Eleanor Paston, Countess of Rutland

Tomb effigy of the Countess of Rutland

Eleanor Manners, Countess of Rutland (née Paston; c. 1495 - 1551), was lady-in-waiting to four wives of King Henry VIII of England: Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard.


The daughter of Sir William Paston and Bridget Heydon, she married Thomas Manners, 12th Baron de Ros, by 1523, and became known as Countess of Rutland when he was elevated to the earldom few years later. The first of the couple's eleven or more children, a daughter named Anne, was born the same year or soon thereafter. Lady Rutland's continuous pregnancies did not hinder her career at court and she continued bearing children until 1539, the last child, a daughter named Katherine, being born weeks after the wedding of another daughter, Gertrude. Katherine was named in honour of the Duchess of Suffolk, whom Lady Rutland admired.[1][2]

Life at court

Anne of Cleves, one of Lady Rutland's mistresses

Lady Rutland's earliest recorded appearance at court was at the investiture of Anne Boleyn with the Marquessate of Pembroke in 1532. The next month, Lady Rutland and her husband accompanied Henry VIII and Anne to Calais, where the latter was to be introduced to King Francis I of France.[1] Despite their support for Henry's reform, Lord and Lady Rutland remained conservative Catholics. It is likely that she became Anne Boleyn's lady-in-waiting after she married Henry, a position she held under the next three queens - Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard.[2] She was a senior lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves, the King's fourth wife, and knew that the marriage was unconsummated. In February 1540, Anne praised the King as a kind husband, saying to Lady Rutland: "When he comes to bed he kisseth me, and he taketh me by the hand, and biddeth me 'Good night, sweetheart'; and in the morning kisseth me and biddeth 'Farewell, darling'." Lady Rutland responded: "Madam, there must be more than this, or it will be long ere we have a duke of York, which all this realm most desireth."[3]


Lady Rutland remained in close contact with her father after her marriage. He comforted her in 1543 when Lord Rutland died and helped her probate and perform his will.[2] Upon her death in 1550, Lady Rutland was buried in St Mary the Virgin's Church, Bottesford.



  1. 1 2 Franklin Harkrider, Melissa (2008). Women, Reform and Community in Early Modern England: Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk, and Lincolnshire's Godly Aristocracy, 1519-1580. Boydell Press. ISBN 1843833654.
  2. 1 2 3 Harris, Barbara J. (2002). English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 : Marriage and Family, Property and Careers: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198034490.
  3. Weir, Allison (2000). The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Grove Press. ISBN 0802136834.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 6/11/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.