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About Anne Finch
Anne Vavasour (c.1560 – c.1650) was a Maid of Honour (1580–81) to Queen Elizabeth I of England, and the mistress of two aristocratic men. Her first lover was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, by whom she had an illegitimate son – Edward. For that offence, both she and the earl were sent to the Tower of London by the orders of the Queen. She later became the mistress of Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley, by whom she had another illegitimate son.
By 1590, she had married a sea captain by the name of John Finch. She later married John Richardson, while her first husband was still alive; and as a consequence, she was brought up before the High Commission on a charge of bigamy, for which she had to pay a fine of £2000; however, she was spared having to perform a public penance.
She was the inspiration, protagonist, and possibly the actual author, of the poem, Anne Vavasour's Echo, though her lover the Earl of Oxford is more commonly identified as its author.
Anne was born circa 1560, the daughter of Henry Vavasour of Tadcaster, Copmanthorpe, Yorkshire, and Margaret Knyvet.Anne's maternal uncle was Sir Thomas Knyvet, 1st Baron Knyvet. It was this family connection which likely secured her a place at court as one of Queen Elizabeth's Ladies of the Bedchamber. Her younger sister, Frances (1568 – c.1606), was also at court as a Maid of Honour to the Queen (1590–91), and who in 1591, secretly married Sir Thomas Shirley. Her younger brother, Thomas, also made a career at court and became embroiled in her scandals, at one point challenging the Earl of Oxford to a duel but which does not appear to have taken place.
Shortly after her arrival at court, she became the mistress of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who was married to Anne Cecil, the daughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, the Queen's most trusted advisor. Oxford had separated from his wife in 1576.
On 23 March 1581, Anne gave birth to Oxford's illegitimate son, Edward, which resulted in their imprisonment in the Tower of London by the command of Queen Elizabeth. Oxford was released several months later, but was banished from court until June 1583. He had reconciled with his wife, Anne Cecil in January 1582.
Their love affair also led to open skirmishes and duels in the streets of London, between Oxford and Anne's uncle, Thomas Knyvet, which on one occasion led to the wounding of both men, and the death of one of Oxford's men.
Though her child, baptised Edward Vere, would survive to manhood, Oxford took no responsibility for his upbringing or education though did settle lands on him and gave £2000 to Anne. The boy was raised by Anne. In later years her son became a protégé of Oxford's cousin, Sir Francis Vere.
Sometime before 1590, Anne married a sea captain by the name of John Finch. Around this time, she took another lover, Sir Henry Lee, Master of the Royal Armouries, by whom she had another illegitimate son, Thomas. They lived openly together at his manor of Ditchley. The Queen apparently approved of their liaison, as the couple entertained her at Ditchley House in September 1592. In 1605, Lee pensioned off Finch, and left Anne an income of £700 per year in his will, some property, and instructions for their joint burial in the tomb he had had erected for them in Quarrendon, Buckinghamshire. He had written an epitaph for the tomb which described her as having been: "a fair and worthy Dame". They remained together until his death in 1611. Anne outlived Sir Henry, but was forced to engage in a series of legal battles with Sir Henry's son over the property he had left her.
By 1618, she had married a second time to John Richardson. At this point John Finch reappeared and she was brought up before the High Commission on 8 August 1618 and charged with bigamy. On 1 February 1622, she was ordered to pay a fine of £2000, however she was spared the ordeal of performing a public penance.
She died in about 1650 at the advanced age of 90, and was buried at Quarrendon, near Aylesbury, in a chapel of which only a remnant of the outer wall now remains. Sir Henry's monument showed him lying down in armour with an effigy of Anne kneeling at his feet.
Two poems, Though I seem strange sweet friend and Anne Vavasour's Echo, appear in collections of the work of the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere, but have been attributed to Vavasour in some manuscripts.
Anne Vavasour's Echo is written as if spoken by her as a series of questions. The last word of each line she says is echoed as the answer: e.g. "'who was the first that bred me to this fever?' echo: 'vere'".
- Ann Vavasour1
- F, #341959, b. 1560, d. 1650
- Last Edited=13 Mar 2009
- Ann Vavasour was born in 1560.1 She died in 1650.1
- She and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford were associated.1
- Child of Ann Vavasour and Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
- Edward de Vere1
- [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
- From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p34196.htm#i341959
- Anne VAVASOUR
- Born: ABT 1565
- Notes: lady of the bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth. The Earl of Oxford was retained under house arrest for a short time and, following the Born to Anne Vavasour of an illegitimate child fathered by him in 1581 (Sir Edward Vere), was briefly in the Tower of London. He had seduced the beautiful Anne Vavasour, and "on Tuesday at night Anne Vavasour was brought to bed of a son in the maidens' chamber. The E. of Oxeford is avowed to be the father" (Letter of Walsingham, 23 Mar 1580/1, Hist. MSS. Com., Hastings MSS, vol. ii, p. 29). The Earl was under restraint for some weeks and not admitted to Court until Jun 1583. Oxford and his followers reaped the fruits of this scandal in a duel, and a series of frequent and fatal brawls lasting over several years. The birth of this child led to a long-running feud with Sir Thomas Knyvett, uncle of Anne Vavasour, which resulted in the deaths of three followers of De Vere and Knyvett as well as injury to both men.
