Biography of Hester Davenport Actor Countess Oxford 1642-1717

Siege of Maastricht

On 07 Aug 1632 Robert Vere 19th Earl Oxford 1575-1632 (56) was killed at the Siege of Maastricht. His son [her future husband] Aubrey Vere 20th Earl Oxford 1627-1703 (5) succeeded 20th Earl Oxford 2C 1141.

In 1629 Cornelius Johnson Painter 1593-1661. Portrait of Robert Vere 19th Earl Oxford 1575-1632.Around 1656 Gilbert Soest Painter 1605-1681. Portrait of Aubrey Vere 20th Earl Oxford 1627-1703.

On 23 Mar 1642 Hester Davenport Actor Countess Oxford 1642-1717 was born.

Around 1647 [her future husband] Aubrey Vere 20th Earl Oxford 1627-1703 (19) and Anne Bayning Countess Oxford 1637-1659 (9) were married. She by marriage Countess Oxford.

John Evelyn's Diary 09 January 1662. 09 Jan 1662. I saw acted the Third Part of "The Siege of Rhodes". In this acted the fair and famous comedian called Roxalana (19) from the part she performed; and I think it was the last, she being taken to be the [her future husband] Earl of Oxford's (34) Miss [Note. Probably Diana Kirke Countess Oxford -1719] (as at this time they began to call lewd women). It was in recitative music.

1662 Great Storm

Diary of Samuel Pepys 18 February 1662. 18 Feb 1662. Lay long in bed, then up to the office (we having changed our days to Tuesday and Saturday in the morning and Thursday at night), and by and by with Sir W. Pen (40), Mr. Kennard, and others to survey his house again, and to contrive for the alterations there, which will be handsome I think.
After we had done at the office, I walked to the Wardrobe, where with Mr. Moore and Mr. Lewis Phillips after dinner we did agree upon the agreement between us and Prior and I did seal and sign it.
Having agreed with Sir Wm. Pen (40) and my wife to meet them at the Opera, and finding by my walking in the streets, which were every where full of brick-battes and tyles flung down by the extraordinary wind the last night (such as hath not been in memory before, unless at the death of the late Protector), that it was dangerous to go out of doors; and hearing how several persons had been killed to-day by the fall of things in the streets, and that the pageant in Fleetstreet is most of it blown down, and hath broke down part of several houses, among others Dick Brigden's; and that one Lady Sanderson, a person of quality in Covent Garden, was killed by the fall of the house, in her bed, last night; I sent my boy home to forbid them to go forth. But he bringing me word that they are gone, I went thither and there saw "The Law against Lovers", a good play and well performed, especially the little girl's (whom I never saw act before) dancing and singing; and were it not for her, the loss of Roxalana (19) would spoil the house.
So home and to musique, and so to bed.

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Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 April 1662. 02 Apr 1662. Mr. Moore came to me, and he and I walked to the Spittle an hour or two before my Lord Mayor and the blewcoat boys come, which at last they did, and a fine sight of charity it is indeed. We got places and staid to hear a sermon; but, it being a Presbyterian one, it was so long, that after above an hour of it we went away, and I home and dined; and then my wife and I by water to the Opera, and there saw "The Bondman" most excellently acted; and though we had seen it so often, yet I never liked it better than to-day, Ianthe acting Cleora's part very well now Roxalana (20) is gone. We are resolved to see no more plays till Whitsuntide, we having been three days together. Met Mr. Sanchy, Smithes; Gale, and Edlin at the play, but having no great mind to spend money, I left them there. And so home and to supper, and then dispatch business, and so to bed.

