|Tomb of Joseph and Lady Elizabeth Nightingale|
in Westminster Abbey
The story behind the couple commemorated by the tomb is equally dramatic. Joseph Gascoigne was the second son of a clergyman, the vicar of the London suburb of Enfield, Middlesex. He was sent to Trinity College Cambridge in 1712 at age 17, but a sudden series of deaths left him extremely wealthy. First was that of his elder brother Theobald Gascoigne in 1714, which brought Joseph the manor of Barking Hall in Suffolk, the seat of his mother's family, that had come to her when her last surviving brother died unmarried in 1690. In 1721, Joseph became head of the family at age 25 when his father died. A year later, in July 1722, his first cousin Sir Robert Nightingale, 5th Baronet, died designating Joseph's younger brother Robert Gascoigne as heir to the Nightingale estates, chief of which was Newport Pond in Essex, with the stipulation that Robert Gascoigne must assume the name and arms of Nightingale. But a mere three months afterwards, on 2 November 1722, Robert Gascoigne died at age 24 of smallpox. Anne (née Theobald) Gascoigne saw to it that her only surviving son Joseph received the Nightingale inheritance in place of his brother, and Joseph assumed that surname, and an estate worth close to £300,000 a year. The 27-year-old Joseph was now one of the most eligible bachelors in London, and his mother lived long enough to see him make a prestigious marriage to the 21-year-old Lady Elizabeth Shirley, eldest of the three daughters of the 2nd Earl Ferrers. It was through his influential father-in-law that Joseph was first returned to Parliament for Stafford in 1727, and when his first child, a son, was born at the end of that year, Joseph and his wife Lady Elizabeth gave him the name of her father the earl.
|Nightingale Coat of Arms|
[Per pale ermine and gules, a rose
Death continued to haunt the wealthy young couple. Joseph's mother had died in 1726, and Earl Ferrers died in April 1729 when his daughter was eight months pregnant with her second child, another son. A third son arrived the next year, with yet another pregnancy following a few months later. It was this fourth pregnancy that would prove fatal to Lady Elizabeth Nightingale. The story goes that a violent bolt of lightning so shocked her that she fell into her husband's arms and went into premature labour, dying while delivering a daughter who survived. Whether or not lightning was the cause, his wife's death in childbirth devastated Joseph, who had deeply loved her. He finished out his term in the Commons, but didn't stand again. Joseph's focus turned to his four children, but death continued to haunt the family, claiming Joseph's youngest son Robert first, then his namesake second son in 1741 at the age of 11. At the close of the decade, in 1749-50, Joseph decided a major geographic change would be beneficial to himself and his two surviving children. He purchased the beautiful Mamhead House in Devon, with the view that a West Country seat would add greatly to the legacy for his surviving son, Washington Gascoigne Nightingale, a promising young man in his early 20s. Joseph died just a couple years afterwards in 1752 at the age of 56, having never remarried. Washington commissioned the tomb for his parents in Westminster Abbey that haunts visitors to this day, but never lived to see it himself. He followed his father to the grave nineteen months later, at the young age of 26, and unmarried.
|Wilmot Vaughan, 1st Earl of Lisburne (1728-1800)|
At age 22, Elizabeth Nightingale found herself in the same position her father had been: a series of sudden deaths left her one of the most eligible heiresses in London, worth almost £300,000 a year. The suitor who won her hand was 26-year-old Wilmot Vaughan, the heir apparent to his father's Irish title of Viscount Lisburne and to his Welsh estate of Trawsgoed, the largest in the county of Cardiganshire. In addition Wilmot was heir presumptive to his mother's childless brother Thomas Watson, a politician from Berwick-on-Tweed who had an impressive estate in Northumberland. Wilmot married Elizabeth in London in July 1754, just four moths after the death of her brother Washington Nightingale.
Death, however, was not finished with the Nightingale family. Elizabeth quickly became pregnant, and in May 1755, just ten months after her wedding, she gave birth to a son and died ten days later from the resulting complications. Wilmot Vaughan was as devastated as his wife's father Joseph Nightingale had been 23 years previous. Unlike Joseph, he threw himself into, rather than retreated from, politics, and was first returned to Parliament in the December following his wife's death, beginning a career in the Commons that lasted for decades. Also unlike his father-in-law Joseph, Wilmot remarried, though the grieving widower waited nine years before doing so.
|Earl of Lisburne full Heraldic Achievement|
[Image from European Heraldry]
|Mamhead House, Devon, c.1830|
[*1] One local "unfounded tradition" [Devonshire & Cornwall Illustrated, 1832] of Lady Elizabeth Nightingale's tragic sudden labour has her walking the grounds of Mamhead House when the violent bolt of lightning struck. The location is impossible for the event. Mamhead wasn't purchased by Joseph Gascoigne Nightingale until 1749-50, while Lady Elizabeth died in childbirth in 1731, and it is clear from her burial entry and the baptism entry of her daughter, that Lady Elizabeth was in London when she died. I cannot, however, locate a burial entry for Lady Elizabeth's daughter, Elizabeth (née Nightingale), Lady Lisburne, whose marriage brought Mamhead House to the Vaughan family in 1754. Could the local tradition apply instead to her own death in childbirth the following year, confusing mother and daughter? Lady Lisburne dying at Mamhead House in Devon could explain why no burial emerges from the thorough online London and Westminster parish register databases. Her son Wilmot Vaughan was baptized on 29 May 1755 at St George Hanover Square, twenty days after his birth, per the entry in the parish register, making it highly unlikely that his birth occurred two hundred miles away at Mamhead. But though the location is also impossible for this second fatal childbirth, it may still be that the lightning story applies to Wilmot's birth in 1755 rather than the 1731 birth of his mother, especially given that it was Lady Lisburne, not her mother Lady Nightingale, who had the association with Mamhead.
