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Dorothy Pelham (Catesby)

Also Known As: "Dormer"
Birthplace: Probably Whiston, Northamptonshire, England
Death: Died in Buckinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Anthony Catesby and Isabel Catesby
Wife of Sir William Dormer, KB. MP for Buckinghamshire and Sir William Pelham, of Brocklesby, Lord Justice of Ireland
Mother of Robert Dormer, 1st Baron Dormer; Margaret Constable; Jane Throckmorton; Mary Margaret Gerard; Grissel Dormer and 6 others
Sister of Eleanor Tresham; Francis Catesby; Thomas Catesby, of Whiston and Wilburga Weston

Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About Dorothy Pelham

  • Dorothy Catesby1,2,3,4
  • F, #91725, d. 30 September 1613
  • Father Anthony Catesby, Esq.2,3,5,4 b. c 1500, d. 10 Oct 1554
  • Mother Isabel (Wyburg) Pigott b. c 1490
  • Dorothy Catesby married Sir William Dormer, Burgess of Chipping Wycombe, Marshal & Keeper of the Falcons, son of Sir Robert Dormer, Sheriff of Bedfordshire & Buckinghamshire, Burgess of Chipping Wycombe, Justice of the Peace for Buckinghamshire and Jane Newdigate, after 10 February 1542; They had 1 son (Sir Robert, 1st Lord Dormer) & 6 daughters (Mary, wife of Anthony Browne; Grizzel; Katherine, wife of John, Lord St. John of Bletsoe; Frances; Amphyllis; & Margaret, wife of Sir Henry Constable).1,2,5,4 Dorothy Catesby died on 30 September 1613 at Eythorpe in Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, England; She married (2) Sir William Pelham (d. 1596).1,3,5
  • Family Sir William Dormer, Burgess of Chipping Wycombe, Marshal & Keeper of the Falcons b. c 1513, d. 17 May 1575
  • Children
    • Sir Robert Dormer, 1st Lord Dormer+6 b. 26 Jan 1551, d. 8 Nov 1616
    • Mary Dormer+7,2,3,8,5,4 b. c 1555
  • Citations
  • [S11583] The Wallop Family and Their Ancestry, by Vernon James Watney, p., 277.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 228-229.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 256.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 136-137.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. IV, p. 244.
  • [S61] Unknown author, Family Group Sheets, Family History Archives, SLC.
  • [S15] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, p. 610.
  • [S6] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 183.
  • From:


  • Dorothy Catesby1
  • F, #177950, d. 30 September 1613
  • Last Edited=1 Jan 2009
  • Dorothy Catesby was the daughter of Anthony Catesby.1 She married, firstly, Sir William Dormer, son of Sir Robert Dormer and Jane Newdigate.2 She married, secondly, Sir William Pelham, son of Sir William Pelham and Mary Sandys.2 She died on 30 September 1613.1
  • Her married name became Pelham.2 Her married name became Dormer.1
  • Children of Dorothy Catesby and Sir William Dormer
    • Catherine Dormer+3 d. 23 Mar 1614/15
    • Robert Dormer, 1st Baron Dormer of Wyng+1 b. 26 Jan 1551, d. 8 Nov 1616
  • Citations
  • [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume IV, page 412. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 1168. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • [S37] BP2003. [S37]
  • From:


  • Dorothy CATESBY
  • Born: ABT 1527, Whiston, Northamptonshire, England
  • Died: 30 Sep 1613
  • Buried: Wing Church, Buckinghamshire, England
  • Father: Anthony CATESBY of Whiston
  • Mother: Isabel Wilburga PIGOTT
  • Married 1: William DORMER (Sir Knight) ABT 1552
  • Children:
    • 1. Catherine DORMER (B. Bletsoe)
    • 2. Mary DORMER
    • 3. Robert DORMER (1º B. Dormer of Wing)
    • 4. Margaret DORMER
    • 5. Richard DORMER
    • 6. Francis DORMER
    • 7. Anne DORMER
    • 8. Peregrine DORMER
  • Married 2: William PELHAM (Sir)
  • Children:
    • 9. Peregrine PELHAM
    • 10. Anne PELHAM
  • From: CATESBY1


