Court Patronage and Corruption in Early Stuart England

By Linda Levy Peck | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Court connections and county associations: the case of Buckinghamshire

Royal Households were not, of course, the only ones in which extended kinship, friendship and patronage ties were important; they often found their mirror image in gentry society. Thus, in a fascinating and unusual document, “The day of birth of my children,” written about 1602, Hester Sandys Temple recorded the date and time of birth, and sometimes death, of eleven of her fifteen children along with the names of their thirty-three godparents. 1 Hester began: “Susan Temple was born the fifth of September 1587 on Tuesday between the hours of 10 and 11 in the forenoon.” Her godfather was her uncle Edwin Sandys, and her godmothers were her grandmother Susan Temple, and grandmother-in-law Mary Sandys, “widow before of Alderman Woodcocke.” Hester’s first son, Peter, was born Monday October 2, 1592, “being the day that our queen passed through Buckinghamshire.” His godfathers were his grandfathers Sir Miles Sandys and John Temple; his godmother Elizabeth Sandys, daughter of Lord Sandys. Hester’s second son, John, had as godparents the wealthy sheep farmer, Sir John Spenser and Erasmus Dryden, a gentleman of Northamptonshire, one of the godly and, later, a forced loan resister, and Mistress Tyrrell of Thornton, a member of a politically important Buckinghamshire gentry family. The child died at two months, “on the New Year’s day following presented his soule a sweete sacrifice to his best father.” Hester’s memory and affection did not flag. Her eleventh child, Jane Sibilla Temple, was born August 21, 1602 “betwixt 9 and 10 of the clock in the morning and died the llth of September next

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