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Lady Chesterfield by Peter Lely 1665

Elizabeth Stanhope, Countess of Chesterfield (1640–1665) was the second wife of Philip Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Chesterfield.

Birth and origins

Elizabeth Butler was born on 29 June 1640[1] at Kilkenny Castle, Ireland, as the fifth child and the eldest daughter of James Butler and Lady Elizabeth Preston. Her father was Earl of Ormond at the time, but would become marquess and finally duke of Ormond. Her mother was the only child of Richard Preston, 1st Earl of Desmond and a rich heiress. Her parents married on Christmas 1629.[2] They had 10 children, but five died in childhood.[3]

Lady Chesterfield

Elizabeth appears below among her siblings as the third child:

  1. Thomas (1634–1680), who predeceased his father, but had a son who would become the 2nd Duke;[4]
  2. Richard (1639–1686), who was the first and last Earl of Arran of the 1662 creation and predeceased his father;[5]
  3. Elizabeth (1640–1665), the subject of this article;
  4. John (1643–1677), who became the Earl of Gowran;[6] and
  5. Mary (1646–1710), who married William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire.[7]

She grew up at the West Gate Castle in Thurles, County Tipperary and was, before her marriage, known as Lady Thurles.

Marriage

She married Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, as his second wife,[8] some time before 25 September 1660. He was one of the lovers of the notorious Barbara Villiers, mistress of King Charles II of England. There were many at court who believed Barbara's first child, Anne bore a strong resemblance to Chesterfield. His first wife was Lady Anne Percy, daughter of Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland; she died on 29 November 1654 with no surviving children.

Family tree
Elizabeth Stanhope with husband, parents, and other selected relatives. Her mother was a second cousin once removed of her father as both descended from the 9th Earl of Ormond.
James
9th Earl

1496–1546
Joan
FitzGerald

d. 1565
Thomas
10th Earl

c. 1531
– 1614
Black Tom
Elizabeth
Sheffield
John of
Kilcash

d. 1570
Katherine
MacCarthy
Richard
Preston
1st Earl
Desmond

d. 1628)
Elizabeth
Butler

c. 1585
– 1628
Walter
11th Earl

1559 – 1632/3
'Beads'
Helen
Butler

d. 1631
Thomas
Viscount
Thurles

bef. 1596 –
1619
Elizabeth
Pointz

1587–1673
Elizabeth
Preston

1615–1684
James
1st Duke

1610–1688
Richard
of
Kilcash

1615–1701
Frances
Tuchet
Thomas
6th Earl
Ossory

1633–1680
Anne
Percy

1633–1654
Philip
Stanhope
2nd Earl

1634–1714
Elizabeth
Butler

1640–1665
James
2nd Duke
Ormond

1665–1745
3rd Earl
1673–1726
Elizabeth
Dormer
John Lyon
4th Earl
Strathmore

1663–1712
Elizabeth
Stanhope

c. 1663
– 1723
Legend
XXXElizabeth
Stanhope
XXXEarls & dukes of
Ormond
XXXEarls of
Chesterfield
Philip's three wives: 1st left, 2nd right and 3rd below. This family tree is partly derived from the condensed Butler family tree pictured in Dunboyne.[9] Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.

Together Elizabeth and Chesterfield had one daughter, Lady Elizabeth Stanhope, later Countess of Strathmore, although the child's paternity was in doubt. According to Samuel Pepys, theirs was a marriage of convenience, but Chesterfield, despite his own past conduct with Barbara Villiers, became jealous when rumours spread that his wife was having affairs with both James Hamilton and James, Duke of York, with whom she is said to have been caught in flagrante delicto. On the other hand, he describes Elizabeth as "a virtuous lady".[10]

The chevalier de Grammont, in his memoirs, claims that King Charles II of England told him that his brother was in love with Elizabeth.[11] He also says of Elizabeth that, "she had a most exquisite shape, though she was not very tall: her complexion was extremely fair, with all the expressive charms of a brunette: she had large blue eyes, very tempting and alluring: her manners were engaging: her wit lively and amusing; but her heart, ever open to tender sentiments, was neither scrupulous in point of constancy, nor nice in point of sincerity."

In May 1663, the couple went to live at Bretby in Derbyshire. It was around this time that their daughter, Elizabeth was born.

Her descendant James Lyons was a Taylor and his family remain in the town of Thurles to this day. One being the Baron Liscreagh and Earl of Loughmor Sir Terence Barry CCtKC.

Death and legacy

She died in July 1665 shortly after her 25th birthday and was buried on 18 July 1665 at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Her daughter, Lady Elizabeth (May 1663 – 24 April 1723), who was a child of two years at the time of Elizabeth's death, married John Lyon, 4th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in 1691; the couple had 10 children. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Queen consort of George VI of the United Kingdom was one of her many descendants.