  • DORMER, William (by 1514-75), of Eythrope in Waddesdon, Bucks.
  • b. by 1514, o. s. of (Sir) Robert Dormer of West Wycombe, Wing and London by Jane, da. of John Newdigate of Harefield, Mdx. educ. ?I. Temple. m. (1) lic. Jan. 1535, Mary (d.1542), da. of Sir William Sidney of Penshurst, Kent, 2s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) by 1551, Dorothy, da. of Anthony Catesby of Whiston Northants., 1s. Robert† 6da. suc. fa. July 1552. KB 29 Sept. 1553.1
  • Offices Held
    • J.p. Bucks. 1547-d.; commr. relief 1550, musters 1570-4; sheriff, Beds and Bucks. 1553-4, 1568-9; marshal and keeper of the falcons July 1552-d., chief steward, Ampthill honor 15 Oct. 1553-d.2
  • William was a baptismal name much favoured by the Dormer family and the career of the only son of Sir Robert Dormer before the 1540s is all but impossible to disentangle from those of his numerous kinsmen. One of the bearers of his name was a gentleman in the household of Cromwell considered for transfer to the royal service in 1538. If Dormer was Cromwell’s servant, his marriage to a daughter of Sir William Sidney, later chamberlain of the household to Prince Edward, may have been the minister’s work. He served under his father in the French campaign of 1544 and is probably the ‘young Dormer’ who two years later was mustered in Buckinghamshire as a captain with 100 men. In 1546 also, with his father, he attended the reception at court for the French ambassador. From 1535 until his mother’s self-imposed exile in 1559 he lived at Eythrope.3
  • Dormer gained his first experience of Parliament as a young man when he was returned in 1542 as second Member for Chipping Wycombe with John Gates, who had no known connexion with the county but was a groom of the privy chamber. Dormer probably also benefited from his court connexions both then and at his later returns for the shire. Nothing is known about his part in the succession crisis in 1553, but when in May 1554 Mary confirmed him in his post as falconer she did so in recognition of his support against the Duke of Northumberland. His selection as her first sheriff for Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire probably reflects the Queen’s friendship with his daughter Jane, and her promotion of Jane’s match with the Count of Feria may have influenced Dormer’s return to the Parliament of 1558.4
  • The death of Mary and the departure of Jane and his mother soon after for the Continent did not harm Dormer although he shared their dislike for the Anglican settlement. Re-elected to Parliament in 1571, he remained active in local management until his death on 17 May 1575.5
  • From:


  • DORMER, Robert (1551-1616), of Wing, Bucks.
  • bap. 26 Jan. 1551, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Dormer by his 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of Anthony Catesby of Whiston, Northants. educ. G. Inn 1567; Oxf. supp. BA 1569. m. Elizabeth, da. of Anthony Browne†, 1st Visct. Montagu, 6s. 3da. suc. fa. 1575. Kntd. 1591; cr. Bt. 10 June 1615, Baron Dormer 30 June 1615.1
  • From:


