15 January 1569 – Death of Lady Catherine Knollys (nee Carey)

Posted By on January 15, 2013

On this day in history, 15th January 1569, Lady Catherine Knollys (née Carey), wife of Sir Francis Knollys, daughter of Mary Boleyn and mother of Lettice Dudley, died at Hampton Court Palace.

Catherine had been taken ill with a fever at Christmas and her husband, who was at Bolton Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned, had asked Queen Elizabeth I and William Cecil for permission to leave and be with his wife. His request was denied after Catherine seemed to recover.

The Queen was distraught at her cousin’s death and spent £640 2s. 11d., a huge amount, on a lavish funeral at Westminster Abbey. Her alabaster monument can still be seen today in St Edmund’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey. The inscriptions on the tablet read:

“The Right Honorable Lady Katherin Knollys Cheeffe Lady of the Quenes Maties [Majesty’s] Beddechamber and wiffe to Sr. Frances Knollys Knight Tresorer [Treasurer] of her Highnes Howsholde. Departed this lyefe the 15. of January 1568. At Hampton Courte. And was honorably buried in the flower [floor] of this chappell. This Lady Knollys and the Lord Hundesdon her brother were the childeren of William Caree Esquyer, and of the Lady Mary his wiffe one of the doughters and heires to Thomas Bulleyne Erle of Wylshier [Wiltshire] and Ormond. Which Lady Mary was sister to Anne Quene of England wiffe to Kinge Henry the Eyght father and mother to Elizabeth Quene of England.”

“O, Francis, she who was thy wife, behold, Catherine Knolle lies dead under the chilly marble. I know well that she will never depart from thy soul, though dead. Whilst alive she was always loved by thee: living, she bore thee, her husband, sixteen children and was equally female and male (that is, both gentle and valiant). Would that she had lived many years with thee and thy wife was now an old lady. But God desired it not. But he willed that thou, O Catherine, should await thy husband in Heaven.”

Notes and Sources

19 thoughts on “15 January 1569 – Death of Lady Catherine Knollys (nee Carey)”

  1. Kyra Kramer says:

    Catherine Knollys was always someone I liked to read about, if for no other reason that her life seemed much less wracked with tragedy than many other historical figures; thirteen of her fourteen children lived to adulthood, and she appeared to have a happy marriage. It is also through her heirs that the Boleyn genetics live on.

  2. Terri says:

    How old was she when she died?

    Wow 16 children!!

    1. Lisa says:

      She was 44/45 when she died.

      1. Terri says:

        Thanks Lisa!

  3. Dawn 1st says:

    Did her husband manage to get home in the end before she passed away, it seemed a bit heartless to refuse him leave of duty, even if she did seem to recover for a while.
    There certainly didn’t seem to be any problems with fertility in Mary’s daughter was there….wasn’t she lucky having so many children and surviving all those births in those days.

    1. Terri says:

      I totally agree!!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I always wonder if her father was Henry. Maybe that’s just pop culture, but I swear I can see him–and Anne!–in that portrait!

    1. Mary Heneghan says:

      She could have been Elizabeth’s half-sister as well as her cousin. Is there any evidence for this, I wonder?r

      1. Dawn 1st says:

        Yes, and not only that, if Catherine was Henry’s, he would be Grandfather to 16 little ones!!! that’s something to think about eh, 16 mini Henrys running about.. 🙂

        1. Amy says:

          Aww it is lovely to think that, thanks to her the Boleyn line was carried on!

        2. Lynda62 says:

          Henry only seemed to be able to father 1 living child to any woman so maybe only 1 of Marys children was his and the other was her husbands, which 1 I ask you?

        3. Lynda62 says:

          Henry only seemed to be able to father 1 living child to any woman, so was Catherine or her brother actually fathered by Marys husband?

  5. patti hunter says:

    Did she have a daughter called Dorothy who married a John Perrett?

    1. Claire says:

      No, not that I’m aware of. When was John Perrett alive?

    2. Deborah says:

      Patti, Catherine is my 14th GGM. Her daughter(my GM), Lettice had a daughter, Dorothy Devereux, who married Sir Thomas Perrot, son of John Perrot. Thomas & Dorothy(myGP) had children. When Thomas died, she then married Henry Percy & had more children. I hope this helps. I just saw your message.

  6. Vicky says:

    I was doing some research one day about Mary and Henry the 8th and if her children were actually his and I believe they were. There are websites that put forth the argument that King Henry actually rewarded Mary’s husband when she was pregnant with her second if it was a boy why what did he care if she had a son or not, and there were rewards when she was pregnant with her first child also they just did not go to Mary but to her husband. Henry by this time was interested in her sister and could not acknowledge the children or the affair he had with Mary because of what he had claimed with Catherine and his brother. Also has anyone done a genetics check on Queen Elizabeth 2 mother try it you might be surprised.

  7. Gary L. Myers says:

    I am a descendant of Hers through her daughter Lattice. I for one believe that she was the daughter of King Henry the VII of England. I believe this due to the many related and not so unusual events before during and at the time of her death. The same with her brother Henry. Too much shows that they were special to Queen Elizabeth I and to others. Their children and other descendants are show the respect and other things that only children of monarchs such as from a king would be shown. The relationship between Katharine and Elisabeth I and how the queen acted upon Katharine’s death and that she went to great lengths to have not only her but her brother Henry entombed in Westminster

  8. Gary L. Myers says:

    I am a descendant of Hers through her daughter Lattice. I for one believe that she was the daughter of King Henry the VIII of England. I believe this due to the many related and not so unusual events before during and at the time of her death. The same with her brother Henry. Too much shows that they were special to Queen Elizabeth I and to others. Their children and other descendants are show the respect and other things that only children of monarchs such as from a king would be shown. The relationship between Katharine and Elisabeth I and how the queen acted upon Katharine’s death and that she went to great lengths to have not only her but her brother Henry entombed in Westminster

  9. Craig Cowing says:

    Catherine is my 10 gr. grandmother, through my mother. She’s a fascinating person. I am fortunate to be very close to Yale University, where her portrait is at the Yale Center for British Art. The portrait was recently cleaned and restored, and it is wonderful. If you’re near New Haven CT stop and visit her!

Please note: Comment moderation is currently enabled so there will be a delay between when you post your comment and when it shows up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.