Elizabeth's portrait was painted by Sir Peter Lely, and at one time belonged to Horace Walpole.[12]

References

  1. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 182: "he [Chesterfield] m. , 2ndly, shortly before 25 Sept. 1660 Elizabeth, da. of James (BUTLER), 1st DUKE OF ORMONDE, by Elizabeth, suo jure BARONESS DINGWALL [S.]. She, who was b. 29 June 1640, at Kilkenny, d. s.p.m.s., at Wellingborough, July 1665."
  2. ^ Airy 1886, p. 53, line 2: "... the marriage took place on Christmas of the same year [1629] ..."
  3. ^ Perceval-Maxwell 2004, p. 130, right column, line 3: "... between 1632 and 1646 Elizabeth ... gave birth to eight sons including Richard Butler, five of whom died as children, and two daughters."
  4. ^ Cokayne 1895, p. 150: "THOMAS BUTLER, styled Earl of Ossory ('the gallant Ossory') 2d but 1st surv. s. and h. app., b. at Kilkenny 5 July 1634 ..."
  5. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1540, right column, line 31: "RICHARD, cr. 13 May 1662 Baron Butler, Viscount of Tullogh and EARL OF ARRAN ..."
  6. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1540, right column, line 39: "JOHN, cr. EARL OF GOWRAN 1676, m. Lady Anne Chichester, dau. of 1st Earl of Donegal, but d.s.p. 1677, when the dignity expired."
  7. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1540, right column, line 43: "Mary m. 1st Duke of Devonshire, K.G., and d. 31 July 1710, leaving issue."
  8. ^ Maurice Ashley (1977). James II. J. M. Dent. ISBN 978-0-460-12021-0..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  9. ^ Dunboyne 1968, pp. 16–17: "Butler Family Tree condensed"
  10. ^ Samuel Pepys (1848). Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, F.R.S.: Secretary to the Admiralty in the Reigns of Charles II. and James II. With a Life and Notes. H. Colburn. pp. 61–.
  11. ^ Letters to Several Celebrated Individuals of the Time of Charles II, James II, William III and Queen Anne, with Some of Their Replies. Lloyd. 1829. pp. 28–.
  12. ^ Horace Walpole (9 October 2015). Delphi Complete Works of Horace Walpole (Illustrated). Delphi Classics. pp. 788–. GGKEY:WWXX9UD28HC.

External links

1893 text

Lady Elizabeth Butler, daughter of James Butler, first Duke of Ormond, second wife of Philip Stanhope, second Earl of Chesterfield. She died July, 1665 (see “Memoires de Grammont,” chap. viii.). Peter Cunningham thinks that this banishment was only temporary, for, according to the Grammont Memoirs, she was in town when the Russian ambassador was in London, December, 1662, and January, 1662- 63. “It appears from the books of the Lord Steward’s office . . . . that Lord Chesterfield set out for the country on the 12th May, 1663, and, from his ‘Short Notes’ referred to in the Memoirs before his Correspondence, that he remained at Bretby, in Derbyshire, with his wife, throughout the summer of that year” (“Story of Nell Gwyn,” 1852, p. 189).


This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

7 Annotations

Jeannine  •  Link

Lady Chesterfield-another “virtuous lady, treated badly….(background to November 3, 1662 entry by Sam)

