|Birth: ||Jun., 1578|
Mary Fitton (original spelling: Fytton) is considered by some to be the "Dark Lady" of William Shakespeare's sonnets. She was the daughter of Sir Edward Fitton of Gawsworth, Cheshire, and was baptized on 24 June 1578.
About 1595 Mary Fitton became a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth. Her father commended her to the care of Sir William Knollys, comptroller of the Queen's household. Sir William promised, "I will be as careful of her well doing as if I were her own true father." But Knollys, though fifty and already married, soon became a suitor to Mary Fitton, in hope of the speedy death of the actual Lady Knollys. He wrote of his passion to her sister and even named Mary's niece, who he was sponsoring as godfather, "Mary". His infatuation was well known and mocked in court -- Shakespeare used the derision in Twelfth Night in Malvolio (Mary's nickname was "Mal").
She became the mistress of William Herbert, later Earl of Pembroke and was soon pregnant but the baby boy died shortly after birth.
Both Mary and Pembroke were dismissed from court.
Mary then had an affair with the married Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Leveson, who left her £100 after his death in 1605.
After this she had an affair with Captain William Polwhele and bore a son that was presumably his. Her mother was scandalized, writing to her other, married, daughter, "such shame as never had a Cheshire woman, worse now than ever. Write no more to me of her." Even after marriage to the father of her child, her mother referred to him as "a very knave". When Polwhele died in 1610, Mary had a son and daughter to take care of.
She married again, to a Pembrokeshire captain named Lougher. He died in 1636. She died in 1647 and was buried in Gawsworth, leaving a little Welsh property to her daughter who had married and had children herself.
Edward Fitton (1548 - 1606)
Alice Holcroft Fitton (____ - 1626)
Edward Fitton (1572 - 1619)*
Mary Fitton (1578 - 1647)
St James Churchyard
Cheshire East Unitary Authority
Plot: In the chancel
Created by: Mad
Record added: Dec 12, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 62845669
In memory of Mary Fitton ~ RIP|
Added: Dec. 5, 2013
Added: Apr. 15, 2013
Added: Dec. 12, 2010