Biographical Notes

Lady Elizabeth Dowdall

Two months after the outbreak of the Irish rebellion in 1641, she raised and commanded a force of eighty men, for the defence of the castle. Otherwise an obscure figure.

Margaret Eure

parliament A member of the Denton family and youngest sister of Sir Edmund Verney's wife, she was often referred to as 'Aunt Margaret'. Her first husband John Pulteney died when she was aged 25, leaving her a wealthy and independent widow. In 1639, to the horror of the Verneys (although they remained on good terms with her) she secretly married William Eure, a Catholic soldier and royalist, who was killed in action in 1644.

Ann, Lady Fanshawe

royalist Ann was born in 1625, daughter of Sir John Harrison of Hertfordshire. In 1644 she married Richard Fanshawe; she gave birth to fourteen children, of whom only five survived beyond the age of eight. They served Charles I and II throughout capture, imprisonment and exile. Ann wrote her memoir for her son (it is addressed to him throughout), intending it as a memorial of her husband's life and achievements. She died in 1680.

Magdalen Faulkner

An impoverished cousin of Ralph Verney, she was a waiting-gentlewoman to Lady Barrymore in Ireland, at Castle Lyon. She survived the Irish rebellion despite her fears and later married a royalist clergyman.

Elizabeth Feilding, countess of Denbigh

parliament Born Elizabeth (Betty) Bourchier in ?, daughter of Henry Bourchier, 5th earl of Bath. She became Basil Feilding's third wife in 1642, and they were married for nearly thirty years. They had no surviving children.

Susan Feilding, countess of Denbigh

royalist Born Susan Villiers in 1583, sister of the Duke of Buckingham. She married William Feilding, first earl of Denbigh, in about 1607. He was severely wounded at Birmingham fighting under Prince Rupert in 1643, and died soon afterwards. Their eldest son and heir, Basil, had joined the Parliament forces. Susan died in exile in 1652.

Brilliana Harley

parliament Brilliana was born in 1600, daughter of Sir Edward and Dorothy Conway, of Ragley in Warwickshire. She became the third wife of Sir Robert Harley of Brampton Bryan Castle in March 1624. They had seven children living at the time of her death, and many of her later letters were written to her eldest son Edward (Ned). When the wars began, Brilliana was left in charge of the estates by her husband and, as parliamentarians in a largely royalist county, the Harleys were the object of much hostile attention. The siege of Brampton Bryan began on July 25 1643, and was lifted early in October 1643, but Brilliana died shortly after of a cold (she wrote her last letter on October 9); the castle was surrendered the following year.

Queen Henrietta Maria

royalist Born in 1609, she married Charles I in 1625. They were devoted to each other, but her Catholicism meant that most of the population were suspicious of her, which may have contributed to the building tensions of the 1630s. She died in 1669.

Doll Leeke

royalist Another Verney cousin, largely dependent on the family for her income. At the outbreak of war, she was a waiting-gentlewoman to the royalist Lady Anne Sydenham.

K. Lloyd

parliament Living in Flintshire, north Wales, her husband Luke was a kinsman of the parliamentarian Rigbye family (which later married an heiress into the Kenyons).

Susan Owen

parliament Susan's husband was a Londoner in the Parliamentarian Army under the Earl of Essex. Her letter was amongst a number intercepted by Royalists and published in their newspaper Mercurius Aulicus for propaganda purposes.

Susan Rodway

parliament A Parliament soldier's wife living in London; again, her letter was published in Mercurius Aulicus.

Alice Thornton

royalist Alice was born in 1627, a daughter of Sir Christopher Wandesford, deputy in Ireland to the earl of Strafford, and from an old Yorkshire gentry family. Alice was a loyal royalist and pious Anglican. She married William Thornton of East Newton in 1651. They had nine children, of whom three survived to adulthood, before his death in 166?. Her long widowhood was pre-occupied with money and other troubles; she died in 1706.

Isabella Twysden

parliament Isabella was born in 1605, the third daughter of Sir Nicholas Saunders. In 1635 she married Sir Roger Twysden of East Peckham in Kent (a mature couple: she was 30 years old and Roger seven years older). He was a moderate who supported parliament but disapproved of the war; he was arrested & imprisoned by Parliament in April 1642 for supporting the Petition of Kent, and his estates were sequestrated, Isabella being granted a fifth of income for her maintenance. She died in 1657.