Perdita woman: Elizabeth Lucy


Elizabeth Lucy, the author of the life of Constance Lucy (for whom see below), is herself the subject of a biography by 'Mar. [Martha] Eyre' on pp. 25-38 of the same manuscript. She is identified as the daughter and heir of Mr Molesworth of Hoddeson, Hertfordshire, and the wife of Constance Lucy's youngest son. According to the manuscript, their marriage lasted 56 years, and she outlived her husband by four years. They had nine children, of whom only two daughters survived their mother. Constance Lucy's sixth and youngest son was Francis, who matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, in 1615, and became a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in 1623. He served as MP for Warwick during the 1620s, and was licensed in December 1630 to marry Elizabeth, daughter of Bevill Molesworth (Foster, 1891). Francis is recorded in the Visitation of Warwickshire as still alive in 1682.

Mary Elizabeth Lucy's Biography of the Lucy Family transcribes inscriptions from a grave in the family vault which appear to contradict the information provided in the manuscript as to the respective dates of Francis and Elizabeth's deaths. According to the Biography, Francis 'Died January the 30th in the 90 year of his age. / Anno Domini 1696-7', while Elizabeth 'died Feb. 26, 1690' [i.e. 1690/1]. However, the Biography, although based on family records, is demonstrably inaccurate in places: e.g. it conflates Constance's husband, Sir Thomas, with his father, also Sir Thomas, and says that Thomas Tenison (born 1636 ) preached a funeral sermon for Joyce Lucy in 1595. Circumstantial information in the manuscript tends to support a date for Elizabeth's death of c.1691. According to the manuscript, Elizabeth received medical treatment during her final illness from 'Dr Lowier' until his sudden death, and was subsequently attended by Sir Thomas Wetherby. 'Dr Lowier' is probably Richard Lower, the pioneer of blood transfusion. He is known to have died on 17 January 1690-91, which is consistent with a date of 26 February in the same year for Elizabeth's death. It seems likely that Mary Elizabeth Lucy's transcription of '1696-7' as the date of Francis's death is a mistake for '1686-7', which would be consistent with the claim in the manuscript that Elizabeth outlived her husband by 4 years. Elizabeth Lucy also, according to the manuscript, received spiritual care from 'Doctor Tenison, since Arch Bishop of Canterbury'. This information tends to support the identification of 'Dr Lowier' as Richard Lower, since Lower and Tenison are known to have been acquainted (Carpenter, 1948). It also fixes the composition of the Elizabeth Lucy biography to a date after December 1694, when Tenison was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.

Constance Lucy, the subject of Folger MS V.a.166, pp. 1-24, was the daughter of Richard Kingsmill, attorney of the Court of Wards. She was brought up in the household of Sir Francis Walsingham. In the early 1580s she became the second wife of Thomas Lucy (1551-1605), of Charlecote in Warwickshire. Lucy was knighted in 1593. Constance gave birth to fourteen children, of whom six sons and four daughters were living at the time of her husband's death. After her husband's death, she devoted herself to the care and support of her children, and to charitable work among the poor. She was treated during her final illness by Sir Theodore de Mayerne (1573-1655) and Sir Simon Baskerville (1574-1642), both physicians to the early Stuart monarchs. The date of her death is unknown.

Biography by Gillian Wright.

See also new ODNB entry for 'Sir Richard Lucy (1592-1667)', son of Constance and Thomas Lucy.

Folger Library: MS V.a.166
Biographies of Constance, Lady Lucy, and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth (After December 1694)
(Author) Elizabeth Lucy
(Author, Scribe) Martha Eyre