Diary of Samuel Pepys 20 May 1662. 20 May 1662. Sir W. Pen (41) and I did a little business at the office, and so home again. Then comes Dean Fuller (54) after we had dined, but I got something for him, and very merry we were for an hour or two, and I am most pleased with his company and goodness. At last parted, and my wife and I by coach to the Opera, and there saw the 2nd part of "The Siege of Rhodes", but it is not so well done as when Roxalana (20) was there, who, it is said, is now owned by my [her future husband] Lord of Oxford (35)1.
Thence to Tower-wharf, and there took boat, and we all walked to Halfeway House, and there eat and drank, and were pleasant, and so finally home again in the evening, end so good night, this being a very pleasant life that we now lead, and have long done; the Lord be blessed, and make us thankful. But, though I am much against too much spending, yet I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than to leave pleasures to old age or poverty, when we cannot have them so properly.
Note 1. For note on Mrs. Davenport, who was deceived by a pretended marriage with the [her future husband] Earl of Oxford (35), see ante. Lord Oxford's first wife (25) died in 1659. He married, in 1672, his second wife, Diana Kirke, of whom nothing more need be said than that she bore an inappropriate Christian name.

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Diary of Samuel Pepys 01 December 1662. 01 Dec 1662. Up and by coach with Sir John Minnes (63) and Sir W. Batten (61) to White Hall to the Duke's chamber, where, as is usual, my Lord Sandwich (37) and all of us, after his being ready, to his closett, and there discoursed of matters of the Navy, and here Mr. Coventry (34) did do me the great kindness to take notice to the Duke (29) of my pains in making a collection of all contracts about masts, which have been of great use to us.
Thence I to my Lord Sandwich's (37), to Mr. Moore, to talk a little about business; and then over the Parke (where I first in my life, it being a great frost, did see people sliding with their skeates1, which is a very pretty art), to Mr. Coventry's (34) chamber to St. James's, where we all met to a venison pasty, and were very merry, Major Norwood being with us, whom they did play upon for his surrendering of Dunkirk. Here we staid till three or four o'clock; and so to the Council Chamber, where there met the Duke of York (29), Prince Rupert (42), Duke of Albemarle (53), my Lord Sandwich (37), Sir Win. Compton (37), Mr. Coventry (34), Sir J. Minnes (63), Sir R. Ford (48), Sir W. Rider, myself, and Captain Cuttance, as Commissioners for Tangier. And after our Commission was read by Mr. Creed, who I perceive is to be our Secretary, we did fall to discourse of matters: as, first, the supplying them forthwith with victualls; then the reducing it to make way for the money, which upon their reduction is to go to the building of the Mole; and so to other matters, ordered as against next meeting.
This done we broke up, and I to the Cockpitt, with much crowding and waiting, where I saw "The Valiant Cidd2" acted, a play I have read with great delight, but is a most dull thing acted, which I never understood before, there being no pleasure in it, though done by Betterton (27) and by Ianthe (25), And another fine wench that is come in the room of Roxalana (20) nor did the King (32) or Queen (24) once smile all the whole play, nor any of the company seem to take any pleasure but what was in the greatness and gallantry of the company.
Thence to my Lord's, and Mr. Moore being in bed I staid not, but with a link walked home and got thither by 12 o'clock, knocked up my boy, and put myself to bed.
Note 1. Iron skates appear to have been introduced by the Dutch, as the name certainly was; but we learn from Fitzstephen that bone skates (although not so called) were used in London in the twelfth century.
Note 2. Translated from the "Cid" of Corneille.

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Diary of Samuel Pepys 27 December 1662. 27 Dec 1662. Up, and while I am dressing I sent for my boy's brother, William, that lives in town here as a groom, to whom and their sister Jane I told my resolution to keep the boy no longer. So upon the whole they desire to have him stay a week longer, and then he shall go.
So to the office, and there Mr. Coventry (34) and I sat till noon, and then I stept to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, and after dinner with my wife to the Duke's Theatre, and saw the second part of "Rhodes", done with the new Roxalana (20); which do it rather better in all respects for person, voice, and judgment, then the first Roxalana (20).
Home with great content with my wife, not so well pleased with the company at the house to-day, which was full of citizens, there hardly being a gentleman or woman in the house; a couple of pretty ladies by us that made sport in it, being jostled and crowded by prentices.
So home, and I to my study making up my monthly accounts, which is now fallen again to £630 or thereabouts, which not long since was £680, at which I am sorry, but I trust in God I shall get it up again, and in the meantime will live sparingly.
So home to supper and to bed.

