Thursday, 15 August 2013

Interesting Ancestors

I'm playing catch up this month and not only am I trying to catch up on writing posts here but I'm also trying to fnd time to read blogs that I haven't had a chance to look at recently.

One blog that particularly interested me was Della Galton's post on her family history and that there is a possibility that she is related to Emmeline Pankhurst - wow, wouldn't that be amazing if she could find out if it's true?

I've blogged before about my own interest in genealogy and that my family tree has been recorded by George Ormerod, an eminent historian in the Victorian era. My own family became landowners after helping to record information for the Doomsday book. 

The family tree links to various other landowning families in Cheshire, including the Fitton family who were the owners of Gawsworth Hall, now a National Trust property in Macclesfield.  Gawsworth Hall is reportedly haunted by two ghosts, one a court jester, and the other who was a daughter of the family, Mary Fitton.

Mary became maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1595, but was "led astray" by William Herbert who later became the Earl of Pembroke and became pregnant.  Pembroke was sent to Fleet Prison after admitting paternity but refusing to marry Mary and Mary was banished from court.

Mary returned to Gawsworth in disgrace and was banished from living in the family hall. Instead she went to live in the Old Rectory.  She gave birth to a baby boy, but the baby died.  It is possible that the baby died from syphilis, inherited from his father.

There is also a suggestion that Mary was the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's sonnets, although I supsect that this is only a rumour.

Mary further scandalized her family by having another affair and child out of wedlock and her mother disowned her.   

Mary lived until she was around 69 years old.  She was buried in Gawsworth but her ghost is reputed to be seen in Gawsworth churchyard, on the road leading from the local pub, and in the rectory.  Even after death she refused to be ingored!  I wonder if her spirit cannot rest in peace, or does she just enjoy the noteriety?  She's certainly an interesting woman to be related to find in the family records.

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