Elizabeth Richardson, 1st Lady Cramond
Born Elizabeth Beaumont, she was the eldest child of Sir Thomas Beaumont (brother of Huntingdon Beaumont) and his wife, Catherine. On 27 November 1594 she married John Ashburnham (knighted in 1604) at Stoughton, Leicestershire, and they had ten children including John Ashburnham (MP). Their daughter, Elizabeth, was the first wife of Frederick Cornwallis, 1st Baron Cornwallis.
Sir John's death in 1620 left the family in financial difficulty, but Lady Ashburnham was considerably influential at court due to Mary Villiers, Countess of Buckingham (mother of King James's favourite, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham) being her cousin. She procured a baronetcy for her son-in-law, Edward Dering, in 1627 and a letter to Buckingham, that year, indicates she enjoyed the company of his wife, Katherine, of Lady Carlisle and of Henrietta Maria of France.
On 14 December 1626 Lady Ashburnham married Sir Thomas Richardson (later Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales) at St Giles in the Fields. Through his influence, she was created Lady Cramond in the Peerage of Scotland, on 29 February 1628 (with a special remainder to her stepson, Thomas and the issue of his body), an event which elicited 'many gibes and pasquinades...for the amusement of Westminster Hall'. On 9 September 1629, she was granted an annual pension of £300 for the duration of her life.
In 1645, Lady Cramond's collection of prayers, A Ladies Legacie to her Daughters, was printed, the first and second of three parts having been written in 1625 and 1635 respectively. She had given a copy of the manuscript to her eldest daughter, Lady Cornwallis, in 1635, yet a manuscript headed Instructions for my children or any other Christian is dated 1606, indicating she had begun writing motherly advice many years previous.
She was the grandmother Charles Cornwallis, 2nd Baron Cornwallis; the great-grandmother of Charles Cornwallis, 3rd Baron Cornwallis; the great-great-grandmother of Charles Cornwallis, 4th Baron Cornwallis; the 3rd great-grandmother of Charles, Edward, and Frederick Cornwallis; the 4th great-grandmother of Charles, William, and James Cornwallis; the 5th great-grandmother of Charles Cornwallis; the 6th great-grandmother of James Mann; the 7th great-grandmother of Fiennes Cornwallis; the 8th great-grandmother of Fiennes Cornwallis, 1st Baron Cornwallis; the 9th great-grandmother of Wykeham Cornwallis, 2nd Baron Cornwallis; and the 10th great-grandmother of Fiennes Cornwallis, 3rd Baron Cornwallis.
Notes and references
- George Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, 1887–98
- Monument, St Botolph church, Aldersgate, London
- Parish register, Stoughton, Leicestershire
- Court of Chancery, Privy Seals, 1627, Public Record Office
- Calendar of state papers, domestic series, 1627-8
- John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell, The lives of the chief justices of England, 3rd edition, 4 volumes, 1874
- Patent rolls, 1629, Public Record Office
- E. Richardson, A ladies legacie to her daughters, 1645
- F. W. Steer, The Ashburnham archives: a catalogue, 1958
- Folger Shakespeare Library, manuscript V.a.511
- Parish register, St Andrew's church, Holborn, London
- Victoria E. Burke, Richardson , Elizabeth, suo jure baroness of [sic] Cramond (1576/7–1651), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 18 November 2007
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