Sir Robert MARKHAM

Born: ABT 1563

Died: BEF 1616

Father: Robert MARKHAM (Sheriff of Nottingham)

Mother: Mary LEKE

Married 1: Anne WARBURTON (d. 17 Nov 1601) (daughter of John Warburton and Mary Brereton) AFT 23 Jan 1580

Children:

1. 

2. John MARKHAM

3. 

4. Robert MARKHAM (b. 1596 – d. 1627, Isle of Rhé)

5. Mary MARKHAM

6. Daniel MARKHAM

7. Alexander MARKHAM

Married 2: Winifred THOROLD (w. of Thomas Welcome) 1 Jun 1602, St Mary le Wigford, Lincolnshire, England

Children:

8. Phillip MARKHAM (b. 1603 - d. 1669)


Eldest son and heir of Robert Markham and Mary Leke, was born in 1563. He succeeded to estates impoverished by the unjust will of his great-grandfather, and the heavy expenses of his father. He completed the ruin. But he was a gallant youth, and shone at the Court of Queen Elizabeth. In a letter to Sir John Harrington, his friend Sir Robert Sidney wrote (1600):

'Her Highness hath done honour to my poor house by visiting me, and seemed much pleased at what we did to please her [...] The younger Markham did several gallant feats on a horse before the gate, leaping down and kissing his sword; then mounting swiftly into the saddle, and passed a lance with much skill. The day well nigh spent, the Queen went and tasted a small beverage which was set out in divers rooms where she might pass, and then in much order was attended to her palace, the cornets and trumpets sounding through the streets'

Robert served under the Earl of Essex, in Ireland, with his brothers Francis and Gervase. Sir John Harrington says in a letter to his confidential servant, Thomas Combe: 'Three sons of my cousin Robert Markham of Cotham, whom you know the world mistook to have been wronged by me and consequently deeply offended at me, have, in their several kinds and places, offered me such courtesies, kindnesses, nay, such services as if they held me for one of their best friends in Ireland'.

Sir Robert Markham was knighted, at the Charter House, by James I on 11 May 1603. Eventually he was quite ruined. Thoroton calls him 'a fatal unthrift and destroyer of this eminent family'. At his death all his estates had to be sold. Cotham had been the principal residence of the Markhams for six generations. East Markham, which had belonged to the family from time immemorial, was sold to Robert Williamson. Bottomsell and Elkesley went to Sir W. Swifte, Maplebeck to the Earl of Clare. Cotham now consists of two farms and a row of cottages, 1210 acres. The church is small and built of stone, without aisles. There are buttresses between the windows, which are in the Perpendicular style. The oak beams supporting the roof are handsome. Near the door there is a curiously carved niche for holy water. On the north wall near the altar rail there is a handsome mural tomb to the memory of:

'ANNE DR OF JOHN WARBURTON OF CHESHIRE
KNIGHT WIFE TO ROBERT MARKHAM OF COTHAM'

Sir Robert was twice married. His first wife was Anne, daughter of Sir John Warburton of Arley in Cheshire. She died on 17 Nov 1601, having been the mother of seven children.

His second wife was Winifred, daughter of Robert Thorold of Hough in Lincolnshire. The marriage took place only six months after Sir Robert had become a widower. Winifred, Lady Markham, was given to talking politics. In Jul 1618 she was accused by a certain Captain le Gris of having said it was a pity that the Gunpowder Plot did not succeed. He stated that the conversation took place in the house of Sir Drew Drury when he was on his death bed. Lady Drury deposed that Lady Markham and Captain le Gris had an argument about divorces, but both she and the servants denied the statements of le Gris respecting the Gunpowder Plot. Sir Robert was not quite forty at the time of his second marriage, but Winifred seems to have been a widow when she got into trouble in 1618. The Markham estates had to be sold on his death, to satisfy creditors.

John Markham, the eldest son of Sir Robert Markham and Anne Warburton, lost all his ancestral inheritance, and led the life of a courtier. He could not have been the John Markham, Serjeant-at-arms to James I, at whose death Lancaster Gibbons received the appointment in Nov 1610. John is believed to have died young and unmarried, after the year 1617.

Robert Markham, the second son of Sir Robert Markham by Anne Warburton, was a military officer serving under Vere, Borough, and Conway. In 1620 he was in the army of 2200 men under Sir Horace Vere, which James I sent to help his son-in-law, the Elector Palatine. After crossing the Rhine, the English contingent was ordered by Count Mansfelt to garrison the important towns of Heidelberg, Mannheim, and Frankenthal. Robert, serving under Sir John Borough (b. 1587 - d. 1627), was posted in the latter town. In Oct 1621 Frankenthal was besieged by a large force under Don Gonzalez de Cordova, and the valorous Englishmen withstood all the assaults of the Imperial and Bavarian troops for eighteen months. Sir John Borough only surrendered on 18 Apr 1623, owing to an order he received from James I. The survivors of the garrison returned to England.

Robert Markham's next service was as a lieutenant in the regiment of Colonel Conway, in the abortive expedition against Cadiz in 1625. When the Duke of Buckingham was fitting out the expedition against France, Sir John Borough took command of a regiment as Colonel. Remembering the gallantry of Robert at Frankenthal, he got him a captain's commission. The fleet sailed on 27 Jun 1627, and Buckingham attacked the island of Rhé. After sustaining heavy loss, Sir John Borough's regiment effected a landing. But, owing to Buckingham's incapacity, five days were then allowed to pass in inaction. Meanwhile the French General Thoyras provisioned the citadel. When the attack was at length made by the English troops they were repulsed with great slaughter. Sir John Borough was killed, and Captain Markham was severely wounded. In the following year, 1628, Robert Markham wrote an elegy, consisting of 80 stanzas, on the death of his beloved commander. The following lines describe Sir John Borough's qualities:

'Thy court was in the camp, thy dances were
Stout marches footed to a drummer's play.
'Twas not thy sport to chace a silly hare,
Stag, buck, fox, wild cat, or the limping gray
But armies, marquises, graves, counts, dukes, kings,
Archduchesses and such heroic things.

'Guns were thy horns, which sounded thy retreat
Of noble war (bright honour's truest chace)
Pikes tipped with death thy hunting poles, to beat
And rouse thy gaune (sport for a Jove born race)
Thy deep mouthed hounds a catt of canons were
Whose brazen mouths spewed thunder in the air.

'Thy judgment was so ripe that thou could'st tell
Without the calling of a warlike court
How many men would man that city wall
That counterscarp, redoubt, or little fort
For thy brain lay within a sconce of bone
In judgment stronger than a tower of stone'

Robert Markham's poem was sufficiently detailed to be described as a life in Bromley's catalogue. It appears to have been printed at the expense of his kinsmen, Sir Robert Markham of Sedgebrook. The date of Robert Markham's death has not yet been ascertained. There is no record of any marriage or children.

Phillip, the only child by Sir Robert Markham's second marriage with Winifred Thorold, died at Hough in 1669, when he must have been advanced in years. All his brothers died before him. The children of Sir Robert Markham, with their names, are recorded in the Herald's College. The effigies of the seven by the first wife are on her monument at Cotham.

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