ?"

substantial men for the juries : such as for their The landlord did not know.

knowledge may be able to search honorablie & Blount asked, “ What was his judgment duelie, by all manner of examynacions, the and the judgment of the people ?” bottom of the matter : & for their uprightness

He said, cautiously enough, “Some will earnestlie & sincearlie deale therein, with. said well, and some said evil.”

out respect. And that the bodie be viewed & " What do you think?" asked Blount.

searched accordinglie by them: and in every The landlord said, “He thought it must respect to proceede by order & lawe. In the be a misfortune, because it happened in mean tyme, cosin Blount

, let me be advertysed that honest gentleman's house (meaning the matter doth stande : for, as the cause &

from you by this berer, with all spede, howe Mr. Forster's). His great honesty doth the manner thereof doth marvelously trouble much curb the evil thoughts of the peo- me, considering my case many waies, so shall ple: ”i.e., Mr. Forster was so well known I not be at rest till I may be ascertayned as a respectable man that no one would thereof: prayinge you ever, as my truste is believe a crime could be committed in his in you, & as I have ever loved you, do not house.

dissemble with me, neither let anythinge be “Methinks," said Blount, “ that some hid from me, but sende me your trewe conof her people that waited on her should ceyt and opinion of the matter, whether it have soniething to say about this?

happened by evill chance or villainye: and “No, sir," said the landlord, “ but lit- faill not to let me heare contynewallie from tle : for it is said they were here at the from Windsore, this' IXth day of September

you. And thus fare you well. In moch hast, fair and none left with her."

in the eveninge. Your lovinge frend and kynsHow might that be?” asked Blount. man, moch perplexed.

R. D. "It is said," answered the landlord, “that she rose that day very early, and

Lady Dudley had (as mentioned above) commanded all her sorte to go to the fair,

a half-brother, John Appleyard, and an and would suffer none to tarry at home illegitimate brother, Arthur Robsart. So which was thought a very strange thing Dudley adds, in a postscript:for her to do.”

I have sent for my brother [i.e. brother-inThis conversation took place on the law) Appleyarde, because he is her brother, & Monday evening, at Abingdon. The other of her frendes also, to be theare, that same evening, Dudley at Windsor, hav- they may be previe & see how all things do ing heard what Bowes, the first messen.

proceede. ger from Cumnor, had to tell him, sends It is difficult to conceive how such a off by a return messenger one Bryse, with letter as this could have been written by the following letter to Sir Thomas Blount: a man who had previously given a tacit

consent to his wife's destruction. Cosin Blount, — Immediately upon your

de. parting from me there came to me Bowes, by don would be about forty miles.

The distance from Windsor to Abing.

It does whom I do understande that my wife is dead, &, as he saithe, by a fall from a pair of staires not appear at what hour Blount received Little other understandinge can I have from it; but the next morning (Tuesday, 1oth), him. The greatness & the suddennesse of the having heard what was said and thought mysfortune doth so perplex me, untill I do outside Cumnor, he went on to the house heare from you how the matter standeth, or itself, and had the same account from the howe this evill doth light upon me, consider- lady's own maid, Mrs. Pinto. He then ing what the malicious world will bruyte (i.e. asked her, “What she thought of the will say] as I can take no rest. And, because matter; was it chance or villany?” The I have no waie to purge myselfe of the mali: maid answered: “ By my faith, I judge it cious talke that I knowe the wicked worlde will use, but one, which is the verie plaine chance, and neither done by man nor by truth to be knowen, I do praye you, as you

herself, for she was a good, virtuous genhave loved me, and do tender me & my quiet- tlewoman, and daily would pray upon her ness, and as nowe my special truste is in you, knees; and divers times I have heard her

pray to God to deliver her from despera• A pair of stairs, in the west of England, means a

tion.” “Then,” said Blount, “she might staircase with two landings.

