Frances Newton, Baroness Cobham

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Frances Newton
File:Frances Newton Lady Cobham.jpg
Frances Newton taken from a portrait of the Brooke family by the Master of the Countess of Warwick in 1567
Spouse(s) William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham
Maximilian Brooke
Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham
SirWilliam Brooke
George Brooke
Elizabeth Brooke
Frances Brooke
Margaret Brooke
Father Sir John Newton
Mother Margaret Poyntz
Born 1539
Died 17 October 1592

Frances Newton, Lady Cobham (1539 – 17 October 1592) was an English aristocratic woman who served Queen Elizabeth I of England as a Lady of the Bedchamber, and was one of her closest female friends.[1] She was the second wife of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham.


Frances was born in 1539, one of the 19 children of Sir John Newton, Knight, of Barr's Court, Gloucestershire and East Harptree, Somerset, who lived in Gloucestershire and died before November 1568 with will probated on 17 November. Her mother was Margaret Poyntz, a daughter of Sir Anthony Poyntz and Elizabeth Huddersfield. Sir John Newton's surname was originally Cradock and he was of Welsh origin.


Frances entered the service of Elizabeth Tudor before 1558, and following the latter's accession to the English throne as Queen Elizabeth I, she continued in her service, becoming one of her Ladies of the Bedchamber.[2] Later in Elizabeth's reign, Frances's sister, Katherine also entered the Queen's service.[3]

Marriage and issue

On 25 February 1560 at Westminster Palace, Westminster, London,[4] Frances married William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham, whose first wife, Dorothy Neville (d.1559), the daughter of George Nevill, 5th Baron Bergavenny by his third wife, Mary Stafford, had died, leaving him a daughter, Frances Brooke, who married firstly Thomas Coppinger (1546-1580), and secondly Edward Becher.[5][6]

Upon her marriage, Frances Newton was styled Lady Cobham as her husband had succeeded to the title of Baron Cobham two years previously.

They made their home at the Brooke family seat, Cobham Hall in Kent, where Queen Elizabeth paid them a visit on 17 July 1560 during her summer progress,[7] and many years later on 4 September 1573.[8] Frances was one of the Queen's closest female friends, and Frances preferred to remain at court; however, she returned to Cobham Hall to give birth to her children.[9]

Together William Brooke and Frances had seven children:

  • Maximilian Brooke (4 December 1560 – July 1583),[10] eldest son and heir, who died without issue.[11]
  • Margaret Brooke (2 June 1563 – 1621),[15] who in 1584 married, as his second wife, Sir Thomas Sondes (1544–1593) of Throwley, Kent, by whom she had a daughter, Frances Sondes (1592–c.1634), who married Sir John Leveson (d.1613).
  • Sir William Brooke (11 December 1565 – 1597)[17]
  • Sir George Brooke (17 April 1568 – 5 December 1603),[18][19] who married Elizabeth Burgh (died c. 1637), the eldest daughter and coheir of Thomas Burgh, 3rd Baron Burgh (d. 14 October 1597),[20] by whom he had a son, William (1601–1643), and two daughters, Elizabeth and Frances. He was executed for high treason against King James I. After his death his widow married Francis Reade.[11]
File:Cobham family.jpg
Cobham family memorial portrait which shows Frances Newton seated on the far left


Lady Cobham died on 17 October 1592 at Cobham Hall, Cobham, Kent, and was buried in the Cobham Parish Church.

In art

In 1567 Lady Cobham was painted with her husband, children and deceased sister-in-law Elizabeth Brooke in a Cobham family memorial portrait by the Master of the Countess of Warwick.[21]


  1. Kathy Lynn Emerson, A Who's Who of Tudor Women, retrieved on 19-01-10
  2. Emerson
  3. Emerson
  5. Richardson I 2011, p. 170.
  6. McKeen 1986, p. 700.
  7. Emerson
  8. Emerson
  9. Emerson
  10. McKeen 1986, pp. 148, 430-1.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 McKeen 1986, pp. 700-2.
  12. McKeen 1986, pp. 151, 666.
  13. McKeen 1986, p. 151.
  14. McKeen 1986, pp. 420-1.
  15. McKeen 1986, pp. 151, 700-2.
  16. Nicholls 2004.
  17. McKeen 1986, pp. 161, 700-2.
  18. McKeen 1986, p. 162.
  19. Nicholls 2008.
  20. Cokayne 1912, p. 424.
  21. Stighelen 1999.


  • Cokayne, George Edward (1910). The Complete Peerage, edited by Vicary Gibbs. I. London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 30–2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1912). The Complete Peerage, edited by Vicary Gibbs. II. London: St. Catherine Press. p. 424.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • McKeen, David (1986). A Memory of Honour; The Life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham. I. Salzburg: Universitat Salzburg. p. 700.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Nicholls, Mark (2008). "Brooke, George (1568–1603)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3541.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Nicholls, Mark (2004). "Brooke, Henry, eleventh Baron Cobham (1564–1619)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3543.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966373.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Stighelen, Katilijne (1999). "New Discoveries Concerning the Portrait of the Family of William Brooke, 10th Lord Cobham, at Longleat House". Dutch Crossings: Journal of Low Country Studies. London: UCL. 23 (1).CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>