Gilbert Curle was one of Mary’s secretaries for more than twenty years. When the Babington Plot was exposed he, together with her French secretary Nau, was bundled off to the Tower to find out what incriminating light could be shed upon Mary’s correspondence.
He left behind a wife Barbara, formerly Mowbray. Sir Amyas Paulet had already noted Babrara as a dangerous papist. He refused to allow the baptism of Barbara’s child in the Catholic faith, and proclaimed himself scandalised when Mary baptised the child herself according to Catholic rites naming the baby girl Mary. Barbara’s sons James and Hippolytus both became Jesuit priests. Little is known of James other than the fact that he died in Spain while still a student.
Gilbert’s sister along with her sister-in-law were loyal servants of Mary. Elizabeth Curle had been at Mary’s side since 1579 when she followed Mary down to the Great Hall at Fotheringay on the first day of her trial and it was Elizabeth who together with Jane Kennedy who helped Mary to disrobe before her execution.Elizabeth’s memorial in Antwerp declares that it was Elizabeth who received Mary’s last kiss. It was to Elizabeth that Mary bequeathed her enamel minatures of Mary, Francis II and James. Mary also wrote requesting that Elizabeth Curle should be paid a marriage portion. She had made the request before.
The French king did not honour his sister-in-law’s last wishes. It was Mendoza and Philip of Spain who arranged for pensions to be paid to Mary’s faithful servants. Gilbert received a pension of forty crowns when he was eventually released from the Tower. He died in 1609. He, together with his wife and sister, lived in Antwerp. Elizabeth died in 1620 having commissioned a portrait of Mary based on the enamel which Mary had bequeathed to her. The picture was passed to her nephew Hippolytus Curle, a Jesuit priest. The memorial portrait of Mary passed from Hippolytus into the hands of the Jesuits. Antonia Fraser records that the image survived the French Revolution by being rolled up and hidden in a chimney. In Antwerp itself, the tomb of Elizabeth and Barbara Curle is surmounted by an image of Mary.
From my own researches, this seems entirely accurate. Robert Stedall
I am a Curle descendant. My grandmother was Mary Curle, daughter of Archibald Curle from Glasgow Scotland. I’d like to know more about the Curles who ended up in New Zealand and Australia. Thanks for the information! Cindi Sainsbury email@example.com
A pleasure – it always amazes me that there are so many people with links to History.
I am also a descendant of the Curles. How did we get to Dublin, Ireland.
Thanks D.Curell Cartlidge
I am also a decendant pf Elizabeth Curle. Where in Antwerp are they barried?