have an evil eye in her mind ?” (meaning, I presume, thought of suicide). “No, if it appear villainy (as God forbid so mis. good Mr. Blount," said the maid, “ do not chievous or wicked body should live) then to so judge of my words. If you should so find it so, and God willing, I shall never feare gather, I am sorry I said so much." the due prosecution accordingly, what person

On Wednesday, uth, Blount at Cum. soever it may appear any way to touch : as well nor replied to Dudley's letter. He re

for the just punishment of the act as for myne ports all that Bowes had told him on the own trewe justification : for as I would be

sorry in my heart any such evil should be comroad (which would be the same as Bowes mitted, so shall it well appear to the world my told Dudley), and also all that he had innocency. heard and seen, as above given; adding that a coroner's jury was already assem. Here, before proceeding, two or three bling before he had reached Cumnor, and remarks. that since he had been there he had heard 1. If he had really in any way encourseveral strange things which led him to aged, or connived at, a violent death, it is think that Lady Dudley had been some. next to impossible that he could have what disordered in her mind.

faced the ordeal of inquiry in such a tone It has been alleged against Dudley that as this. he showed great indifference by not going 2. These letters, which passed between down immediately himself. But one may Dudley and Blount at the very moment, look at his conduct in another light. He annihilate some of the common false. knew well enough that he would be im. hoods. For example (1) Verney and mediately suspected of having in some Forster (neither of whom is mentioned in way led to the violent death. If he had the letters as being near the place) are gone down in person, his presence might said in the slanderous narrative ("* Leices. probably have overawed a country jury, | ter's Commonwealth”) to have sent away and hindered them from speaking out and all the servants. It was Lady Dudley's asking questions freely; or it might be own doing, and a very strange thing insaid that he had bribed them not to be deed for her to do. (2) The narrative says too inquisitive. He therefore wisely that the body was hastily buried, and that stayed away; but he urged, in the very her father, Sir John Robsart, ordered it to strongest terms, that no pains should be be exhumed for the coroner. Amye's spared to find out if it were done by vil. body was not buried, for the inquest was lany, and the guilty parties to be declared. already sitting when Sir Thomas Blount Also that all his wife's own relatives arrived at Cumnor; and instead of the should be sent for: thus giving to her matter being hastily smuggled through, it family every opportunity of fair play. was most closely inquired into, in the The chief of these were Mr. Appleyard, presence of all the lady's own friends and her half-brother, and Arthur Robsart, her relatives that could be got together, un. illegitimate brother. Appleyard was a der no restraint from the presence of Norfolk man, high sheriff of that county Dudley himself. Nor could her father Sir the next year.

Mr. Norris and Sir Rich- John Robsart have given any order, for he ard Blount, both of well-known Berkshire had himself died several years before, viz. families, were also there. The jurymen in A.D. 1553. were all strangers to Dudley; but such 3. Though (as observed in the earlier was the jealousy towards court favorites, part of this paper) the evidence found at that there were some among them who Longleat does not clear up the whole would have been glad to connect him with mystery, still its tendency is to give a new the death if they could. Yet the answer complexion to many of the circumstances. sent to him was that after the inost search. It certainly does not present any traces of ing inquiry they could make, they could estrangement between Dudley and his find 110 presumption of evil dealing. Sir wife, or of dark arrangements for putting Thomas Blount himself asked in every her out of the way. direction, and declared he could not find Mrs. Pinto, the lady's maid, was satisor hear of anything to make him suspect fied that the death of her mistress was a that violence had been used by any per- pure accident, “neither done by man nor

Lord Robert then writes to desire herself.” The jury “could find no prethat a second jury of substantial honest sumption of evil dealing.” The late Mr. men should be suinmoned; and to them Pettigrew, who wrote very carefully upon be sent this inessage:

the subject, accepted the verdict of the To deal earnestly, carefully, and truly, and jury, but adds: “There are at the same to find as they shall see it fall out. And if it time some circumstances that lead to a fall out a chance or misfortune, so to find, and I suspicion that it might have been hier own