[*2] His obituary states that the 2nd Earl of Lisburne died "near Stamford," and as Shillingthorpe is often described as near Stamford, the inference is clear that the earl was in that asylum. The obituary also insinuates that Wilmot Vaughan did not become mad until about the time of his father's death. However, the circumstances of the earl's life - he made it through both Eton and Oxford, but then never married in the twenty-five ensuing years until his father's death - point to his likely having schizophrenia, the devastating mental illness that most men develop on average at age 18. The staff and tenants at Mamhead would have been well aware of Wilmot's madness, and this lends weight to the idea that the local legend of lightning causing a sudden early labour which killed the mother, described in the note above, is meant to apply to the birth of Wilmot, not that of his mother.
|Shillingthorpe Hall, near Stamford, Lincolnshire|
|St George Hanover Square, London|
Issue of Joseph and Lady Elizabeth (Shirley) Nightingale:
1) WASHINGTON GASCOIGNE NIGHTINGALE of Mamhead House, Devon, b. 31 Dec. 1727 London, bap. 25 Jan. 1728 St George Hanover Square; d. unm. 25 Feb. 1754, bur. St John the Baptist Church, Hillingdon, Middlesex.
2) JOSEPH GASCOIGNE NIGHTINGALE, b. 29 Mar. 1729 London, bap. 27 Apr. 1729 St George Hanover Square; d. young, bur. 14 Mar. 1741 St Andrew Church, Enfield.
3) ROBERT GASCOIGNE NIGHTINGALE, b. 25 June 1730 London, bap. 23 July 1730 St George Hanover Square; d. young before 1741.
4) ELIZABETH NIGHTINGALE, b. 14 Aug. 1731 London, bap. 5 Sept. 1731 St George Hanover Square; d. 19 May 1755 London, bur. unknown; m. 3 July 1754 St George Hanover Square, as his 1st wife, WILMOT VAUGHAN, 1st Earl of Lisburne, bap. 9 Jan. 1728 Holy Trinity Church, Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland; d. 6 Jan. 1800 Mamhead House, bur. 14 Jan. 1800 St Thomas Church, Mamhead, est. son of Wilmot Vaughan, 3rd Viscount Lisburne (c.1700-1766, descended from Edward III) and Elizabeth Watson (c.1705-1764), and had issue, one son.
Issue of Elizabeth (Nightingale) and 1st Earl of Lisburne:
|Elizabeth Nightingale in Table III|
of Ruvigny's Essex volume
4A) WILMOT VAUGHAN, 2nd Earl of Lisburne, b. 9 May1755 London, bap. 29 May 1755 St George Hanover Square; d. unm. 6 May 1820 Shillingthorpe Hall (asylum), Braceborough, Lincolnshire.
Elizabeth (née Nightingale), Lady Lisburne, along with her husband, their son and her parents, appears in Table III (p. 4) of Ruvigny's Essex volume. Following are her four lines of descent from Edward III through Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, including those that Ruvigny traces in his Essex and Mortimer-Percy volumes.
