January Update 2024

Shirley Moore, Chair of the Edwinstowe Historical Society, introduced Ian and Diane Hibbert whose selection of Elizabethan music was a prelude to David Templeman’s talk about “Arbella Stuart – the Queen That Never Was”. David explained that Bess of Hardwick orchestrated a marriage between her daughter, Elizabeth Cavendish, and Charles Stuart son of the Countess of Lenox, in the knowledge that any child of Charles Stuart had a claim to the throne after the death of the childless Elizabeth 1. The marriage was arranged at Rufford Abbey, and their daughter Arbella was born in 1575.
Following the death of her parents, at the age of six Arbella became the ward of her grandmother Bess. She was highly educated and spent time at the court of Queen Elizabeth, but was banished for misbehaviour and became exiled at Hardwick, which she found frustrating. During the reign of her cousin, King James I, she married William Seymour, 2 nd Duke of Somerset, in secret. The King imprisoned William and placed Arbella under house arrest. They managed to keep in touch but their planned dramatic escape to France did not succeed and Arbella was recaptured and imprisoned in the Tower, although William managed to reach safety on the continent. Arbella never saw  William again, and she starved herself to death at the age of 39.