Around 1663 [her husband] Aubrey Vere 20th Earl Oxford 1627-1703 (35) and Hester Davenport Actor Countess Oxford 1642-1717 (20) were married. When he subsequently married Diana Kirke Countess Oxford -1719 in 1672 it transpired his marriage to Hester Davenport had been a sham with the service being performed by one of his servants. She lost the case making their son [her son] Aubrey Vere 1664- illegitimate.

Around 1675 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Diana Kirke Countess Oxford -1719.Before 07 Dec 1680 Peter Lely Painter 1618-1680. Portrait of Diana Kirke Countess Oxford -1719.

Diary of Samuel Pepys 01 January 1663. 01 Jan 1663. Lay with my wife at my Lord's lodgings, where I have been these two nights, till 10 o'clock with great pleasure talking, then I rose and to White Hall, where I spent a little time walking among the courtiers, which I perceive I shall be able to do with great confidence, being now beginning to be pretty well known among them. Then to my wife again, and found Mrs. Sarah with us in the chamber we lay in. Among other discourse, Mrs. Sarah tells us how the King (32) sups at least four or [five] times every week with my Baroness Castlemaine's (22); and most often stays till the morning with her, and goes home through the garden all alone privately, and that so as the very centrys take notice of it and speak of it. She tells me, that about a month ago she [Baroness Castlemaine (22)] quickened at my Lord Gerard's (45) at dinner, and cried out that she was undone; and all the lords and men were fain to quit the room, and women called to help her. In fine, I find that there is nothing almost but bawdry at Court from top to bottom, as, if it were fit, I could instance, but it is not necessary; only they say my Lord Chesterfield (29), groom of the stole to the Queen (24), is either gone or put away from the Court upon the score of his lady's (22) having smitten the Duke of York (29), so as that he is watched by the Duchess of York (25), and his lady (22) is retired into the country upon it. How much of this is true, God knows, but it is common talk.
After dinner I did reckon with Mrs. Sarah for what we have eat and drank here, and gave her a crown, and so took coach, and to the Duke's house, where we saw "The Villaine" again; and the more I see it, the more I am offended at my first undervaluing the play, it being very good and pleasant, and yet a true and allowable tragedy. The house was full of citizens, and so the less pleasant, but that I was willing to make an end of my gaddings, and to set to my business for all the year again tomorrow. Here we saw the old Roxalana (20) in the chief box, in a velvet gown, as the fashion is, and very handsome, at which I was glad. Hence by coach home, where I find all well, only Sir W. Pen (41) they say ill again.
So to my office to set down these two or three days' journall, and to close the last year therein, and so that being done, home to supper, and to bed, with great pleasure talking and discoursing with my wife of our late observations abroad.

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On 17 Apr 1664 [her son] Aubrey Vere 1664- was born to [her husband] Aubrey Vere 20th Earl Oxford 1627-1703 (37) and Hester Davenport Actor Countess Oxford 1642-1717 (22). He was baptised on 15 May 1664 at St Paul's Church.

Diary of Samuel Pepys 06 December 1665. 06 Dec 1665. Up betimes, it being fast-day; and by water to the Duke of Albemarle (57), who come to towne from Oxford last night. He is mighty brisk, and very kind to me, and asks my advice principally in every thing. He surprises me with the news that my Lord Sandwich (40) goes Embassador to Spayne speedily; though I know not whence this arises, yet I am heartily glad of it. He did give me several directions what to do, and so I home by water again and to church a little, thinking to have met Mrs. Pierce in order to our meeting at night; but she not there, I home and dined, and comes presently by appointment my wife. I spent the afternoon upon a song of Solyman's words to Roxalana (23) that I have set, and so with my wife walked and Mercer to Mrs. Pierce's, where Captain Rolt and Mrs. Knipp, Mr. Coleman and his wife, and Laneare, Mrs. Worshipp and her singing daughter, met; and by and by unexpectedly comes Mr. Pierce from Oxford. Here the best company for musique I ever was in, in my life, and wish I could live and die in it, both for musique and the face of Mrs. Pierce, and my wife and Knipp, who is pretty enough; but the most excellent, mad-humoured thing, and sings the noblest that ever I heard in my life, and Rolt, with her, some things together most excellently. I spent the night in extasy almost; and, having invited them to my house a day or two hence, we broke up, Pierce having told me that he is told how the King (35) hath done my Lord Sandwich (40) all the right imaginable, by shewing him his countenance before all the world on every occasion, to remove thoughts of discontent; and that he is to go Embassador, and that the Duke of Yorke (32) is made generall of all forces by land and sea, and the Duke of Albemarle (57), lieutenant-generall. Whether the two latter alterations be so, true or no, he knows not, but he is told so; but my Lord is in full favour with the King (35). So all home and to bed.

