Daughter of Sir John Robartes, 2nd Baron Robartes.

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Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Laetitia Isabella (Smythe) Cheyne (1630 - 1714)

Laetitia Isabella Smythe, the daughter of John Smythe and Isabella Rich, married firstly John Robartes (1st Earl of Radnor) in either 1646 or 1647[1].

She was mentioned in the Diary of Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick: "A week or two after the Diary begins, the household at Lees was invaded by sickness. A number of the servants fell ill at once, and Mistress Grace, maid to Isabella Robartes, died. Lucy Robartes, Charles Rich's sister, was dead, and her husband, Lord Robartes, had married Isabella Smyth, who through her mother, Isabella Rich, was a first cousin of both Lucy and Charles."…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Good try, Terry -- and almost the same name, but you've posted about the mother and not possibly / probably her first daughter.

From the same website, giving us a few daughters to chose from:

Children of Laetitia Isabella Smythe and John Robartes, Earl Radnor:
1. Lady Letitia Isabella Robartes
2. Lady Olympia Robartes d. 24 Feb 1733
3. Hon. Francis Robartes b. 1650, d. 7 Jul 1718
4. Hon. Mary Robartes b. 18 Jun 1661, d. 1670
5. Hon. Warwick Robartes b. 27 Jul 1667
6. Hon. Essex Robartes b. 4 Apr 1669

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A portrait of the lovely lady, plus her story with a shout-out to Pepys:


HIGHLIGHTS in case the link disappears:
Oil painting on canvas, Letitia Isabella Smith, Countess of Radnor (c.1630-1714) after Sir Peter Lely (Soest 1618 – London 1680), 18th century.

The right honourable Countess of Radnor, second wife of the 1st Earl of Radnor whom she married in 1646/7, seated in a red velvet dress trimmed with ermine resting right arm on table with coronet.

She was the daughter of Sir John Smythe, of Bedborough, Kent and Isabel Rich, youngest daughter of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick (and Sidney's 'Stella'). They had 4 sons and 5 daughters, including the Hon. Francis Robartes (?1650-1718), the composer and scientist; and Letitia Isabella Robartes, who married firstly, in 1669, the 2nd Earl of Drogheda, and secondly, around 1679, the playwright William Wycherley.

After the death of the Earl of Radnor at his celebrated house (previously Danvers House in Chelsea, which both Pepys and Evelyn visited) the sitter married her Chelsea neighbor, Charles Cheyne, 1st Viscount Newhaven (1625-98).

Lady Robartes, as she then was, was described by Pepys as "a great beauty indeed", and she is also the subject of a celebrated story in the Memoirs of Count Grammont.

According to Grammont, she momentarily excited the desires of James, Duke of York, when: "in the zenith of her glory. Her beauty was striking; yet, notwithstanding the brightness of the finest complexion, with all the bloom of youth [sic: it was unusual for a woman in her thirties, after frequent child-bearing, to be so described in the 17th century], and with every requisite for inspiring desire, she nevertheless was not attractive". Robartes resisted all the bribes to connive with his being made a cuckold, until he was finally forced to take her off on a pilgrimage to St. Winifred's Well, which was said to cure women of barrenness, and: "did not rest until the highest mountains in Wales were between his wife and the person who had designed to perform this miracle in London."

Her son, the hon. Francis Robartes probably gave the painting to his wife, Penelope's father, Sir Courtenay Pole, 2nd Bt.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

And now for Letitia Isabella Robartes c1640 - 1689

Charles Moore married Lady Letitia Robartes in 1669. Her father, Lord Radnor, was an English tin magnate who stood as Viceroy of Ireland in 1660.

Charles Moore became the 2nd Earl of Drogheda in July 1675, and died at his Dublin house in June 1679, leaving no children.…
In the spring of 1678 Wycherley went to Tunbridge Wells and met the Countess of Drogheda. She was living in Bow Street, Covent Garden while the Earl was in Ireland. She was young, attractive, and appeared to be rich.

The story is that Wycherley was in a bookseller's when the Countess entered and asked for his play, The Plain-Dealer. A friend pointed out the Plain-Dealer himself. Wycherley paid her a compliment; she replied that she loved plain dealing, especially when it told her of her faults. Wycherley then called on her daily, took her to public places, and visited her when they returned to London.

Later in 1678, Wycherley fell ill. Charles II visited him in his Bow Street lodgings, a mark of esteem, and gave him £500 to take holiday in the spa of Montpellier.

Wycherley was in Montpellier by September 1678. The Countess sent a maid after him with a diamond ring.

Wycherley returned in the spring of 1679. Charles II offered him £1,500 to become governor to Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond, with the promise of a pension afterwards, and also made him an equerry.

On 18 June, 1679 the Earl died. He had no children, so his brother, Henry, became the 3rd Earl of Drogheda. But the 2nd Earl had left the Countess the greatest part of the estate, effectively disinheriting Henry.

Wycherley was in Ireland in the late summer, and they married secretly on 29 Sept., 1679. Wycherley believed he was marrying a fortune. But the Earl's finances had been strained, and the Countess was as a spendthrift.

Soon creditors demanded payment, so the couple had to move often. They were sued by her lady's maid who had swindled the Countess out of substantial sums of money and goods.

By marrying without Charles II's consent, Wycherley forfeited being governor to Lennox and the King's patronage.

The 3rd Earl contested the will; the case dragged on for years, and it was not until 1697 that the Countess' family paid Wycherley £1,500 for his rights.

The unhappy 6-year marriage was full of litigation, debt, and disappointment. The Countess was blamed for ruining Wycherley's Court career. She refused to let him out of her sight, insisting when he went to The Cock tavern, opposite their Bow Street lodgings, he should leave the window open so she could see there was no woman with him.

Her cook said she was given to rages when she ‘bawled and roared as if she had been stuck with a knife’. There were hints she found him less virile than his reputation implied.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

When the Dowager Countess of Brogheda died around July 1685 she left everything to Wycherley, but her family sued him for the property. He was unable to respond as he was in the Fleet debtors' prison. He wrote a poem describing prison as a welcome reprieve from marriage.

But Wycherley was in debt for the rest of his life.

Understandably, through all this, he wrote no more wonderful plays.

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