countess Elizabeth Wriothesley, of Southampton

Is your surname Wriothesley?

Research the Wriothesley family

countess Elizabeth Wriothesley, of Southampton's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Related Projects

countess Elizabeth Wriothesley (de Vernon), of Southampton

Birthplace: Hodnet, Shropshire, U.K.
Death: November 23, 1655 (79-87)
Place of Burial: Titchfield, Fareham, Hampshire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Sir John Vernon and Elizabeth d'Vernon
Wife of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
Mother of Lady Penelope Wriothsley Spencer; Anne Wallop; James Wriothesley and Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton
Sister of Sir Robert Vernon and Susan Leveson

Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About countess Elizabeth Wriothesley, of Southampton


Elizabeth Wriothesley (née Vernon), Countess of Southampton (11 January 1572 – 23 November 1655) was one of the chief ladies-in-waiting to Elizabeth I of England in the later years of her reign.

Elizabeth Vernon was the granddaughter of George Vernon (d.1555), and the daughter of John Vernon (d.1592) of Hodnet, Shropshire, by Elizabeth Devereux (c.1541-c.1583) the daughter of Sir Richard Devereux (d. 13 October 1547)[1 1] of Weobley by his wife, Dorothy Hastings, daughter of George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon (1487–1544).[2 2] She was the sister of Sir Robert Vernon, Comptroller of the Household to Queen Elizabeth I, and of Susan Vernon, second wife of Sir Walter Leveson, and a first cousin of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

Her paternal great-grandfather, Humphrey Vernon, was the grandson of John Talbot, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Butler, the daughter of James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormond. By her mother, Elizabeth was the great-granddaughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford and his wife Lady Mary Grey, daughter of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset and his wife Cecily Bonville. By her mother, Elizabeth was also a great-granddaughter of George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon and Lady Anne Stafford, daughter of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and his wife Lady Katherine Woodville. Both of Elizabeth's maternal grandparents descended from King Edward III.

On 30 August 1598 Elizabeth married Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, who has been suggested as the dedicatee of Shakespeare's sonnets. The marriage occurred after Elizabeth discovered she was pregnant. Upon discovering this, the Queen had both Elizabeth and her husband locked in Fleet Prison and, after their release, were never again received into her favour.

Elizabeth and Henry had several children, including:

Lady Penelope Wriothesley (18 November 1598 – 16 July 1667) who married William Spencer, 2nd Baron Spencer, by whom she had issue. Lady Anne Wriothesley (born 1600) who married Robert Wallop of Farley Wallop. James Wriothesley, Lord Wriothesley (1605–1624) Thomas Wriothesley (10 March 1607 – 16 May 1667) who became the 4th Earl of Southampton and married firstly Rachel de Massue, daughter of Daniel de Massue, Seigneur de Ruvigny, by whom he had two daughters, Elizabeth, Viscountess Campden (died 1679) and Rachel, Lady Russell.

A German professor of English, Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel, has proposed a theory, mainly based on an apocryphic sonnet, she claims was written by William Shakespeare, and evidence from portraits, that Elizabeth Wriothesley was a lover of the poet. Her eldest daughter Penelope is, according to this theory, a child of Shakespeare. The author stresses that in this way, Lady Diana Spencer would be a descendant of William Shakespeare.[3 3] Questions have been raised about this theory, namely why the Earl of Southampton would have risked certain royal displeasure from the Queen by marrying Elizabeth if she was pregnant with somebody else's illegitimate child.

Burke, John; Burke, John Bernard (1891). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies of England, Ireland and Scotland (2nd ed.). London: Scott, Webster and Geary. p. 546. Retrieved 10 April 2013. Keen, Alan; Lubbock, Roger (1954). The Annotator. London: Putnam. p. 216. Howell, A. (2004). "Devereux, Walter, first Viscount Hereford (c.1489–1558)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7567. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)


Ancestral File Number:<AFN> 8J56-7W

Ancestral File Number:<AFN> 8J56-7W

!240-v7-p404; The Pitman Family p67;

!240-v7-p404; The Pitman Family p67;

Invalid seal-to-parents temple code: Sge

Invalid seal-to-parents temple code: Sgeao.

IGI v5.0 .

IGI v5.0 .


92HW-WLB England, Select Dorset Parish Registers, 1538-1910

view all

countess Elizabeth Wriothesley, of Southampton's Timeline

January 1, 1572
Hodnet, Shropshire, U.K.
January 11, 1572
Hodnet, Shropshire, England
January 1572
Hodnet, Shropshire, U.K.
November 8, 1598
Age 26
Tichfield, Hampshire, England
Age 28
March 1, 1605
Age 33
March 10, 1607
Age 35
Titchfield, Hampshire, England
November 23, 1655
Age 83
November 1655
Age 83
Titchfield, Fareham, Hampshire, England