Have you noticed the way that wives simply don’t count in the historical record unless they bring oodles of cash or have heirs and spares? Sometimes it really does look like “his story.” There certainly aren’t any pictures of Margaret or her daughters so this post will have to make do with William Cavendish. Margaret was William’s first wife.
Anyway, Margaret Bostock was born in Whatcroft in Cheshire. Margaret’s father, Edmund, came from a family that claimed its descent from the Norman Conquest. She married William in 1532 as Cavendish began his career in the employment of Thomas Cromwell. She died on 9th June 1540, the day before Cromwell was arrested. It should have made for a grim year for Sir William, instead he was promoted and sent to Ireland to survey the king’s lands.
The couple had five children but only three survived to adulthood:
- Catherine married Thomas Brooke, the son of Lord Cobham which sounds very grand but he was son number four or five. Lord Cobham, a soldier and courtier, fathered fourteen legitimate children. He was an associate of the Seymours and would benefit from the dissolution of the monasteries. When she married Thomas, Catherine became the sister-in-law of William Parr who was married to Thomas’s sister Elizabeth. William was Queen Katherine Parr’s brother. It demonstrates that William Cavendish or rather Bess of Hardwick was upwardly mobile, associated with the New Learning of the period and knew how to find a husband which would improve those all important social and career prospects. Even more noticeable, on further inspection, is the chain of kinship connections that Bess of Hardwick wrought between her children and the Cobhams.
Thomas managed to get himself sentenced to death twice – once for treason and then for piracy and was charged with a murder in Blackfriars. He got himself caught up in Wyatt’s Rebellion in 1554 (it was a family affair given that Cobham was Wyatt’s cousin) and on his release set off for a life of adventure on the high seas – by which I mean piracy which didn’t amuse the Spanish very much. eventually he was re-arrested and sent back to the Tower where he was sentenced to death. On this occasion he didn’t have to rely on the clemency of the monarch – he pleaded benefit of the clergy. All of which is very Elizabethan, he could even claim a degree of kinship with Sir Walter Raleigh but there’s no sign of Catherine in the tale.
- Mary died in 1547
- Anne married Sir Henry Baynton in 1561. The Bayntons were a Wiltshire family. The marriage was arranged by Bess of Hardwick, Anne’s step-mother. Sir Henry was actually the brother-in-law of Bess’s new husband William St Loe. Like Lord Cobham, Baynton’s father was a courtier to Henry VIII and had been present at the baptism of Prince Edward.