According to Sir Stephen Fox's Parliamentary Biography:
"b. 27 Mar. 1627, 6th but 4th surv. s. of William Fox (d.1652) of Farley by Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Pavy of Plaitford.
"m. (1) 8 Dec. 1651, Elizabeth (d. 11 Aug. 1696), da. of William Whittle of London, 7s. d.v.p. 3da.; ...
"... [Stephen Fox] entered the service of Lord Percy, master of horse to the Prince of Wales, and under his ‘severe discipline’ followed the Cavalier army in 1644-5 and then went into exile in France and Jersey.
"When the royal stables were dispersed in 1650, Fox returned to the modest family home and married.
"His Wiltshire origins now stood him in good stead; first Hobbes obtained for him the post of keeper of the privy purse to the Earl of Devonshire, and then, on the earnest recommendation of Sir Edward Hyde, he was appointed to manage the meagre financial resources of the exiled Court, under the modest style of clerk of the kitchen. ..."
That Pepys describes her as "My Lady [Fox] dining with us; a very good lady, and a family governed so nobly and neatly as do me good to see it" is a high compliment; it doesn't sound as if she was born to it, unless Mr. Whittle was a London merchant, in which case she might have been brought up in a wealthy family.
In the 1670's "A caustic and unreliable summary of his career up to this point appears in Flagellum Parliamentarium:
"Once a link-boy; then a singing -boy at Salisbury; then a servingman; and, permitting his wife to be common beyond sea, at the Restoration was made paymaster to the Guards, where he has cheated £100,000; and is one of the green cloth."
What does "his wife to be common beyond sea" mean? It sounds as if she went to the Continent with Fox and endured the dangerous and deprived travels with Charles II and Hyde.
Regardless, "Evelyn dined with him in 1680, and wrote:
"He is believed to be worth at the least £200,000 honestly gotten, and unenvied, which is next to miracle, and that with all this he still continues as humble and ready to do a courtesy as ever he was; nay, he is very generous, and lives very honourably, of a sweet nature, wellspoken and well-bred, and so very highly in his Majesty’s esteem and useful that being long since made a knight, he is also advanced to be one of the lords commissioners of the Treasury. ... In a word, never was man more fortunate than Sir Stephen; and with all this he is an handsome person, virtuous and very religious, and for whom I have an extraordinary esteem."
"By 1682 ... His works of charity were particularly notable. He built almshouses and rebuilt the parish church at Farley, and to him should be assigned most of the credit for the founding of Chelsea hospital, popularly attributed to the more glamourous figure of Nell Gwyn. ..."
They were probably what we term a 'power couple'. And she did it while bearing 10 children.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.