The strange stories which Sir the archives at Simancas, in Spain; and it Thomas Blount heard from the lady's is corroborated by evidence at Longleat, maid, Amye's prayers to be delivered from not less valuable because non-official. A desperation, and the sending all servants common letter about sending venison out of the house for the day, for them to pasties, and apologizing for the possibly find her dead when they returned bad baking of them, is hardly a document these circumstances led Mr. Pettigrew to in which one would have expected to find think that possibly she might for some anything to help in forming an opinion as time have been laboring under mental into the guilt or innocence of the husbana firmity, and that care and seclusion in the of Amye Robsart. The letter was written house of friends with female companions to Robert Dudley by Henry Hastings, about her, may have been desirable, in- Earl of Huntingdon, his brother-in-law. stead of her appearing about the court, He was one of a few of blood royal who where her conduct might have excited were in turn named for the succession to remark, and have been inconvenient. It the crown in case of Elizabeth's death, may be added that the prevailing whisper- being a candidate of the house of York, ings and slanders about the queen's only descended (through the Pole family) from waiting for her death, and that treachery George, Duke of Clarence, brother of was on foot, had reached her; and it is King Richard the Third, not, as it would not difficult to believe that continual sus appear, being himself ambitious of the picion of being marked may have had a honor, but the nominee of a certain politidepressing effect and have led her to de. cal party. stroy herself. However, after a prolonged Lord Huntingdon's letter was written inquiry, the jury found it mere accident from the town of Leicester on the 17th of For Dudley it was a very untoward acci- September, 1560, nine days after the death dent; and that it should just happen when of Amye, and the news reached hiin everybody was saying that something whilst he was writing it. He then added would happen, was undoubtedly one of a postscript. those very extraordinary coincidences which it is not easy to explain to public Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, to Lord

Robert Dudley. satisfaction. She was buried by Dudley in St. Mary's Church, Oxford, with great commendations. Although I am sure you are

My very good Lord. After my most harty expense and magnificence, a number of not without plenty of Red deer, yet I am bold ladies attending as mourners, followed by to send you half a dozen pies of a stag which the University dignitaries, and Dudley's was bred in the little garden at Ashby (de la friends, some of them of the Privy Coun- Zouche). I would be glad to understand how cil. The expenses of the funeral are the baking doth like you, for I am in some mentioned in one of the account-books at doubt my Cook hath not done his part, but Longleat. The exact site of the vault had you must pardon this fault, and it shall be been forgotten, but it has lately been as amended: for if you love to eat of a stag, I certained and an inscription ordered to be this winter. It shall be as fat as any forest

will have one ready for you any time (I trust) cut upon the top step of the three steps doth yield & within 4 days warning he shall be rising into the chancel. Another feature in this case favorable I take my leave, wishing to you in all things

sent to you. Thus my good lord and brother to Dudley is, that distinguished men of as to myself. From Leicester the 17 of Sept. the day who were familiar with him har

Your assured brother to the end bored no suspicion of unkind feelings on

H. HUNTYNGDON. his part towards the wife of his youth: As I ended my Letter, I understood by Letters among them particularly, Sir Nicholas the death of my Lady your wyfe. I doute not Throckmorton, ambassador at Paris, of a but long before this tyme you have considered party wholly opposed to Dudley in reli- what a happy hour it is, which bringeth man gion, being a Roman Catholic; also Sir from sorrow to joy, from mortality to immor. Henry Sydney, father of the famous tality, from care and trouble to rest and quietPhilip. Sir Henry told the Spanish am

ness: & that the Lord above worketh all for the bassador that the death "he was quite best to them that love him well. I will leave my sure was accidental. He had examined babbling, a bid the buzzard cease to teach the into the circumstances with the greatest

falcon to fly: & so end my rude postscrip.

To my very good Lord & Brother, the Lord scruple, and could discover nothing like Robert Dudley. foul play, however the public. mind was possessed with the opposite opinion.” On this letter one remark may be made. This evidence comes from official Eliza. It is a fair instance of the value of private bethan correspondence, discovered among and familiar documents. Official papers


« VorigeDoorgaan »