Lord Chesterfield was a rogue and a ladies’ man who “played the field”. He was a major lover of Lady Castlemaine before and during her marriage and overlapping the beginning time period of her affair with Charles II. During his period he feigned great affection for and then married married Elizabeth Butler, daughter of Ormond. Per Grammont” he had therefore married Lady Chesterfield without loving her, and had lived some time with her in such coolness, as to leave her no room to doubt of his indifference. As she was endowed with great sensibility and delicacy, she suffered at this contempt: she was at first much affected with his behaviour, and afterwards enraged at it; and, when he began to give her proofs of his affection, she had the pleasure of convincing him of her indifference.” Over time she began to “understand” and adopt to the ways of Charles’ court and realized her marriage as a loss. In her loneliness she had her eyes set not only on the Duke of York but also a cousin James Hamilton. Around this time her husband had started to “fall in love” with his wife, which, in the court of Charles II was a laughable act of a fool. Lady Chesterfield began flirting around between Hamilton and the Duke of York. In order to throw the suspicion elsewhere, Hamilton started to plant the seed in Lord Chesterfield’s head that his wife was having an affair with the Duke. This made Chesterfield, in his jealousy, ever vigilant of that relationship while Hamilton was sneaking letters back and forth with his wife unnoticed. As all of this progressed none of the parties were particularly honest with the other but Lord Chesterfield’s suspicions were growing as was his jealousy of the Duke. Finally after a few suspicious situations including an incident where his wife ended up alone with the Duke during a guitar playing session, Chesterfield walked into a bombshell. He explained to Hamilton, who was now his confidant (per Grammont) that the Duke “was just now with my wife at a card party in the Queen’s chamber…They imagined they were cleverly hiding in the crowd. I do not know what had become of the Duke’s hand, but I know very well that his arm had disappeared right up to the elbow. He turned round and saw me, and was so disconcerted by my presence that in drawing away his hand he came near to completely undressing Lady Chesterfield”, As Pepys reports Lady Chesterfield was scurried away. Per Grammont “ The court was filled with the story of this adventure; nobody was ignorant of the occasion of this sudden departure, but very few approved of Lord Chesterfield’s conduct. In England they looked with astonishment upon a man who could be so uncivil as to be jealous of his wife; and in the city of London it was a prodigy, till that time unknown, to see a husband have recourse to violent means to prevent what jealousy fears, and what it always deserves. They endeavoured, however, to excuse poor Lord Chesterfield, as far as they could safely do it, without incurring the public odium, by laying all the blame on his bad education. This made all the mothers vow to God, that none of their sons should ever set a foot in Italy, lest they should bring back with them that infamous custom of laying restraint upon their wives.” According to Allen Allen (‘The Royal Whore”, p87), nobody in the court at this time knew that Lady Chesterfield was four months pregnant. “Lady Chesterfield had a child at Bretby, and though Lord Chesterfield was uncertain whether he had become a father he saw that at least he had the decision on who should be godfather, and chose Lord Clarendon. He comforted himself with the thought that he, Chesterfield still wore among the courtiers the faint halo of the fathership of Lady Castlemaine’s first child”…

Pedro  •  Link

James and Lady Chesterfield.

“Charles’ witticism that his brother’s mistresses were so plain that they must have been imposed on him by his confessors as a penance is sometimes quoted as evidence of James’ general boorishness…there is something very unattractive about having a positive taste for plain women. Anne Hyde was undoubtedly plain, but perhaps this early experience gave James a good fright. For Lely made of James’ post-Restoration mistress Lady Chesterfield a doe-like creature with nothing plain about her.

(Antonia Fraser…King Charles II)

Bill  •  Link

Elizabeth Butler was eldest daughter of James, duke of Ormond, and second wife to Philip Stanhope, earl of Chesterfield.—It has been observed that a man could not turn round without being struck with beauties in the court of Charles II. The countess of Chesterfield was one of the most striking in the circle. Her husband did not know what a treasure he had in his possession, and treated her, at first, with disregard: but when every body else admired her, he became her admirer too, and was sufficiently slighted in his turn. He rightly concluded, that when the eyes of all the world were turned upon her, there were among them the eyes of some lovers. This naturally excited his jealousy, and he appears to have felt the most unhappy part of the passion of love in a more exquisite degree than any other. His suspicion particularly fell upon the duke of York, who, it seems, was not insensible of her charms, and was far from being the most cautious of men in the conduct of his amours. The name of Lady Ch ... d often occurs in the "Memoires de Grammont."
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.

Bill  •  Link

Lady Chesterfield's retirement (or banishment) took place in 1662; about a year afterwards she gave birth to a daughter, and thenceforward her time was spent entirely at Bretby, if not happily, at least irreproachably. She died in 1665, before she had completed her 25th year. Her infant daughter, Lady Elizabeth Stanhope, was educated by her grandmother, the excellent Duchess of Ormond, and afterwards married John Lyon, Fourth Earl of Strathmore.
---The Beauties of the Court of Charles the Second. A. Jameson, 1833.

Bill  •  Link

The scandalous chronicles of those times charge her husband, the Earl of Chesterfield, with having caused her to take the sacrament upon her innocence, respecting any intimacy with the Duke of York, and having then bribed his chaplain to put poison into the sacramental cup, of which she died. His son, Lord Stanhope, by his third wife (father of Lord Chesterfield the author), married Gertrude Saville, daughter of the Marquis of Halifax. The marquis and earl quarrelled, and the latter made his son bring his wife to Litchfield, breaking off all intercourse between the families. Lady Stanhope had always on her toilet her father's " Advice to a Daughter:" her father-in-law took it up one day, and wrote on the title-page, "Labour in vain." On her side, the lady made her servant out of livery carry in his pocket a bottle of wine, another of water, and a cup; and whenever she dined or supped in company with her father-in-law, either at his own house or abroad, she never would drink but of those liquors from her servant's hand, as a hint to the earl, and society present, of what his lordship was suspected of having effected by a sacred beverage.
---Walpoliana. Horace Walpole, 1830.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1662

  • Nov

1663