Anne Lennard, Countess of Sussex

Anne Lennard, Countess of Sussex

Infobox Person
name = Anne Lennard
Countess of Sussex

image_size = 200px
caption = Lady Anne at about age four by Sir Lely
birth_date = birth date|1661|2|25|df=y
birth_place = Westminster, England
death_date = death date and age|1721|5|16|1661|2|25|df=y
death_place = England
occupation = Courtier
nationality =
spouse = Thomas Lennard, 1st Earl of Sussex
parents = Charles II of England "(disputed)" Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland
children = (1) Barbara Skelton; (2) Anne Barrett-Lennard, 16th Baroness Dacre.

Anne Lennard, Countess of Sussex (February 25, 1661-2 – May 16 1721-2), formerly Lady Anne Palmer, alias Fitzroy, was the eldest daughter of Barbara Palmer née Villiers, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, and most likely Charles II of England or Philip Stanhope, 2nd Earl of Chesterfield.


She was born Anne Palmer on February 25 1661 or 1662 at Westminster, Middlesex, England. [June Ferguson's Royalty GED] She was the first child of Barbara Palmer, who was the wife of Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine, and who was also a mistress of Charles II. According to legend, Anne was conceived on the night of Charles's Coronation. Both Palmer and the king acknowledged Anne as his daughter and she later took on the surname of Fitzroy, meaning "son of the king," but she is generally assigned to the 2nd Earl of Chesterfield, "whom," says Lord Dartmouth, "she resembled very much both in face and person." [From Burnet's "History of his Own Times", quoted in G. Steinman Steinman's "A Memoir of Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland", 1871, page 26.]


On August 11, 1674, at the age of thirteen and a half, Lady Anne was married, at Hampton Court, to the 15th Baron Dacre, a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the King. On the same day her younger sister, Lady Charlotte Fitzroy, was contracted at the age of ten, to Sir Edward Lee, raised from an early baronetcy to the Earldom of Lichfield two months before. He also was a Gentleman of the King's Bedchamber. Both the wedding and the dowry were paid for by Charles II. Dacre was subsequently created Earl of Sussex.

At some point she had an almost certainly lesbian relationship with Hortense Mancini, a mistress of Anne's father, Charles II, and therefore a rival of her mother, his "maîtresse en titre". To put an end to the affair, Anne's husband, Lord Sussex, removed his wife to the country. In the summer of 1678, Lady Sussex was abducted from a convent in Paris and seduced by Ralph Montagu (afterwards 1st Duke of Montagu). She was 17 years old. He was successively the lover of mother and daughter (the Duchess of Cleveland and Lady Sussex). [Cunningham and Goodwin's "The Story of Nell Gwyn", 1903, page 196.] In a letter to King Charles, dated "Paris, Tuesday the 28th, 1678," her mother wrote:

I was never so surprised in my whole life-time as I was at my coming hither, to find my Lady Sussex gone from my house and monastery where I left her, and this letter from her, which I here send you the copy of. I never in my whole life-time heard of such government of herself as she has had since I went into England. She has never been in the monastery two days together, but every day gone out with the Ambassador (Ralph Montagu), and has often lain four days together at my house, and sent for her meat to the Ambassador; he being always with her till five o'clock in the morning, they two shut up together alone, and would not let my "maitre d'hôtel" wait, nor any of my servants, only the Ambassador's. This has made so great a noise at Paris, that she is now the whole discourse. I am so much afflicted that I can hardly write this for crying, to see a child, that I doted on as I did on her, should make me so ill a return, and join with the worst of men to ruin me. [ [ "Memoirs of the Court of England"] ]

Anne's husband the Earl of Sussex was a "popular but extravagant man" [From John Heneage Jesse's "Memoirs of the Court of England During the Reign of the Stuarts", 1855, page 170.] who, by extravagance and losses by gambling, had to sell the estate of Herstmonceaux and others. Lord and Lady Sussex separated in 1688. She was widowed in 1715.

