|Lady Christiana (née Bruce) Rolle (c.1658-1820)|
|From Ruvigny's 1905 Clarence volume|
Not much is known today of Lady Christiana (Bruce) (Rolle) Gayer, beyond her stunning portrait by Peter Lely. Art historians believe it was painted in 1677, on the occasion of her first marriage to John Rolle. Per their marriage licence, Lady Christiana was then age 19 and her husband age 28, so nine years her senior. Rolle, even though both of his parents were living, was old enough to choose his own bride, and as her portrait indicates, Lady Christiana was a great beauty. She was the fourth surviving daughter of the earl of Ailesbury, one of the most active peers in the House of Lords and one of the most trusted by King Charles II. The 1677 licence states that Ailesbury gave his consent to his daughter's marriage. He had arranged for his two eldest daughters to marry young baronets, and after the eldest one was widowed about the age of twenty, he arranged her subsequent marriage to the heir to the earldom of Rutland.
|From Ruvigny's 1907 Exeter volume|
Lady Christiana's first husband emerges even less clearly today that she does. Constantly in the shadow of his father, a Knight of the Bath, the younger John Rolle ran for his own seat in Parliament, at Barnstaple in 1685, but was defeated by two Tories. He died four years later, at the premature age of forty, with a 62-year-old father who would survive for another seventeen years, and a 30-year-old widow with several young children (three sons and a daughter survived infancy). With both her parents now dead and her brother the 2nd earl of Ailesbury in exile with the deposed King James II, Lady Christiana could no longer count on the head of the Bruce family as a powerful figure at court. If she wanted any kind of life independent of her wealthy in-laws in Devon, she only had her sisters and their husbands to turn to for advice and support. It is from the family circle of her sister Lady Anne Rich that Lady Christiana found her second husband.
|Gayer of Stoke Poges Coat of Arms|
[Ermine a fleur de lys on a chief a mullet or]
Sir Robert Gayer was in his late 50s in 1690, a widower with five children, ranging in age from 24 to 11. His first wife had died in 1683, and her brother, Sir William Rich, 2nd Baronet of Sonning (c.1654-1711), was married to Lady Anne (née Bruce), the elder sister of Lady Christiana Rolle. He had a townhouse on Jermyn Street in Westminster, and a country seat in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, which he had spent the past decade re-modelling and updating. Gayer was descended from the younger son of a minor gentry family from Liskeard in Cornwall, but it was trade that made the family's fortune. His father Sir John Gayer (1584-1649) had been a merchant and member of both the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers and the East India Company, who served terms as Sheriff and as Lord Mayor of London, and served time in the Tower for his support of Charles I. Sir Robert Gayer proved as fervently devoted to the Stuart dynasty as his father had been. He had been made a Knight of the Bath at the Coronation of Charles II (as had John Rolle senior, Lady Christiana's father-in-law), and was dismayed by the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 which saw James II usurped from the throne by his own son-in-law William of Orange. Though he was almost two dozen years her senior, Lady Christiana married Sir Robert Gayer at some point early in the 1690s. It is from her second marriage that we have the only surviving anecdotal story involving Lady Christiana:
|Manor House, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire|
|Bruce Earl of Ailesbury Coat of Arms|
Issue of Lady Christiana (Bruce) (Rolle) and Sir Robert Gayer:
1) JAMES GAYER of Rockbeare House, Devon, b. c.1693 (admitted to Cambridge Apr. 1709 age 15) London; bur. 21 Nov. 1764 St Michael & All Angels Church, Sowton, Devon; m. 1st by 1716, SUSANNA (----), bur. 12 Apr. 1760 St Michael & All Angels Church, Sowton, and had issue, one son and one daughter; m. 2nd 3 June 1762 St Mary Church, Rockbeare, as her 1st husband, MARY MOMPESSON, dau. of George Mompesson of Great Torrington, Devon.
Issue of James and Susanna (----) Gayer:
1A) Dr. JAMES GAYER, Rector of Marham Church, Cornwall 1750-76, bap. 11 Apr. 1717 St Mary Church, Buckerell, Devon; d. unm. 22 Feb. 1776, bur. 28 Feb. 1776 St Katherine Cree, London.
