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Essex, and died in December anno 1586. And so the SECT. Lady Cheke was a widow a second time. But for some description of her.
Anno 1557. She was a comely courtly lady, bred up in the Court Description
of the Lady from her childhood. In Queen Elizabeth's time was much at Court, being one of the Ladies of the Privy Chamber, an honourable station in those days. Nor was she backward in taking her place of the other Court Ladies; insomuch that once, viz. in the year 1591, complaint was made of the Lady Cheke by a Viscount's daughter (or, at least, so valuing herself) to the Lord Burghley, (that then held the Earl Marshal's place by commission from the Queen,) for that the Lady Cheke went before her at Court. This lady complainant was the Lady Frances Cooke, wife to William, a son of Sir Anthony Cooke, Knight, and daughter of the Lord John Grey, brother to the Duke of Suffolk. She, by a letter, dated from Charing Cross the year aforesaid,
humbly beseeched him, as he was honourable himself,
so it might please his Lordship to youchsafe his honour“ able favour towards the house she was come of; which,
his Lordship best knew, was once not least honourable, though, by misfortune, brought low; whereof, it seem“eth,” as she proceeded, “my Lady Cheke, to whom I “ never gave cause of just offence, taketh great advantage. “ For she doth not only offer me all the wrong and dis
grace that she can in Court, in taking place afore me, “ where it becometh not me, in modesty, to strive for it; “ but she openly publisheth to every body, that I have no “place at all. Truly, my Lord, I should think my fortune “hard, and my deserts ill, if my hap fall out to be put “ down by a woman of no greater birth than I take my “ Lady Cheke to be. I hope her Majesty and your Lord
ship will make some difference between our two births. “ And I trust, never having offended her Majesty, that I “ shall receive that gracious favour from her, that I may “ still possess the place I did in my Lord my father's “ time, and ever since his death, till of late; which place " I took as a younger Viscount's daughter.”
Ladies are apt to value themselves, and affect prece
dency; and so, it seems, did these two: the Lady Cheke, Anno 1557. as she was the relict of a Knight, sometime Secretary of What pre... State, and a Privy Counsellor ; and the Lady Frances to the Lady Cooke, as being the daughter of a son of a Marquis, viz. Frances
Marquis of Dorset, and younger brother of a Duke, viz. Duke of Suffolk. Whereupon she gave her father the title of a younger Viscount; though, according to the laws of heraldry, she could not take place upon any of these accounts: and therefore I am afraid the Lord Marshal's decision went not for her, and the Knight's Lady had the right of taking place; though, out of courtesy and respect to her father, she had precedency in his life-time.
Yet, as she was daughter (and eldest daughter) to a son and heir male of a Marquis, (his elder brothers being dead,) as he claimed by bearing a label of three points in his
arms, and as he is styled in the inscription upon his monument in the chapel at Pyrgo, I leave to the Office of Arms to determine what place she was to have on that
account. Lady But so much shall suffice for the Lady Cheke, after I death and shall have brought her to her end. She was buried in the monument- chancel of the church of St. Martin's in the Fields, about al inscrip
the year 1616; (that is, about sixty years after her first husband's death, and twenty years after her second :) where she hath still a very fair monument against the north wall; with a marble figure of her lying along, of excellent work, and an inscription, wherein both her husbands are mentioned, with their issue by her, and the former with the title of Secretary of State to King Edward VI. Which inscription is as follows; declaring her birth, marriage, children, and quality.
Hic jacet Maria Domina Cheke, filia R. Hill, Armig. Fæmina pia et prudens, et quæ fuit ad obitum una Dominarum in Privata Camera Regina Elizabethæ (quæ fuit tunc dignitas in præcipuo honore.) Nupta fuit primo Johanni Cheke, Militi, Magistro, et Principali Secretario
Regis Edwardi VI. viro optimo et eruditissimo. Cui pe- SECT. perit Henricum, hæredem paternæ virtutis et Regiæ Majestati a Secretis in Concilio Eboracensi ; Johannem Cheke, Anno 1557. virum egregium et magnanimum; et Edwardum Cheke.
Secundo nupta Henrico Mackwilliams, Armigero, viro ex nobilissima familia Hibernorum. Cui peperit, &c. Vixit circiter 84 annis. Obiit Novemb. 30, 1616.
Now to turn our eyes again to Sir John, the husband of her youth.
Sir John Cheke's posterity.
Cheke's sons, three : Henry Cheke, eldest son ; John
Cheke, the second; Edward, the third. Cheke's
THUS died Cheke in a cloud; and his name, once most posterity yet flourish. honoured, much eclipsed by his infirmity. But his re
pentance (which would have shewed itself more, had he lived longer) must reconcile him to men of the like frail nature; and his former singular merits will undoubtedly preserve his memory fair and in credit with all candid men. And the name of Cheke hath still lived in a posterity of men of worth, sprung from him; the family flourishing to this day in wealth and reputation at Pyrgo, a noble seat in the county of Essex, belonging to it; purchased by Sir Thomas Cheke, Knight, grandson to Sir John; and now possessed by Edward Cheke, Esq.
His sons were three: (for Dr. Langbain mistook much when he wrote that he left no issue but one son, bearing his father's name :) their names were, Henry, John, and Edward; the first and the last probably so called from his two royal masters, in grateful remembrance of their favours. The continuation of his posterity depended upon his eldest son, Henry; John and Edward dying without issue, at least as far as I could ever by search and inquiry find.
John was a youth of great hopes, comely and learned, and of a gentleman-like and very obliging deportment: of whom also his uncle, the Lord Treasurer Burghley, took particular care, making him one of his own family. And upon his parting thence, in some employment abroad, he wrote a very courteous letter to Mr. Hickes, Secretary to the said Lord Treasurer, as sensible of some kindnesses done him by the said Hickes. Among his other qualities, he was courageous and brave; which spirit carried him to
to the Lord
the wars in Ireland, to serve the Queen his mistress; where, SECT. in the year 1579 or 1580, he was unfortunately slain in an engagement against some Italians and Spaniards that had His end. invaded that country for King Philip; and was the only man that fell by those Popish hands, as his father and namesake before him had his days shortened by men of like principles.
For this gentleman had remained six years at least in His letter the retinue of his uncle, whom on that account he called
Burghley his master; and being impatient to remain in this unactive his uncle. life, he resolved to push on his own fortunes, choosing the life of a soldier. But his own mean circumstances hindered him; so that, having not wherewith to furnish himself out with horse, he was fain to embolden himself to ask for one of his Lordship; which he did in a modest letter, dated from London, in July 1578, thus bespeaking him: “ That he found at that time nature and duty strove
very much within him: the one, to procure importu“nately that which might secure it safe; the other, willing “ him to forbear to offend in craving, where he honoured, “served, and feared: but that his Lordship had much en“ couraged him, because he had not acquainted him with “ denials. He begged, therefore, for the safety of his life, " and the increase of his reputation, to bestow his dun “ horse on him; a horse which he chiefly desired, be
cause, as he said, he was wedded to him for his gentle “ nature, and trust in him, knowing his goodness, and “ would most willingly hazard his life on him. That ne
cessity forced him, and life willingly spoke for itself. “ He prayed his Lordship to favour him, and to forget “ that duty which he owed him that forbade him this; “ since nature swayed more with him than reason, though “ he feared more to offend his Lordship than any: but “ chiefly that his excuse might be, because he wanted.” This was his style, and this his awful behaviour towards his uncle: and thus he set out like a soldier of fortune: and pity it was so hopeful a gentleman had not better