Earl Ferdinado, 1593-1594


Arms of Ferdinando, 5th Earl of DerbyQuoting from Aspen (based on Seacombe):

Ferdinando was " of an exalted genius as well as birth," and during the absence of his father on State business, discharged the duties, of the Lieutenancies of Lancashire and Cheshire with great credit and ability,. When Lord Strange, he married (1579) Alice, the youngest daughter of Sir John Spencer, of Althorpe. He was himself a poet and author, and enjoyed the society of the eminent men of letters who have made the reign of Elizibeth famous. Spencer, the poet, personified Ferdindando as "Amyntas," and his Countess as "Amaryllis." In 1610, a collection of English poems, entitled "Belvedere; or the Garden of the Muses" was published, and Ferdinando's were included in that work, but none of the poems bear the signature of the noble lord, and the identity is to a great extent a matter of conjecture. The death of this earl was a most mysterious one. A number of rebels, who had fled to foreign countries, sent over a man named Richard Hackett to urge Earl Ferdinando to set up a claim to the crown of England by right of his descent from Mary, the second daughter of Henry VII., and younger Sister to Henry VIII., at that time Queen Dowager of France, threatening that unless he undertook the project, and conceal the messengers and instigators of it, he should shortly die in a most wretched manner ; but if he complied, he might be assured of powerful assistance. Ferdinando rejected the proposition with scorn and indignation but four months afterwards he was seized with a feariful illness and died in great agony. There was no doubt he had been poisoned and his gentleman of horse was greatly suspected of administering it, for on the same day that the earl was attacked, he fled on one of the best horses, and was never heard of again. Ferdinando left three daughters, but no sons, and the earldom naturally devolved upon his brother William.

Portrait of Ferdinando Stanley
The 'Portrait' is taken from The Stanley Papers [Pt II ed Rev F.R. Raines vol 31 Chetham Soc. 1853] - titled Ferdinando, Earl of Derby Æ [age] 35 AD 1594 and based on portrait in possession of family of William Ffarington Comptroller at the period.


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