BESS OF HARDWICK'S FAMILY
Arbella was the daughter of Elizabeth Cavendish and Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox. Arbella's father, Charles, was brother to Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, who had married Mary, Queen of Scots. They were the parents of James VI of Scotland who later became James I of England, therefore, Arbella was cousin to King James. Bess, Countess of Shrewsbury, worked diligently to promote her granddaughter as either heir to Elizabeth or later to James.
Arbella's father was of poor health and died in 1576, her mother died in 1581 and Bess took her granddaughter to live with her at Chatsworth House when she was 9 years old. Arbella became the Countess of Lennox by right of her father. She was well educated as befitted a future queen and was invited to Court by Elizabeth I. Arbella's aunt Mary and her uncle Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, escorted her, they being well accepted at Elizabeth's Court.
Mary and Gilbert Talbot had three daughters. The first daughter,
Mary, married William Herbert who had seduced Mary Fitton, a
Maid of Honour to Elizabeth I. They became the Earl and
Countess of Pembroke. The second daughter, Elizabeth, married
Henry Grey and they became the Earl and Countess of Kent.
The third daughter, Alathea, married Thomas Howard and
they became the Earl and Countess of Arundel. Their descendents
became the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.
Mary and Gilbert also had two sons but they died young.
The three daughters were published authors.
The Earl of Pembroke was a patron of William Shakespeare.
The Earl of Arundel was famous for his collection of antiquities
and he was a patron of Inigo Jones the architect who brought the
fruits of the classical revival to England.
It was the 4th Earl of Cavendish who rebuilt Chatsworth in 1684.
In 1688 he aided William of Orange to take the throne and was
created Duke. The 6th Duke modified and extended Chatsworth early in
the 19th century.
Arbella would have been taught about gardening, herb growing and brewing. She was proficient at embroidery as was Bess her grandmother and both sent presents to Queen Elizabeth at Christmas.
Arbella became very friendly with Walter Raleigh and was used as a pawn by many at court. She married in secret to William Seymour about 1611 and they were both sent to the tower. Elizabeth I was always aware of possible treason especially as both had a claim to the throne. Arbella was sent to the Bishop of Durham and William stayed in the tower. Arbella began to suffer illness and would not eat. She had already been a virtual prisoner in her grandmother's household and had even slept in the same bedroom. Her life dwindled away until she died in 1616.
William was still in the Tower but wrote to King James in humility asking to be pardoned for his folly of youth. He was pardoned and later created a Knight of the Bath. He also married again, had several children but hardly stayed with his wife. He retired to the country preferring a quiet life. William came out of his retirement an older man but willing to do his bit for Charles I during the Civil War. He was created a marquis and made governor of Prince Charles the future king. Edward Hyde accompanied the heir to the Continent and was later rewarded with the title of Earl of Clarendon. William Seymour sent money to the prince for which he received the re creation of his great grandfather's title Duke of Somerset.
William met with Oliver Cromwell, who died in 1658, and suggested he prepare the prince to return as King. Oliver's son Richard was not a good leader of the country and so the Restoration of the Monarchy took place.
William died in 1660, a well-loved and admired man who fortunately kept his head.