Page images

CHAP. Sussex. Of this his affection he acquainted his uncle Cecil, VI. to whom he confessed his love, but, notwithstanding, without his advice he would not proceed. And his consent and furtherance he seems to have obtained; for he married her, and had children by her.

In the year 1572 he wrote his uncle a Greek epistle congratulatory, upon his being made Lord High Treasurer, dated from Elnest in Bedfordshire.

Congratulates his

uncle in


His condi

Henry Cheke's condition was somewhat strait, and his tion as to incomes scarcely sufficient for his expenses. It appears,



those lands that Queen Mary made over to Sir John Cheke were still held fast, either by the crown or private hands, and not yet possessed by his heir: for, in one of his letters to Cecil, he shewed him, that he had indeed some estate, but not to be enjoyed without much trouble and expense for the recovery, being gotten into other men's possessions, and his houses upon his farms much out of repair. He petitioned the Queen for his estate, and Sir William Cecil presented and forwarded his suit. It was for the manor of Hunden, in the county of Suffolk. The fee simple was in his father, but now in the Queen, and she had promised his mother to restore such things as were his father's. He set forth in his petition, that it was no prejudice to the Queen, but only losing the fine: for as to the parks, they were more charges to her than she received commodity by them. By this it seems to appear, that the exchange before mentioned, between Queen Mary and Sir John, was not completed at his death, or at least was not enjoyed by him, though that Queen detained and enjoyed his lands so exchanged. Certain it is, that his circumstances were at this time but short, and annuities went out of his estate. He paid 107. a year to his youngest brother, and 107. a year to his schoolmaster; a gratuity common in those times from gentlemen to their instructThe remainder was 7461. 6s. 8d. which came yearly into his purse. He was fain to make some benefit of his lands by fines; but yet, notwithstanding, he went behindhand, whatever his good husbandry was: so that he ac




quitted himself of housekeeping, and paying for his board, SECT. by the courtesy of some of his friends; otherwise he must have fallen into extreme debt, and sold his land, as he signified his case to his uncle Cecil: notwithstanding a lease also, which he had of the Bishop of Winchester, obtained by means of his said uncle, and Mr. Vice-Chamberlain.


For two or three years he and his wife and children Sojourns resided in the country with some of his friends there, viz. friends. in the year 1574 at Wintney in Hantshire, and in 1575 at Bear, in Bear Forest, in the same county.

The Queen was acquainted with his circumstances, and He travels. intended to take him into her service; but she would have him first to travel, the better to fit him for it, which he forthwith undertook. And to fit himself out, he sold so much land as yielded him 4007. the which yet served not to maintain all his charge and expense abroad. In the year 1576 he went abroad, being now about eight and twenty years of age. In this year I find him at Antwerp, hastening towards Italy, and comes to Genoa. In the beginning of the next year he was at Florence, where he was in dan- His danger. ger of his life or liberty; means being used to entrap him, by laying in wait to catch him, with intention perhaps to serve him as they had done his father, out of a hatred conceived to his name. He was advised of this by a certain English gentleman, who coming into the company of one Stewkely, from Genoa to Siena, gave him warning to seek some other place, and to look carefully to himself, as one greatly noted by some of his countrymen, who had spoken such words in his hearing, he said, as he might not declare unto him the particulars. Upon which Mr. Cheke thought fit to ask the counsel of an Italian friend, Seignior Lorenzo Guicciardini, brother unto Vincenzo Guicciardini of London; a grave wise gentleman, and very friendly unto him, and of great credit with the great Duke of Tuscany. By his advice he resolved for Padua. So in the beginning of April he took himself to Ferrara, and found great difficulty to enter into the Duke's estate; forasmuch


CHAP. as being a neighbour unto the Venetians, (where the plague then was,) he kept the passages of his territories very strait. From thence he travelled to Padua about the end of the spring.

His observation in

His endeavour was (among the pleasures of his travels

these coun- through this brave country) to attain to speak the language


truly and readily, which he hoped to do by Michaelmas ; and then he should think he had spent that year profitably: as he wrote to the Lord Treasurer. He noted various things, and made his observations in his travels here. But in the whole he made this remark, "That he had seen many notable cities, much rich soil, and great variety of "states; but in his opinion he had not seen any city so "beautiful as Florence, any soil so rich as that of Lom"bardy, nor any state so happy as the state of Eng"land.”



