About Elizabeth Tyrwhitt (Oxenbridge)
ELIZABETH OXENBRIDGE (c.1519-April 1578)
Elizabeth Oxenbridge was the daughter of Goddard Oxenbridge (1465-February 10, 1531) of Brede and his second wife, Anne Fiennes (1490-May 24, 1531). She was at court in the household of Queen Jane Seymour in 1537 and after the queen's death resided with Mary Arundell, countess of Sussex. She played an active role in attempting to place one of her sisters, Mary Oxenbridge, in the Calais household of Honor Grenville, viscountess Lisle. Mary thwarted the plan by eloping with a gentleman from Kent. Elizabeth was married to Sir Robert Tyrwhitt (c.1504-1572) of Leighton Bromswold, Huntingdonshire by August 4, 1539, when she and several other gentlewomen wrote a letter to King Henry from Portsmouth, where they had gone to view the royal fleet. She signed it "Elizabeth Tyrwhyt." When Catherine Howard became queen, Elizabeth was a gentlewoman of the privy chamber and during Anne Parr Herbert’s absence from court to have a child, temporarily took over her duties as keeper of the queen’s jewels. She was also a lady of the privy chamber to Kathryn Parr and shared the queen’s views on religion. It is probably at this time that her book of prayers was written. Her husband was Kathryn's master of horse. Both she and her husband remained with the queen dowager after Henry VIII’s death and Elizabeth, in testimony before the Privy Council, gave an eyewitness account of the queen dowager’s death on September 5, 1548. Elizabeth’s dislike of Kathryn Parr’s new husband, Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour, comes through clearly in this report. A short time later, Sir Robert and Lady Tyrwhitt were put in charge of Princess Elizabeth at Hatfield, following the removal of the princess’s longtime governess, Kat Astley, on suspicion of plotting to marry her young charge to the widowed Lord Admiral. Upon Lady Tyrwhitt's arrival, the princess locked herself in her room and declared that she did not need a governess. Sir Robert was of the opinion that she needed two and Lady Tyrwhitt stayed on even after Kat Astley’s return to the household. When the princess was in the Tower, Lady Tyrwhitt sent her a copy of the book of prayers later printed as Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhitt’s Morning and Evening Prayers (1574). In 1577, the Puritan printer John Field dedicated his translation of Jean de L'Espine's Excellent treatise of Christian righteousness to Lady Tyrwhitt. Although Sir Robert continued as master of horse under Mary Tudor, Elizabeth seems to have stayed at home. She bore at least three children, two who died young and a daughter, Katherine (1541-1567). Sir Robert's will in 1572 left the bulk of his estate to his "deare and wellbeloved wife." Some genealogies give her a second husband, Roger Fynes. Elizabeth died in her home in St. John's Lane, Clerkenwell. Biography: Susan M. Felch, ed., Elizabeth Tyrwhit's Morning and Evening Prayers (2008); Oxford DNB entry under "Tyrwhit [née Oxenbridge], Elizabeth." Portrait: marble effigy in St. Mary's parish church, Leighton Bromswold.