  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44
  • Pelham, William by Robert Dunlop
  • PELHAM, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1587), lord justice of Ireland, was third son of Sir William Pelham of Laughton, Sussex, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of William, lord Sandys of the Vine, near Basingstoke in Hampshire. His father died in 1538, and Pelham was probably thirty when he was appointed captain of the pioneers at the siege of Leith in 1560. He was specially commended for his ‘stout and valiant endeavour’ on that occasion; but, according to Humfrey Barwick (Brief Discourse), his bad engineering was responsible for the wound inflicted during the assault on Arthur Grey, fourteenth lord Grey de Wilton [q. v.] He commanded the pioneers at Havre in November 1562 under the Earl of Warwick; and, being despatched to the assistance of Admiral Coligny in February 1563, was present at the capture of Caen. Returning to Havre in March, he was wounded during a skirmish with the forces of the Rhinegrave in June. He assisted at the negotiations for the surrender of Havre, and was a hostage for the fulfilment of the conditions of surrender. Subsequently, on his return to England, he was employed with Portinari and Concio in inspecting and improving the fortifications of Berwick. Much confidence was reposed in his judgment, and, being appointed lieutenant-general of the ordnance, he was chiefly occupied for several years in strengthening the defences of the kingdom. He accompanied Henry, lord Cobham, and Secretary Walsingham on a diplomatic mission to the Netherlands in the summer of 1578, and in the following summer he was sent to Ireland to organise the defence of the Pale against possible inroads by the O'Neills. He was knighted by Sir William Drury [q. v.], and, on the latter's death shortly afterwards, was chosen by the council lord justice ad interim.
  • The situation of affairs in Munster, recently convulsed by the rebellion of James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald (d 1579) [q. v.], and the menacing attitude of the Earl of Desmond [see FitzGerald, Gerald, fifteenth Earl of Desmond] and his brother Sir John of Desmond, obliged him instantly to repair thither. His efforts at conciliation proving ineffectual, he caused the earl to be proclaimed a traitor; but, finding himself not sufficiently strong to attack Askeaton, he returned to Dublin by way of Galway, leaving the management of the war in Munster to the Earl of Ormonde [see Butler, Thomas, tenth Earl]. His proceeding gave considerable offence to Elizabeth, who was loth to involve herself in a new and costly campaign; and Pelham, though pleading in justification Drury's intentions and the absolute necessity of the proclamation, found no little difficulty in mitigating her displeasure, and earnestly begged to be relieved of his thankless office. It was soon apparent that Ormonde's individual resources were unequal to the task of reducing Desmond, and, yielding to pressure from England, Pelham in January 1580 prepared to go to Munster himself. At Waterford, where he was detained till about the middle of February for want of victuals, he determined, in consequence of rumours of a Spanish invasion, to entrust the government of the counties of Cork and Waterford to Sir William Morgan (d. 1584) [q. v.], and in conjunction with the Earl of Ormonde to direct his march through Connello and Kerry to Dingle, and ‘to make as bare a country as ever Spaniard put his foot in, if he intend to make that his landing place.’ He carried out his intention ruthlessly to the letter, killing, according to the ‘Four Masters,’ ‘blind and feeble men, women, boys and girls, sick persons, idiots and old people.’ Returning along the sea-coast, he sat down before Carrigafoyle Castle on 25 March. Two days later he carried the place by assault, and put the garrison to the sword, sparing neither man, woman, nor child. Terrified by the fate of Carrigafoyle, the garrison at Askeaton surrendered without a blow, and Desmond's last stronghold of Ballyloughan fell at the same time into Pelham's hands.
  • Fixing his headquarters at Limerick, the lord justice proceeded to carry out his scheme of bridling the Desmond district with garrisons, his object being to confine the struggle to Kerry, and, with the assistance of the fleet, under Admiral Winter, to starve the rebels into submission. Thinking, too, as he said, to strike while the iron was still hot, he summoned a meeting of the noblemen and chief gentry of the province ‘to see what they may be drawn to do against the rebels … and what relief of victuals we may have of them, and what contributions they will yield to ease some part of her majesty's charge hereafter.’ But the attendance at the meeting was meagre in the extreme, and even among the best disposed Pelham found ‘such a settled hatred of English government’ that it was clearly useless to expect any general submission so long as Desmond was at liberty. Accordingly, after many delays, he and Ormonde entered Kerry together. From Castle Island, where they narrowly missed capturing the Earl of Desmond and Dr. Nicholas Sanders [q. v.], they advanced along the valley of the Maine, scouring the country as they went, to Dingle. At Dingle they found Admiral Winter, and, with his assistance, Pelham ransacked every cove and creek between Dingle and Cork, while Ormonde harried the interior of the country. The devotion of the western chiefs to the house of Desmond was unable to bear the strain placed upon it, and one by one they submitted to Ormonde. At Cork there was a great meeting of all the lords and chiefs, ‘cisalpine and transalpine the mountains of Slieve Logher.’ All were received to mercy except Lord Barrymore; but Pelham, acting on the advice of Sir Warham St. Leger [q. v.], took them along with him to Limerick. Desmond was still at large, but his power had been greatly crippled, and Pelham, though by no means blind to the serious consequences of a Spanish invasion, was fairly satisfied with the results of his expedition.
