Bridget HUSSEY

(C. Rutland / C. Bedford)

Born: ABT 1514 / 1525

Died: 12 Jan 1600/1

Buried: Watford, Herts., England

Father: John HUSSEY (1º B. Hussey of Sleaford)

Mother: Anne GREY (B. Hussey of Sleaford)

Married 1: Richard MORISON of Cashiobury (Sir Knight) (b. 1510)


1. Elizabeth MORISON (C. Lincoln) (b. 1545 - d. 1611) (m.1 Henry Clinton Fiennes, 2° E. Lincoln - m.2 Sir William Norreys)

2. Jane Sybilla MORISON (B. Russell/B. Grey of Wilton) (d. Jul 1615) (m.1 Edward Russell, B. Russell - m.2 Arthur Grey, 14° B. Wilton)

3. Charles MORISON (Sir Knight) (d. 1599)

Married 2: Henry MANNERS (2º E. Rutland)

Married 3: Francis RUSSELL (2º E. Bedford) 25 Jun 1566

Bridget Hussey was the daughter of John, Lord Hussey of Sleaford and Anne Grey. Some accounts give her birthdate as late as 1528. Her first husband was Sir Richard Morison (b. 1510 - d. 17 Mar 1556), one of the men who had written virulent denunciations of her father and the Pilgrimage of Grace. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Jane Sybilla, and a son, Sir Charles, but Morison also had a mistress, Lucy Harper (née Peckham). He received Snitterfield Manor in 1545 and in 1546 had a license to alienate it to John Hales for a regrant in trust for Lucy Harper and her five children. Lucy’s daughter (and presumably Morison’s), Mary, married Bartholomew Hales (d.1599), John’s brother, and held the manor from 1570-1599.

Lady Denny and Richard Morison were named executors of the will of Sir Anthony Denny. Meanwhile, under Edward VI, Morison was sent as Ambassador to Carlos V. Bridget went with him and they remained on the Continent from 1550 until Edward’s death in 1553. One of their children was born in Augsburg when that city was under siege in 1551. Following a brief visit to England after Mary Tudor became Queen, they returned to the Continent, this time as exiles, and took their daughters with them. They settled in Strassburg, where Morison died.

As a widow, Lady Morison returned to England and was allowed to claim her husband’s estate at Cassiobury, Hertfordshire. In 1561, she married Henry Manners, Earl of Rutland, a widower. He died two years later.

On 25 Jun 1566, she married a third time, to another widower, Francis Russell, 2nd E. of Bedford. She was with him at Berwick, where he was Captain, and probably accompanied him into Scotland to attend the christening of the future James I. Twenty years later, she served as chief mourner at the funeral of James’s mother, Mary Queen of Scots.

The Bedfords entertained Queen Elizabeth at Chenies in 1570 and at Woburn in 1572. As dowager Countess of Rutland and Bedford, she was a prominent social figure and an influential supporter of Puritan causes. She did not get along well with the Earl of Bedford’s children, but she arranged brilliant matches for her own daughters, marrying Elizabeth to her stepson, Lord Edward Russell.

In 1588, she took over the upbringing of one of her second husband’s grand-daughters, Lady Bridget Manners. She trained the girl, for whom Roger Manners secured a place as lady - in - waiting to the Queen the following year.

Bridget Hussey lived the last part of her life at Woburn. She died on a Sunday, 12 Jan 1600/1, “well at the sermon in the afternoon and dead that night”. She was buried at Watford, Herts; where, in the middle of the South chapel, is a monument with her effigies in her robes and coronet, a gentleman kneeling on each side, at her feet a rein-deer, and a cherry-tree below, and this inscription:

“The monument of the Lady BRIDGET,

Countess dowager of BEDFORD.

She was daughter to JOHN Lord HUSSEY:

And she was thrice married;

first, to sir RICHARD MORYSON, knt.


thirdly, to FRANCIS RUSSEL, Earl of BEDFORD:

and she had issue only by her first husband,

one son, sir CHARLES MORYSON, knt.

and two daughters, one named JANA SIBILLA,

married to EDWARD lord RUSSELL, eldest son

to her last husband the Earl of BEDFORD,

afterwards married to ARTHUR lord GREY of WILTON,

father to THOMAS lord GREY;

the other daughter, named ELIZABETH,

was first married to WILLIAM NORRYS, esq;

son and heir apparent to HENRY lord NORRYS,

and father to FRANCIS th now lord NORRYS;

at whose charge this monument was erected,

being her sole executor and nephew;

who married the lady BRIDGET VERE,

daughter to EDWARD Earl of OXFORD.

Afterwards ELIZABETH, the second daughter,

was married to HENRY CLINTON Earl of LINCOLN.

This noble countess of BEDFORD, living 75 years

In most honourable reputation, died most quietly,

Answerable to her life, in perfect sense and memory,

the 12th of Jan, 1600, in the 40th year

of our most gracious sovereign Queen ELIZABETH.”  

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