|Isabel (née Plantagenet), Countess|
of Essex - see Generation A5
A1) Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) m. 1) Lady Elizabeth de Burgh (1332-1363, descended from Edward I), and had
A2) Lady Philippa Plantagenet of Clarence (1355-1377) m. Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March (1352-1381), and had a son A3 and a dau C3 (see below)
A3) Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March (1374-1398) m. Lady Alianore Holland (1370-1405, descended from Edward I), and had
A4) Lady Anne Mortimer (1388-1411) m. Richard of York, 3rd Earl of Cambridge (1385-1415, descended from Edward III), and had a dau A5 and a son B5 (see below)
A5) Lady Isabel Plantagenet (1409-1484) m. 2) Henry Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex (1404-1483, descended from Edward III), and had
A6) William, Lord Bourchier (c.1428-1477) m. 2) Lady Anne Woodville (c.1448-1489), and had
A7) Cecily Bourchier (c.1473-1493) m. John Devereux, 2nd Lord Ferrers of Chartley (1464-1501, descended from Edward I), and had
|1st Earl of Essex -|
see Generation A10
A9) Sir Richard Devereux of Lamphey (by 1513-1547) m. Lady Dorothy Hastings (c.1520-1566, descended from Edward III), and had
A10) Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex (1539-1576) m. Lettice Knollys (1543-1634, descended from Edward III), and had
A11) Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1565-1601) m. Frances Walsingham (1567-1632, descended from Edward I), and had
A12) Lady DOROTHY DEVEREUX, b. 20 Dec. 1600 Walsingham House, London; d. 30 Mar. 1636 Blatherwyck Hall, Northamptonshire, bur. 5 Apr. 1636 Holy Trinity Church, Blatherwyck; m. 1st 18 May 1615 St Lawrence Pountney, London, Sir HENRY SHIRLEY, 2nd Baronet of Staunton Harold (see C12 below), and had
|1st Earl Ferrers - see|
A15) WASHINGTON SHIRLEY, 2nd Earl Ferrers, b. 22 June 1677 Staunton Harold Hall, bap. St Mary & St Hartulph Church, Breedon-on-the-Hill; d. 14 Apr. 1729 Mayfair, London, bur. 3 May 1729 Holy Trinity Church, Staunton Harold; m. 1703, MARY LEVINGE, b. 1684; d. Jan. 1740 Paris, France, dau. of Sir Richard Levinge, 1st Baronet of High Park (1656-1724) and Mary Corbin (d. 1720), and had
A16) Lady Elizabeth Shirley (1703-1731 - see details above) m. Joseph Gascoigne Nightingale (see B14 below), and had
A17) Elizabeth Nightingale (1731-1755 - see details above) m. Wilmot Vaughan, 1st Earl of Lisburne
|Anne (née Plantagenet), Duchess|
of Exeter - see Generation B6
B6) Anne Plantagenet, Duchess of Exeter (1439-1476) m. 2) Sir Thomas St Leger (by 1438-1483), and had
B7) Lady Anne St Leger (1475-1526) m. George Manners, 11th Lord Ros (1470-1513, descended from Edward I), and had
B8) Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland (c.1497-1543) m. 2) Eleanor Paston (c.1505-1551, descended from Edward I), and had
B9) Lady Katherine Manners (c.1540-1573) m. Henry Capell of Hadham Hall (c.1533-1588, descended from Edward I), and had
B10) Anne Capell (1566-1642) m. Sir Robert Chester of Royston Priory (1566-1640), and had
B11) Theodosia Chester (c.1605-1683) m. 1) Robert Nightingale, Heir of Newport Pond (c.1605-1639, descended from Edward I), and had
B12) Anne Nightingale (1625-1668) m. Sir Francis Theobald of Barking Hall (1621-1679), and had
B13) Anne Theobald (1655-1726) m. Dr. Joseph Gascoigne of Enfield (1643-1721), and had
B14) Joseph Gascoigne [later Nightingale] of Enfield (1695-1752 - see details above) m. Lady Elizabeth Shirley (see A16 above)
C3) Lady Elizabeth Mortimer (1371-1417) m. 1) Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy (1364-1403), and had
C4) Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland (1394-1455) m. Lady Eleanor Neville (1403-1472, descended from Edward III), and had
|Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey|
- see Generation C9
C6) Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland (c.1449-1489) m. Lady Maud Herbert (c.1457-by 1487), and had
C8) Lady Elizabeth Stafford (1497-1558) m. Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (1473-1554, descended from Edward I), and had
C9) Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1516-1547) m. Lady Frances de Vere (1517-1577, descended from Edward I), and had
C10) Lady Katherine Howard (1539-1596) m. Henry, 7th Lord Berkeley (1534-1613, descended from Edward I), and had
C11) Frances Berkeley (1564-1595) m. Sir George Shirley, 1st Baronet of Staunton Harold (1559-1622), and had
C12) Sir HENRY SHIRLEY, 2nd Baronet of Staunton Harold, b. 4 Jan. 1589 Somerton, Oxfordshire; d. 8 Feb. 1633 Staunton Harold Hall, Leicestershire, bur. 9 Feb. 1633 St Mary & St Hartulph Church, Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire; m. 18 May 1615 St Lawrence Pountney, London, Lady DOROTHY DEVEREUX (see A12 above)
|Guise of Elmore Coat of Arms|
D6) Tacy Grey (c.1488-1558) m. John Guise of Elmore Court (c.1485-1556, descended from Edward I), and had
D7) William Guise of Elmore Court (c.1514-1574) m. Mary Rotsey (d. 1558), and had
D8) John Guise of Elmore Court (c.1540-1588) m. Jane Pauncefoot (d. 1587), and had
D9) Sir William Guise of Elmore Court (1566-1642) m. 1) Margaret Kenn (d. 1595), and had
D10) William Guise of Elmore Court (1595-1653) m. Cecily Dennys (1597-1682, descended from Edward I)[*3], and had
|Elizabeth (née Washington), Lady|
Ferrers - see Generation D12
[*3] I'm one of those who feel there is not enough evidence to support Joan Stradling, the first wife of Maurice Dennys of Siston, as a daughter of Jane, daughter of Cardinal Henry Beaufort. But for those who feel that connection is valid, then Cecily Dennys, wife of William Guise of Elmore Court, would be a descendant of Edward III thru Cardinal Beaufort.
The next blogpost will look at a descent from Edward III for Elizabeth (née Crowley), Countess of Ashburnham, that is an addition to Ruvigny's Exeter volume.