He is at home in the year 1579. How much sooner he returned I find not. Now he resided with his family at Attends the Occham in Surrey. He daily attended the Court, though with little or no salary, yet in expectation of some place or preferment; for which he ceased not, as he might with modesty, to solicit his uncle, the Lord Treasurer, being his highest friend, at whose hand he looked for his greatest comfort in his necessity: for he had again lately sold some more of his land. He prayed that honourable person to bestow upon him some office in possession or reversion, whereby he might reap some yearly commodity, to the increase of his living. He was forced now, not by his unthriftiness, but by need, to sell a manor, amounting in yearly rent to the sum of 371. 15s. 10d. as well to pay his debts with part of the money, as to employ the rest in use to the best advantage. His debts were contracted by his late travel, and afterwards by his attendance at Court without fee, and other extraordinary expenses.

Made Se

But some time after, viz. in the year 1581, (when he

cretary of almost now despaired of succeeding at Court,) by the in

the Council
in the

terest of the Lord Treasurer, he was made Secretary to the
Council in the north, in the room of one Blyth, a very ho-

Comes home.


nest able man, deceased. The Earl of Huntingdon, Pre- SECT. sident of that Council, wrote to the said Lord for Henry's speedy repair to the north; saying, that he was right glad of his promotion to that place: for though a worthy man were taken away, yet he hoped a good one should succeed; so as the want of Mr. Blyth there was not like to be missed, as else it would. But, he added, that he needed not to commend him to his Lordship, who better knew him, and could judge better of such than he. Besides this office, he obtained the honour of knighthood also of the And Queen his mistress.


How long Sir Henry lived, I cannot tell: but I find one His death. Thomas Cheke, (by which name Sir Henry's eldest son was called,) in the year 1586, writing a Greek letter and Latin verses to the Lord Treasurer; therein calling himself an orphan, and speaking of his father being gone to the joys of heaven. And he prays his Lordship, that as he was always an help and a sanctuary unto his father, so he would be to him. And this I conclude to be Sir Henry's eldest son, who might now be of the age of fifteen or sixteen: and if so, then at this year we must fix the period of his life.


Sir Thomas Cheke, son of Sir Henry. His honourable posterity.

SIR HENRY CHEKE'S issue by his before-said wife Sir Henry's Frances, was Thomas, his eldest; Hatton, who followed children. the wars in Flanders, and was slain in a duel by Sir Thomas Dutton, Knight, near the town of Calais, (whose corpse was brought over, and buried at Dover;) and Henry, his third son, who died without issue, and was also buried at Dover, near his brother Hatton.


Thomas being thus left a minor, was bred in a school Sir Thomas at York: where he had two memorable schoolfellows, though of different inclinations and reputations. The one was Morton, afterwards Bishop of Durham; an excellent


CHAP. and most learned Prelate, that wrote much and well VI. against the Papists: the other, Guy Faux, infamous to posterity for his unparalleled Popish zeal and villainy. Thomas was knighted by King James I. and was then styled Sir Thomas Cheke of the county of Lincoln, in respect perhaps of his estate at Spalding in that county. After styled Sir Thomas Cheke of Pyrgo, in the liberty of Havering in Essex; being an estate which he purchased of the Grays, and where he lived anno 1634.

He married, first, a daughter of Peter Osborn, Esq. a very beautiful woman; as her picture shews, preserved in the long gallery of Pyrgo. To her he was married near twenty years, and had no issue. Afterwards he married Essex, daughter of Robert Lord Rich, Earl of Warwick. By whom he had three sons, Robert, Thomas, Charles; and five daughters, Frances, Essex, Anne, Isabel, and Elizabeth. And living to a great age, was buried, March 25, 1659, in St. Alban's church in Wood-street, (according to his desire and will,) near his grandfather, in the north chapel, without the furthest pillar, ás appears by the register of the said parish. Upon the rebuilding of this church, in clearing the rubbish, the labourers thereabouts met with a grave bricked up, which probably was wrought about his corpse. Of whose progeny, and the honourable intermarriages thereof, partly Dugdale's Baronage, and partly the visitation books in the Office of Arms, (in one book whereof is Sir Thomas Cheke's own testimonial,) give this relation:

Robert Cheke was born in the year 1625. He was crooked, but a man of exquisite parts, and very dear to the Lord Cranborn, eldest son of the Earl of Salisbury, and sometime governor of one of King Charles the Second's natural children.

His wives.

His sons.

Thomas, who inherited the estate, called Colonel Cheke, was Lieutenant of the Tower under King Charles II. and King James II. He married, first, Dorothy, a daughter of Philip Sydney, Lord Viscount Lisle, afterwards Earl of Leicester; by whom he had no issue. He afterwards mar

« PreviousContinue »