New book explores life of Gorhambury's Lady Anne Bacon

The remains of Old Gorhambury House.

The remains of Old Gorhambury House. - Credit: SAHAAS

A new book exploring the remarkable life of a Tudor woman who played a major role in 16th century St Albans has been published this week.

Mistress of Gorhambury: Lady Anne Bacon, Tudor courtier and scholar by Deborah Spring has been released as the first in the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society's Concise Histories series.

Lady Anne Bacon was mistress of the estate of Gorhambury, St Albans, from 1561 until her death in 1610.

Educated, connected and astute, she lived through the upheavals and reverses of four Tudor reigns and served both Mary I and Elizabeth I at court, the latter as a leading lady-in-waiting.

Committed to religious reform, she was a translator of key works of the English Reformation, including Bishop John Jewel's 1564 work Apology for the Church of England , which was seen as a significant step in the intellectual justification of Protestantism in England.


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Her religious views remained strongly Puritan, and she called for the eradication of all Popery in the Church of England.

As a widow, she ran Gorhambury alone for 30 years and supported the radical puritan preachers of St Michael’s and Redbourn.

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Her opinion of the townsfolk of St Albans was typically forthright: "Tippling, taverning and drunken idleness and gaming... is almost this town’s profession."

Married to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Elizabeth I’s Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, she was the mother of Francis Bacon, statesman under James I and a leading English philosopher.

SAHAAS president, Dr John Morewood said: "I am delighted we are publishing this book by Deborah Spring in our new Concise Histories series. This series will present new research on the history of St Albans and its surrounding areas in a form that is professional, appealing, and a pleasure to read."

Formerly a publisher, Herts author Deborah Spring researches and writes about 16th century history and garden history.

St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society has a membership of over 600 and is joint publisher of the journal Hertfordshire Archaeology and History.

To purchase a copy of Mistress of Gorhambury for £6.50 plus postage and packing, visit www.stalbanshistory.org/store.

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