Arbella (Arabella) Stuart
Location in the Abbey: Lady chapel
Type of memorial: Vault

Lady Arbella Stuart, first cousin to James VI of Scotland and I of England, lies buried in a vault beneath the south aisle of Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. In the 19th century a small grey stone was put in between the tombs of Mary Queen of Scots and Arbella's grandmother Margaret, Countess of Lennox, recording burials in the vault. This gives her name and year of burial only. She has no other memorial.

She was born in 1575, daughter of Charles, 5th Earl of Lennox (Levenox) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Cavendish. Her father was buried with his mother Margaret in 1576. After her father's death she was brought up by her maternal grandmother Bess, of Hardwick Hall and was taught several languages. For a short time she was lady in waiting to Elizabeth I but was sent home when she became too friendly with the queen's favourite the Earl of Essex. In 1610 she married William Seymour, a grandchild of Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford. When the King heard of the marriage William was sent to the Tower of London and she was put under house arrest. Disguising herself as a man she took a ship to go to France but while waiting for her husband to join her she was captured and taken to the Tower where she died on 25 September 1615.

A photo of the stone can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

See also the entry for Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox.

Further reading

"Arbella Stuart, a rival to the queen" by D.N.Durant, 1978

"Life of the Lady Arabella Stuart" by E.T.Bradley, 2 vols, 1889

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"The life and letters of Lady Arabella Stuart" by E.Cooper, 2 vols. 1866

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