  • Pelham, who insisted on an unconditional surrender, was preparing for a fresh inroad into Kerry, when he received information that the new viceroy, Arthur, lord Grey de Wilton, had arrived at Dublin. He had more than once expressed his willingness to serve in a subordinate capacity under Grey, and it was originally intended to send Wallop with the sword of state to Dublin. But Pelham was offended at the lack of courtesy shown to him by the deputy's secretary, Edmund Spenser, and determined to go himself to Dublin. He was detained for some time about Athlone by bad weather, and it was not till 7 Sept. that he formally resigned the sword of state to the deputy in St. Patrick's Cathedral. There was some talk of making him president of Munster, and he accompanied Grey to Drogheda to inspect the fortifications; but being taken dangerously ill, he was obliged to return to Dublin in a wagon. He obtained permission to return to England, and left Ireland early in October. On 16 Jan. 1581 he was joined in commission with the Earl of Shrewsbury and Sir Henry Neville to convey the Queen of Scots from Sheffield to Ashby in Leicestershire. He still retained the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance, but his disbursements so far exceeded the profits of his office that in 1585 he found himself 8,000l. in arrears by virtue of his office alone, while his personal debts amounted to at least 5,000l. The queen refused either to remit or stall his debts; and, certain defalcations in connection with his office, for which he was held responsible, coming to light about the same time, she made the payment of his arrears, much to Leicester's annoyance and the detriment of the service, absolutely essential to permitting him to serve under the Earl of Leicester in the Netherlands. In vain Pelham implored her, ‘If you will not ease me of my debts, pray take my poor living into your possession, and give order for their payment, and imprest me some convenient sum to set me forward.’ Elizabeth was inexorable; but the remonstrances of Leicester and Burghley induced her so far to relent as to accept a mortgage on his property, and in July 1586 he joined Leicester in the Netherlands.
  • Leicester, who thought highly of his military abilities, created him marshal of the army, though by doing so he gave great offence to Sir John Norris [q. v.] and his brother Sir Edward. As for Pelham, he shared Leicester's prejudices against the Norrises, and at a drinking bout on 6 Aug. at Count Hohenlohe's quarters at Gertruydenberg, he was the cause of a fierce and brutal brawl which nearly cost Sir Edward Norris [q. v.] his life (cf. Motley, United Netherlands, ii. 92–9). Leicester laid the blame of the whole affair on Norris; but Pelham was naturally of an irascible disposition. A few days later, while inspecting the trenches before Doesburg in company with Leicester, he was wounded by a shot in the stomach. Thinking the wound to be fatal, he expressed his satisfaction at having warded off the blow from the commander-in-chief, who was standing directly behind him, and made other ‘comfortable and resolute speeches.’ But, though fated ‘to carry a bullet in his belly’ as long as he lived, the wound did not prove immediately fatal. He was able to take part in the fight at Zutphen, and, according to Fulke Greville, it was the desire to emulate him, and ‘to venture without any inequality,’ that made Sir Philip Sidney [q. v.] lay aside his cuisses and so to receive the wound that caused his death. In consequence of the recalcitrant behaviour of the citizens of Deventer, he was entrusted with the task of bringing them to their senses, which he did in a resolute and summary fashion (Leycester Corresp. App. vi.). He returned to England with the Earl of Leicester in April 1587, and is said to have derived much benefit from the waters of Bath. He was sent back with reinforcements to Holland in the autumn, but died shortly after landing at Flushing, on 24 Nov. 1587.
  • Pelham married, first, Eleanor (d. 1574), daughter of Henry Neville, fifth earl of Westmorland. By her he had one son, Sir William Pelham, who succeeded him, and married Ann, eldest daughter of Charles, lord Willoughby of Parham. His second wife was Dorothy, daughter of Anthony Catesby of Whiston, Northamptonshire, and widow of Sir William Dormer, by whom he had a son, Peregrine, and a daughter, Ann.
  • Pelham's ‘Letter Book,’ comprising his diary and official correspondence when lord justice of Ireland, is preserved among the Carew MSS. at Lambeth (Brewer, Cal. Carew MSS. ii. 296). It was compiled by Morgan Colman, and consists of 455 leaves. The title-page is elaborately ornamented. Pelham also wrote commendatory verses prefixed to Sir George Peckham's ‘A true Reporte of the late Discoveries … of the Newfound Landes: By … Sir Humphrey Gilbert,’ London, 1583. And there is an interesting tract by him, with the title, ‘A form or maner howe to have the Exersyse of the Harquebuse thorowe England for the better Defence of the same,’ in ‘State Papers,’ Dom. Eliz. xliv. 60.
  • A portrait by Zucchero belongs to the Earl of Yarborough.
  • [Burke's Peerage, ‘Yarborough;’ Berry's County Genealogies, ‘Sussex;’ Horsfield's Hist. of Lewes, i. 340; Lower's Historical and Genealogical Notices of the Pelham Family; Stow's Annals; Cal. State Papers, Foreign; Toussaint's Pièces Historiques relatives au Siège du Havre; Churchyard's Chips; Barwick's Briefe Discourse concerning … Manual Weapons of Fire; Cal. State Papers, Eliz. Domestic and Ireland; Cal. Carew MSS.; Cal. Hatfield MSS.; Cal. Fiants, Eliz. Irel.; Bagwell's Ireland under the Tudors; Sadler's State Papers; Leycester Corresp. (Camden Soc.); Clements Markham's Fighting Veres; Grimestone's Historie of the Netherlands; Motley's United Netherlands; Sir John Smythe's Certain Discourses … concerning … divers sorts of Weapons, p. 36; Fulke Greville's Life of Sir Philip Sidney (ed. 1651), p. 143; Ritson's Bibliographia Poetica, p. 297; MSS. Brit. Museum Harl. 285 f. 239, 6993 f. 129, 6994 f. 88, Cotton. Galba, C. x. ff. 65, 67; Titus, B. xiii. ff. 285, 291, Lansdowne, 109, f. 158, Addit. 5752 ff. 28, 33, 375, 5754 ff. 188, 205, 5935 f. 5, 33594 ff. 5, 12–15.]
  • From:,_William_(DNB00)


She died at 1669830, Lancashire, England, possibly September 30th. Retrieved from Wikitree <> 7-26-2015

Or she died in Buckinghamshire. Retrieved from Geni <Dorothy Pelham> 7-27-2015


view all 15

Dorothy Pelham's Timeline

Probably Whiston, Northamptonshire, England
Age 23
Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 24
Age 26
Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 28
Buckinghamshire, England
Age 28
Buckinghamshire, England
Age 30
<Eythorpe, Buckshire, England>
Age 33
Probably Eythrope, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 36
Eythorpe, Buckshire, England