Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Childhood of Princess Elizabeth - Kat Ashley
Lady Margaret Bryan was replaced with a new governess for Elizabeth. Her name was Katharine Champernowne. In 1545 Katherine Champernowne later married a distant cousin of Anne Boleyn called John Ashley. She therefore became related to Elizabeth through marriage which strengthened their close ties. She was commonly known by the name of Kat Ashley. Kat came from Devon and was a well educated, loving and affectionate governess. Kat was completely devoted to Elizabeth. Elizabeth came to love Kat dearly and she played an important role in her life as a friend and confidante. Elizabeth praised Kat’s early devotion to her studies by stating that she took “great labor and pain in bringing of me up in learning and honesty”. The household had been reorganised and the number of servants reduced to thirty-two.


Sir Walter Raleigh, a son of East Devon, was born at Hayes Barton in East Budleigh, probably in 1554. Unfortunately, the parish register begins in April 1555. The Raleighs were leading Protestants who used the new English Prayer Book. They saw the Vicar of St Thomas's in Exeter hanged from his church tower and had visited Agnes Prest before she was burned to death in Exeter during 'Bloody' Queen Mary's reign. Raleigh's father, Walter Senior, had moved east from Fardell, on the edge of Dartmoor, upon his marriage to Joan Drake, a distant relative of the famous sailor, Sir Francis. Joan came from Exmouth, south of Exeter, near where Walter owned the manors of Collaton Raleigh and Wythecombe Raleigh. He leased Hayes Barton, a large house and estate nearby and set up as a gentleman farmer. From here he ran his growing business and the Raleighs soon owned the grazing rights on both Lympstone and Woodbury Commons. Sadly, in 1530, Joan died and was buried in East Budleigh Church. Walter Senior entered into a short-lived marriage to the daughter of a Genoese merchant, but was later joined with a third wife named Katherine Champernowne. Katherine had previously been married to Otto Gilbert of Compton Castle (near Paignton in Devon) and was the mother of John, Humphrey and Adrian Gilbert. Her brother was Vice-Admiral of Devon and her aunt had held the robe for Princess Elizabeth at her christening and later became her tutor. Katherine bore her new husband a daughter and two more sons: Carew and their youngest, Walter.


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