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Anno 1557.

Dies in debt.

His arms and crest.

HE left Henry, his son and heir, but in bad circumstances, dying a thousand marks and more in debt. He left behind him, in land, to the value of three hundred marks a year; his wife being joint purchaser with him for two hundred marks thereof, and Peter Osborn (at whose Peter Os- house he died) for the third. But that true friend of Sir kindness. John, though he had an estate in that land for the term of


his life, and might have taken all the profits thereof to his
own use, was contented to forbear it, of very kindness to
the Lady Cheke his widow, and to Henry Cheke and his
brothers: as in divers other respects he had shewn himself
kind to that family, and discharged Sir John's debts, and
maintained Henry at school during his minority, and fully
answered such debts as his father owed him; and, when
he came to full age, he released him the commodities aris-
ing of the land, and suffered him to receive them to his
own use during his life.

His person described.


His circumstances at his death. His arms. His person.
His lady. Her fortune. Mac Williams her second
husband. Some account of him. Her death.

Sir John's paternal coat of arms was argent, three crescents gules. There be two crests shewn in the Heralds' Office for his crest. The one is a leopard seiant, with a collar and chain: the other a crescent of the colour of the crescents in the coat, with a cross patee fitche placed within the horns of it, of the same: which was that he commonly bore; and seems to have relinquished the other for this. Which very aptly denoted (as it were by some prophetic spirit in him or the herald) that great cross and affliction that befell him for the sake of Christ.

All that I can describe of his person is from a picture of him yet remaining at Pyrgo, in the long gallery there: where he is represented with a round cap on his head, and a letter and other papers in his right hand, as Clerk of the Council, or principal Secretary. A book lying upon

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the table before him, signifying either his own learning, or SECT. his place and charge of instructing the King. A full comely countenance, somewhat red; with a yellow large beard, Anno 1557. covering his upper lip, and hanging below his chin, somewhat forked. A visage portending wisdom and careful


him) Lady Cheke

married a

For gain to Mac


His lady (who no question suffered deeply with yet lived to see better days, and enjoyed a long life. she married again to Henry Mac Williams, of Irish extract, Esquire, a gentleman of the Court, and of considerable quality. But a match that proved unhappy for the children she had by Sir John Cheke; her estate (which was considerable) going to her second husband, and the children by him.

Her fortune brought to this gentleman was, in western The estate she brought lands, by year, 132l. 3s. 4d. The fines and casualties to him. thereof was worth the first year 300l.; the yearly casualties afterwards were, communibus annis, 66l. 13s. 4d. She had in plate 1000 marks, in jewels 800 marks; gowns, five; kirtles, nineteen; partlets, sleeves, and other linen, to the value of above 300l.; household stuff that cost above 4001. For her service of her Majesty she had a lease in Wales, which, first and last, was worth 1000/.; she had moreover in sheep 3607. she had Barnardiston, a ward, worth 500 marks; more, two leases for the provision of her house, that, to be sold, were worth 2001. Such a fortune was she to her second husband, and such an injury her. second marriage did to her children by the former husband, leaving them in the mean time very bare and needy.

Williams a

This Henry Mac Williams was a person of valour and This Mac chivalry, being one of those that were chosen by the Earl man of chiof Leicester, in a great exercise of tilts and tournaments, valry. anno 1565, before Queen Elizabeth, (wherein he met with a remarkable accident,) at the marriage of Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, with a daughter of Francis Russel, Earl of Bedford, solemnized before the said Queen, at her palace at Westminster, Sunday, 11th of November, the Ex Officio


CHAP. year above-said. For the greater magnificency, on the V. said Sunday, and two days after, were holden justs, tourAnno 1557. neys, and barriers, at Westminster, by four gentlemen challengers against all comers, viz. Sir Henry Knoles, son and heir to Sir Francis Knoles, Vice-Chamberlain; Thomas Leighton, Christopher Hatton, and Robert Colshill.

Her chil

dren by Mac Williams.

Robert, Earl of Leicester, being chief defendant, with twenty-two other noblemen and gentlemen in his company; namely, Henry L. Herbert, son and heir to William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke; Arthur L. Grey, of Wilton; Walter Winsor, Henry Norrys, and, among the rest, Henry Mac Williams. The third day, being Tuesday, Henry Mac Williams ran with Henry Knoles at the tourney, who overthrew both Mac Williams and his horse. Whereupon the said horse and armour became a due droit to the officers at arms; who, according to their right, and according to the judgment of the Lord Judge there present, seized upon the same. But being put in question, whether it were a droit to them, the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal, called before him the Kings of Arms and Heralds, willing them to bring to him, and shew him such precedents as they had for their right therein: which they did accordingly. Upon the sight of which precedents, the said Duke awarded unto the said officers, in consideration of the premises, the sum of 20%. Which sum, for redemption of the said horse and armour, was paid to the said company by the Earl of Leicester; and so discharged the said Mac Williams.