Children and Descendants

The children of her union with Sussex were two sons, who died in infancy; and two daughters, who lived to adulthood, co-heirs of the Barony Dacre: [ [] ]
#Barbara Lennard: born 12 July 1676 at Westminster, London; died 1741 at Paris. Married Charles Skelton, Esq., Lieutenant-General in the French service, and Grand Croix de St. Louis. Died without issue.
#Charles Lennard: born 25 May 1682 at Windsor Castle; died 13 March 1684. Lord Dacre.
#Henry Lennard: born about 1683 at Herstmonceaux, Sussex; died in infancy.
#Anne Lennard: born 17 August 1684 at Sussex; died 26 June 1755 at London. 16th Baroness Dacre in her own right. Married thrice; [From Booker, von Alvensleben, W Owen's "The Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland", 1790, pages 372-374.] ::(1) First, to Richard Barrett-Lennard, Esq. (d. 1716), son of Dacre Barrett-Lennard and his wife Jane, eldest daughter of Arthur Chichester, the second Earl of Donegal. Died a few months after his marriage to the Lady Anne in 1716, leaving his wife with child. Their son was Thomas Barrett-Lennard, 17th Baron Dacre (1717 – January 12 1786), who died without issue.::(2) Secondly, to Henry Roper, 8th Baron Teynham (died May 16 1723). Had, among other children, Charles, who m. Gertrude, sister and co-heir of John Trevor, esq. of Glynd, in Sussex, and left at his decease, in 1754,:::Charles Trevor-Roper, eighteenth Baron Dacre (1745-1794). Died without issue, and the title devolved upon his nephew.:::Gertrude (d. October 3, 1819), who succeeded her brother, as Baroness Dacre. The Hon. Gertrude Roper m. Thomas Brand, esq. of the Hoo, in the county of Herts; by whom she had issue,::::Thomas, twentieth Baron Dacre.::::Gertrude.::::Henry, C.B., major-general in the army, who distinguished himself during the war in Spain; m. Pyne, daughter of the Honorable and Rev. Dean or Maurice Crosby of Brandon, and sister of the fourth Lord Brandon. General Brand assumed by sign manual, in 1824, the surname of "Trevor" only; he had issue,:::::1. Thomas, 21st Baron Dacre, b. 15 March 1774, m. Nov. 1819, Barbarina, 2nd daughter of the Admiral Sir Chaloner Ogle, Bart., and widow of Valentine Wilmot, Esq.:::::2. Henry, 1st Viscount Hampden.:::::3. Pyne-Jessy, m. 12 August 1828, to John-Henry Cotterell, Esq., eldest son of Sir John-Greers Cotterell, Bart.:::::4. Julia, m. 28 June 1824, to Samuel-Charles Whitbread, Esq., M.P., 2nd son of Samuel Whitbread, Esq., by Lady Elizabeth Grey (sister of Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey).:::::5. Gertrude, m. 21st July, 1831, to Sir George-Hamilton Seymour, K.C.H. son of Lord George Seymour of Hertford.:::::6. Thomas, b. 5 December 1808, m. 12 January 1837, Susan-Sophia, eldest daughter of Charles-Compton Cavendish, 1st Baron Chesham.::(3) Thirdly, to Roger Moore, Esq., fifth son of Henry, Earl of Drogheda, in Ireland, by whom she had one son, Henry.

Her descendants include:
*Alexander Murray, 8th Earl of Dunmore
*Colonel Sir William Robert Campion
*Thomas Coke, 3rd Earl of Leicester
*William Legge, 7th Earl of Dartmouth
*Gerald Legge, 9th Earl of Dartmouth
*Lady Elizabeth Basset
*Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield
*Nigel Forbes, 22nd Lord Forbes
*Dermot Chichester, 7th Marquess of Donegall
*Lavinia Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk
*Richard Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, 4th Baron Acton
*Reginald Manningham-Buller, 1st Viscount Dilhorne
*Windham Wyndham-Quin, 5th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl
*Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury
*Max Wyndham, 2nd Baron Egremont
*Sir Hugh Barrett-Lennard, 6th Baronet

Anne Lennard, Countess of Sussex should not be confused with her daughter, Anne Barrett-Lennard, 16th Baroness Dacre.

The Countess of Sussex died May 16, 1721 or 1722, and was buried at Linsted, County Kent.


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