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Diary of Samuel Pepys 02 July 1666. 02 Jul 1666. Up betimes, and forced to go to my Lord Mayor's (46), about the business of the pressed men; and indeed I find him a mean man of understanding and dispatch of any publique business.
Thence out of curiosity to Bridewell to see the pressed men, where there are about 300; but so unruly that I durst not go among them: and they have reason to be so, having been kept these three days prisoners, with little or no victuals, and pressed out, and, contrary to all course of law, without press-money, and men that are not liable to it. Here I met with prating Colonel Cox, one of the City collonells heretofore a great presbyter: but to hear how the fellow did commend himself, and the service he do the King (36); and, like an asse, at Paul's did take me out of my way on purpose to show me the gate (the little north gate) where he had two men shot close by him on each hand, and his own hair burnt by a bullet-shot in the insurrection of Venner, and himself escaped.
Thence home and to the Tower to see the men from Bridewell shipped. Being rid of him I home to dinner, and thence to the Excise office by appointment to meet my Lord Bellasses (52) and the Commissioners, which we did and soon dispatched, and so I home, and there was called by Pegg Pen (15) to her house, where her father (45) and mother (42), and Mrs. Norton, the second Roxalana (24), a fine woman, indifferent handsome, good body and hand, and good mine, and pretends to sing, but do it not excellently. However I took pleasure there, and my wife was sent for, and Creed come in to us, and so there we spent the most of the afternoon.
Thence weary of losing so much time I to the office, and thence presently down to Deptford; but to see what a consternation there is upon the water by reason of this great press, that nothing is able to get a waterman to appear almost. Here I meant to have spoke with Bagwell's (29) mother, but her face was sore, and so I did not, but returned and upon the water found one of the vessels loaden with the Bridewell birds in a great mutiny, and they would not sail, not they; but with good words, and cajoling the ringleader into the Tower (where, when he was come, he was clapped up in the hole), they were got very quietly; but I think it is much if they do not run the vessel on ground. But away they went, and I to the Lieutenant of the Tower (51), and having talked with him a little, then home to supper very late and to bed weary.

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On 12 Apr 1672 [her husband] Aubrey Vere 20th Earl Oxford 1627-1703 (45) and Diana Kirke Countess Oxford -1719 were married. She by marriage Countess Oxford.

On 17 Apr 1694 Charles Beauclerk 1st Duke St Albans 1670-1726 (23) and [her step-daughter] Diana Vere Duchess St Albans 1679-1742 (15) were married. He a son of Charles II King England Scotland and Ireland 1630-1685. [her step-daughter] She by marriage Duchess St Albans.

Around 1690 Godfrey Kneller Painter 1646-1723. Portrait of Charles Beauclerk 1st Duke St Albans 1670-1726.Around 1700 Godfrey Kneller Painter 1646-1723. Portrait of Diana Vere Duchess St Albans 1679-1742. One of the Hampton Court Beauties.

On 12 Mar 1703 [her husband] Aubrey Vere 20th Earl Oxford 1627-1703 (76) died.

On 16 Nov 1717 Hester Davenport Actor Countess Oxford 1642-1717 (75) died.

Hester Davenport Actor Countess Oxford 1642-1717 by marriage Countess Oxford. It isn't entirely clear whether the marriage was legal and, consequently, whether she became Countess of Oxford.