This Mac Williams, by the Lady Cheke, had Henry Mac Williams, (who died without issue,) and five daughters; viz. Margaret, wife of John L. Stanhope; Susan, wife of Edward Sandeys, Esq. married again to Goddard Pemberton, Knight, and after to Thomas Ireland, Knight; Ambrosia, wife to William Kingswel, Knight; Cassandra, wife of George Cotton, Knight; Cicilia, wife to Thomas Ridgeway, Knight, Treasurer of Ireland. In short, this gentleman, Mr. Mac Williams, was a Justice of Peace in

Essex, and died in December anno 1586. Lady Cheke was a widow a second time. description of her.

And so the SECT. But for some


Anno 1557.

of the Lady Cheke.



She was a comely courtly lady, bred up in the Court Description from her childhood. In Queen Elizabeth's time was much at Court, being one of the Ladies of the Privy Chamber, an honourable station in those days. Nor was she backward in taking her place of the other Court Ladies; insomuch that once, viz. in the year 1591, complaint was made of the Lady Cheke by a Viscount's daughter (or, at least, so valuing herself) to the Lord Burghley, (that then held the Earl Marshal's place by commission from the Queen,) for that the Lady Cheke went before her at Court. This lady complainant was the Lady Frances Cooke, wife to William, a son of Sir Anthony Cooke, Knight, and daughter of the Lord John Grey, brother to the Duke of Suffolk. She, by a letter, dated from Charing Cross the year aforesaid, humbly beseeched him, as he was honourable himself, so it might please his Lordship to vouchsafe his honour"able favour towards the house she was come of; which, 66 as his Lordship best knew, was once not least honourable, "though, by misfortune, brought low; whereof, it seem"eth," as she proceeded, "my Lady Cheke, to whom I "never gave cause of just offence, taketh great advantage. "For she doth not only offer me all the wrong and dis66 grace that she can in Court, in taking place afore me, " where it becometh not me, in modesty, to strive for it; "but she openly publisheth to every body, that I have no place at all. Truly, my Lord, I should think my fortune "hard, and my deserts ill, if my hap fall out to be put "down by a woman of no greater birth than I take my "Lady Cheke to be. I hope her Majesty and your Lord"ship will make some difference between our two births. "And I trust, never having offended her Majesty, that I "shall receive that gracious favour from her, that I may "still possess the place I did in my Lord my father's "time, and ever since his death, till of late; which place "I took as a younger Viscount's daughter."


cedency due



Ladies are apt to value themselves, and affect precedency; and so, it seems, did these two: the Lady Cheke, Anno 1557. as she was the relict of a Knight, sometime Secretary of What pre- State, and a Privy Counsellor; and the Lady Frances to the Lady Cooke, as being the daughter of a son of a Marquis, viz. Marquis of Dorset, and younger brother of a Duke, viz. Duke of Suffolk. Whereupon she gave her father the title of a younger Viscount; though, according to the laws of heraldry, she could not take place upon any of these accounts and therefore I am afraid the Lord Marshal's decision went not for her, and the Knight's Lady had the right of taking place; though, out of courtesy and respect to her father, she had precedency in his life-time.


Yet, as she was daughter (and eldest daughter) to a son
and heir male of a Marquis, (his elder brothers being
dead,) as he claimed by bearing a label of three points in
his arms, and as he is styled in the inscription upon his
monument in the chapel at Pyrgo, I leave to the Office of
Arms to determine what place she was to have on that

But so much shall suffice for the Lady Cheke, after I
death and shall have brought her to her end. She was buried in the
monument-chancel of the church of St. Martin's in the Fields, about
al inscrip-


the year 1616; (that is, about sixty years after her first
husband's death, and twenty years after her second :)
where she hath still a very fair monument against the
north wall; with a marble figure of her lying along, of
excellent work, and an inscription, wherein both her hus-
bands are mentioned, with their issue by her, and the
former with the title of Secretary of State to King Edward
VI. Which inscription is as follows; declaring her birth,
marriage, children, and quality.


Hic jacet Maria Domina Cheke, filia R. Hill, Armig. Fœmina pia et prudens, et quæ fuit ad obitum una Dominarum in Privata Camera Regina Elizabethæ (quæ fuit tunc dignitas in præcipuo honore.) Nupta fuit primo Johanni Cheke, Militi, Magistro, et Principali Secretario

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