Sir Henry SIDNEY, Knight

Born: 20 Jul 1529, London, Middlesex, England

Died: 5 May 1586, Ludlow, Shropshire, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: William SIDNEY (Sir Knight)

Mother: Anne PACKENHAM

Married: Mary DUDLEY 1553


1. Phillip SIDNEY (Sir Knight)

2. Margaret SIDNEY (b. 1556 - d. 1558)

3. Elizabeth SIDNEY (b. 1560 - d. 1567)

4. Mary SIDNEY (C. Pembroke)

5. Robert SIDNEY (1 E. Leicester)

6. Ambrosia SIDNEY (b. 1564 - d. 1574?)

7. Thomas SIDNEY

Sir William Sidney (1482 - 1554) was a courtier to King Henry VIII and tutor (and later steward) to his son Edward. In 1552 - one year before his death, aged just 16 - Edward VI granted Penshurst to Sir William. Sidney, now aged 70, had little time to enjoy Penshurst though and his son, Henry, inherited the property on his death just two years later.

Sidney,Henry(Sir)02.jpg (8522 bytes)

Sir Henry Sidney

Sidney,Henry(Sir)01.jpg (9249 bytes)

Dudley,Mary01.jpg (105098 bytes)

Lady Mary Dudley Sidney

Henry had spent his early life at court as the companion of the the young prince Edward. Knighted 1550. In 1553 Henry married Lady Mary Dudley, sister to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Lord Guildford Dudley. Guildford was married to the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey, grand-daughter to Henry VII who had been named by Edward VI (under pressure from John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland - Henry Sidney's father-in law) as his successor. Edward VI died Thurday 6 Jul 1553, Greenwich Palace, London, age 15. He is said to have died in the arms of his friend Sir Henry (age 23). Sir Henry witnessed his will. His wife brought the news of Edward VI's death to her sister-in-law, Jane Grey on Sunday 9 Jul, and took her with her to Syon House, she was proclaimed Queen the following day. Sir Henry took little part in it, being still in mourning for his friend Edward VI. He deserted their cause early. Lady Jane reluctantly became Queen but after only nine days the Lord Mayor of London announced that Henry VIII's eldest daughter, Mary, was rightfully Queen. Lady Jane Grey and many of her supporters - including her husband and father-in-law - were executed. Her brothers-in-law Ambrose and Robert were confined to the Tower of London but Henry Sidney and his wife escaped any implications (though he sheltered the Dudleys at Penshurst AFT their fall).

Phillip, his first son born in 1555, was blessed with Felipe of Spain, John Russell; Earl of Bedford and Jane, Duchess of Northumberland as godparents.

During the realm of Elizabeth I Henry was appointed Lord President of Wales and later vice-treasurer of Ireland. He was also cup-bearer to the Queen. As Vice-treasurer of Ireland 1556-9, took the young Hugh O'Neill (the future rebel) to England 1559, K.G. 1564. Henry became Lord Deputy (governor) of Ireland 1565-71, his reports on Ireland are an important source.

His brothers-in-law Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex and Sir William Fitzwilliam were Lord Deputy etc. at similar time.

He began imposing English law and customs on the Irish. He faced several rebellions and managed to persuade several powerful clan chiefs to submit to Elizabeth's authority but resigned in 1571 resenting the Queens failure to support him.

Although restored as Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1575 his taxation policies were not popular and he was recalled in 1578. He served as president of the council of Wales and of the Marches.

Henry had little financial reward for his services. He even turned down a baroncy feeling that he was unable to support the position. Despite this he added apartments and the King's tower to Penshurst.

Died 5th May 1586, Ludlow, Shropshire, age 56 yrs. Lady Mary died the same year.

Grave of Sir William Sidney, Penshurst chapel.

Grave of Margaret Sidney, Penshurst chapel

to Bios Page

to Family Page

to Peerage Page to Home Page