Elizabeth Carey, Lady Berkeley

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Elizabeth, Lady Berkeley (née Carey; 24 May 1576 – 23 April 1635), was an English courtier and arts patroness, the only child of George Carey, 2nd Baron Hunsdon, and Elizabeth Spencer.

She was the dedicatee of Thomas Nashe's 1593 Christ's Teares Over Jerusalem; Nashe also dedicated his Terrors of the Night to her in the following year (1594).[1] She translated two of Petrarch's sonnets into English in 1594.[2] Her wedding to Sir Thomas Berkeley on 19 February 1596, probably in Blackfriars, London, when she was nineteen years old, was one of the occasions that has been suggested that Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream was performed for the first time in public.[1] It has also been suggested that Elizabeth served as the model for "Lady Rimellaine" in Peter Erondell's book of manners The French Garden, written in 1605.[1] On 5 January 1606, at the wedding festivities of the Earl of Essex and Lady Frances Howard, Elizabeth was one of the female dancers representing the "Powers of Juno" in Ben Jonson's masque Hymenaei; there is an extant portrait of Elizabeth dressed in her masque costume.

She bore her husband a son and a daughter:

When her husband died in 1611, she paid off all his debts.[1] In 1618 she bought the estate of Cranford, Middlesex for the sum of £7,000 from the co-heirs of Sir Richard Aston.[3] In February 1622, she remarried Sir Thomas Chamberland (or Chamberlain), a Justice of the King's Bench. When he died on 17 September 1625, her second husband bequeathed a generous £10,000 to her son from her first marriage.[1]

She died on 23 April 1635 and was buried on 25 April in Cranford parish church.[1] Her white marble effigy is attributed to Nicholas Stone.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kathy Lynn Emerson, A Who's Who of Tudor Women, retrieved 12 October 2010
  2. ^ Katherine Duncan-Jones, "Bess Carey's Petrarch: newly discovered Elizabethan sonnets", Review of English Studies, n.s. vol. 50 (1999), pp. 304-19.
  3. ^ http://www.thePeerage.com, retrieved 12-10-10
  4. ^ Victoria History of the County of Middlesex, vol. 3, p. 185.