- In 1591 Richard Warburton was involved in a dispute with the copyholders of the manor of Over Whitley (Whitley Superior), a duchy of Lancaster manor in Cheshire, recently granted to him by the Queen. Robert Cecil was probably his patron at this time, and he certainly was in 1595, when, in Sep, Warburton wrote from Plymouth excusing his sudden return from a voyage, the purpose of which is not known. It is likely that it was Cecil who brought Warburton in for Bridport in 1601. Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Bindon, received nominations at several Dorset boroughs for this Parliament, offering them to Cecil. Warburton was named to one committee, concerned with the order of business, 3 Nov 1601. In 1602 Cecil secured Warburton a command at Brill under Sir Francis De Vere, who in 1605 urged Salisbury to allow him to return quickly to the Low Countries. The remainder of Warburton's career lies outside this biography. His widow was granted administration of his estate on 27 Jan 1610, and the new election return was dated 1 Feb 1610. The heir was his only child Cecil, so named after the godfather.
- Father: Henry VAVASOUR
- Mother: Margaret KNYVETT
- Associated with: Edward De VERE (17º E. Oxford)
- 1. Edward De VERE (Sir)
- Associated with: Henry LEE (Sir Knight)
- 2. Thomas LEE
- Married: Richard WARBURTON (Sir Knight) (d. 1610) (3rd son of Peter Warburton of Hefferston Grange and Alice Cooper) ABT 1603
- 3. Cecil WARBURTON
- From: http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/VAVASOUR.htm#Anne VAVASOUR0
- WARBURTON, Richard (d.1610), of London.
- 3rd s. of Peter Warburton of Hefferston Grange in Weaversham, Cheshire by Alice, da. and coh. of John Cooper of Abbots Bromley, Staffs. educ. Clement’s Inn; L. Inn 1583. m. c.1603, Anne Vavasour, sis. of Thomas Vavasour lady of the bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth, 1s. Kntd. 1603.
- Offices Held
- Gent. pens. 1591/3-d. 1591; constable of Lancaster castle 1600; steward of Lonsdale hundred 1600.
- In 1591 Warburton was involved in a dispute with the copyholders of the manor of Over Whitley (Whitley Superior), a duchy of Lancaster manor in Cheshire, recently granted to him by the Queen. Robert Cecil was probably his patron at this time, and he certainly was in 1595, when, in September, Warburton wrote from Plymouth excusing his sudden return from a voyage, the purpose of which is not known. It is likely that it was Cecil who brought Warburton in for Bridport in 1601. Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Bindon, received nominations at several Dorset boroughs for this Parliament, offering them to Cecil. Warburton was named to one committee, concerned with the order of business, 3 Nov. 1601. In 1602 Cecil secured Warburton a command at Brill under Sir Francis Vere, who in 1605 urged Salisbury to allow him to return quickly to the Low Countries. The remainder of Warburton’s career lies outside this biography. His widow was granted administration of his estate on 27 Jan. 1610, and the new election return was dated 1 Feb. 1610. The heir was his only child Cecil, so named after the godfather.
- Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 240; Ormerod, Cheshire, i. 573; ii. 175; E. K. Chambers, Sir Henry Lee, 162; DL1/159/W8; Somerville, Duchy, i. 498; APC, xxii. 39; SP12/253/112; Roberts thesis, 296-7; D’Ewes, 624; Chamberlain Letters ed. Mcclure, i. 176; HMC Hatfield, xii. 461; xvii. 554; PCC admon. act bk. 1610, f. 183.
- From: http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1558-1603/member/warburton-richard-1610
- VERE, Sir Edward (1581-1629), of The Hague, United Provinces.
- b. 21 Mar. 1581, illegit. s. of Edward de Vere (d.1604), 17th earl of Oxford, and Anne, da. of Henry Vavasour of Copmanthorpe, Yorks.1 educ ?Leiden Univ. 1595;2 unm. kntd. 15 or 16 Apr. 1607.3 d. c.12 Aug. 1629.4 sig. Edwarde Vere.
- ... etc.
- From: http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/vere-sir-edward-1581-1629