1B) CHRISTIANA SUSANNA GAYER, bap. 11 Nov. 1718 St Mary Church, Buckerell; d.s.p. 24 Oct. 1781 Bath, Somersetshire, bur. Bath Abbey; m. 8 Apr. 1763 St Martin in the Fields, London, as his 1st wife, STUCLEY LUCAS of Baronsdown House, Brompton Regis, Somersetshire, b. 7 Oct. 1736 Castle Grove, Bampton, Devon; d. 24 May 1811 Baronsdown House, bur. 25 May 1811 St Mary Church, Brompton Regis, son of Robert Lucas of Castle Grove and Mary Tristram.
2) EDWARD GAYER, b. c.1695; d. unm., bur. 19 May 1733 St Mary Church, Bicton.
[*1] In his 1887 Gayer of Trenbrace pedigree, genealogist John Lambrick Vivian assigned Lady Christiana and Sir Robert Gayer a daughter Mary, wife of Hon. Roger North. Mary Gayer married North in 1796 at age 30, and was in reality the eldest surviving child of Sir Robert Gayer, by his first wife Mary Rich.
For those who enjoy mtDNA as much as I do, it's interesting that Lady Christina (Bruce) (Rolle) Gayer is a 7th-generation mtDNA descendant of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. In fact, Lady Christina's daughter Diana, Lady Wrey can be traced back 14 generations in her mtDNA line to Maria de Padilla (1334-1361), wife of Pedro I, King of Castile. Following is Annette (née Palk) Baird's 20-generation descent from Edward III thru George, Duke of Clarence and Lady Christiana (née Bruce) Rolle.
Edward III had a 2nd surv son:
1) Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) m. 1) Lady Elizabeth de Burgh (1332-1363, descended from Edward I), and had
2) Lady Philippa Plantagenet of Clarence (1355-1377) m. Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March (1352-1381), and had
3) Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March (1374-1398) m. Lady Alianore Holland (1370-1405, descended from Edward I), and had
4) Lady Anne Mortimer (1388-1411) m. Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Earl of Cambridge (1385-1415, descended from Edward III), and had
|3rd Countess of Salisbury -|
see Generation 7
6) George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence (1449-1478) m. Lady Isabel Neville (1451-1476, descended from Edward III), and had
7) Margaret Plantagenet, 3rd Countess of Salisbury (1473-1541) m. Sir Richard Pole of Medmenham (1459-1504), and had
8) Ursula Pole (c.1498-1570) m. Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford (1501-1563, descended from Edward III), and had
9) Dorothy Stafford (1526-1604) m. Sir William Stafford of Chebsey (c.1500-1566), and had
10) Elizabeth Stafford (c.1546-1599) m. 1) Sir William Drury of Hawstead Hall (1550-1590, descended from Edward III), and had
11) Elizabeth Drury (1578-1653) m. William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter (1566-1640, descended from Edward III), and had
12) Lady Anne Cecil (1602-1676) m. Henry Grey, 1st Earl of Stamford (c.1599-1673, descended from Edward III), and had
13) Lady Diana Grey (c.1629-1689) m. Robert Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury (1626-1685, descended from Edward III), and had
14) Lady Christiana Bruce (c.1658-1720) m. 1) John Rolle, Heir of Stevenstone House (c.1649-1689, descended from Edward III), and had
15) Diana Rolle (b. c.1685-1721) m. 2) Sir Bourchier Wrey, 5th Baronet of Trebeigh (1683-1726, descended from Edward III), and had
|Sir Bourchier Wrey, 7th Bt -|
see Generation 17
17) Sir Bourchier Wrey, 7th Baronet of Trebeigh (1757-1826) m. 1) Anne Palk (1764-1791, descended from Henry IV), and had
18) Anna Eleanora Wrey (1787-1846) m. 2) Sir Lawrence Vaughan Palk, 3rd Baronet of Haldon House (1793-1860, descended from Henry IV), and had
19) Lawrence Palk, 1st Baron Haldon (1818-1883) m. Maria Harriet Hesketh (1826-1905, descended from Edward III), and had
20) Hon. Annette Maria Palk (1851-1884), wife of Sir Alexander Baird, 1st Baronet of Ury
The next blogpost will examine the Edward III descents of John Rolle, first husband of Lady Christiana Bruce.