Lucy Walter

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Described as the “The Rhosmarket Siren” in “Rosemarket - A Village beyond Wales,” a lecture by Geoffrey Nicholle who suggests that she was born at the Big House, Rosemarket.

Lucy was "wife or mistress" to Charles II, mother of the Duke of Monmouth, great grand­daughter of Morris Walter and an ancestor of the late Princess of Wales [Diana]. He says Richard Fenton and all other established sources of Pembrokeshire history give Rosemarket as Lucy's birthplace. More recently Roch Castle has been suggested, possibly because of its more romantic appeal to lady novelists. The Walter family owned both properties, but the Roch claim does not appear to be based upon any fresh evidence. He gives a typical Pembrokeshire accepted view of Lucy Walter.

In the History of Haverfordwest - John Brown writes "It is an historical question of unreal doubt" (I am quoting the words of a gentleman who devoted a considerable amount of research to the matter) "whether Lucy Walters was lawfully wedded to Charles II. There were some very singular circumstances connected with Court intrigues which favour the supposition. That Charles, when questioned on the subject, gravely denied it, is true; but His Majesty was not distinguished by a very strict regard to truth. It is matter of fact that the reigning house had lasting and grave doubts upon the subject. It is further recorded that Katharine of Portugal, the wife of Charles, had a firm conviction of the legitimacy of the unhappy Monmouth, and earnestly interceded with James II. for his life. There is another very remarkable circumstance connected with the affair. Some time antecedent to the middle of the 18th century, under high warrant from the Home Office, the marriage register of the Parish of St Thomas, Haverfordwest, where the family of the Walters resided for some time, was sent for to headquarters. No reason was assigned for the requirement by those who applied for these documents, but it was afterwards asserted, and with considerable confidence, by some who were likely to be well informed on the matter, that the register contained a record of a marriage which was solemnised a century before, which, if it had been proved, would have been of some consequence as regards the succession of the House of Brunswick. It is now, of course, only a romance of history, but the register was never returned!"

In her book “South Pembrokeshire” - another local author Mary Mirehouse refers to Lucy Walters, daughter of Richard Walters of Treffgarn and Roch, - no mention of Rosemarket but says she became the mistress (some say the wife) of Charles II. She was then eighteen.

There seems to be in my mind strong doubt as to where Lucy Walters was born but all agree she became the mistress or wife of the future Charles II. But how did a girl of respectable family in Pembrokeshire get to meet the future Charles II?

Again confusion....

Mary Mirehouse says “In 1645, John Barlow of Slebech was taken prisoner in Pill Fort, near Milford Haven, by the Parliamentarians. Later, John Barlow accompanied the Marquis of Worcester to the Court of the exiled Charles II in Paris, and with him went his young kinswoman, Lucy Walters, daughter of Richard Walters of Treffgarn and Roch, who assumed, on arrival in Paris, the name of Barlow” That she did use the name Barlow is an established fact.

Geoffrey Nicholle suggests that, “Lucy's aunt, Margaret Gosfright, who after the Restoration took possession of some of the Walter land at Rosemarket, took her to Holland. Lucy's parents had separated and her aunt was married to a Dutchman. Whether Lucy and Charles met first in Holland or before is uncertain”.

So many conflicting stories........

According to notes in The Diary of Samuel Pepys for October 1662.

At that time there was speculation that young Croft is the lawful son of the King , the King being married to his mother , so even at that period of time there was suspicions as to the legitimacy of the future Duke of Monmouth.

James, the son of Charles II. by Lucy Walter, daughter of William Walter, of Roch Castle, was born April 9th, 1649, and landed in England with the Queen-Mother, July 28th, 1662, when he bore the name of Crofts, after Lord Crofts, his governor. He was created Duke of Monmouth, February 14th, 1663, and married Lady Anne Scott, daughter and heiress of Francis, second Earl of Buccleuch, on April 20th following. In 1673 he took the name of Scott, and was created Duke of Buccleuch.

Then there is a footnote saying that “There has been much confusion as to the name and parentage of Charles's mistress. Lucy Walter was the daughter of William Walter of Roch Castle, co. Pembroke,….. Roch Castle was taken and burnt by the Parliamentary forces in 1644, and Lucy was in London in 1648, where she, at the age of seventeen was the mistress of Algernon Sidney, a Roundhead officer. In September of that year [in the] Netherlands she met his younger brother, a Royalist exile, Robert Sidney, and this same year she was taken up by Charles, Prince of Wales.

A son was born in April 1649 called James whom Charles acknowledged as his. Although as the relationship had been off and on during the period there could have been some doubts. Certainly there was over the daughter Mary born in 1651 as she had relationships with two other members of the Court at that time. Charles terminated his connection with her on October 30th, 1651. The Queen-Dowager taking charge of her two children.

In 1655 Lucy was pensioned off with an annuity of £400.

In 1656, the year her father, Richard Walters, was High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, Lucy came to London, where she was arrested as a spy and put in the Tower. She was soon afterwards released, and eventually went entirely to ruin abroad.

She died in Paris 1658 as appears by a document (administration entry in the Register of the Prerogative Court) aged about 28.

William Erskine, who had served Charles as cupbearer in his wanderings, and was appointed Master of the Charterhouse in December, 1677, had the care of Lucy Walter, and buried her in Paris. He declared that the king never had any intention of marrying her, and she did not deserve it. Thomas Ross, the tutor of her son, put the idea of this claim into the son’s head, and asked Dr. Cosin to certify to a marriage. In consequence of this he was removed from his office, and Lord Crofts took his place. (Steinman's “Althorp Memoirs”).

As Pepys said – “How true this is, God knows - I certainly don’t as there are so many conflicting records”.

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