Mary Scudamore

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File:Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger Lady Scudamore.png
Portrait thought to be Mary Scudamore by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, dated 1601.

Mary Scudamore (née Shelton) (c. 1550 – 1603) was a courtier and the daughter of Sir John Shelton of Shelton Hall, Norfolk and his wife, Margaret Parker. She was one of only six women who were appointed to the Privy chamber of Elizabeth I. When her close friend, Lady Dorothy Stafford, was ill, it was Mary Scudamore who was the Queen's sleeping companion.[1]

Her family reached the zenith of their influence during the reign of Henry VIII, when Mary's grandparents, Sir John Shelton and Anne Boleyn were entrusted with the custody of the future Mary I and Elizabeth I. This was partly as Anne was the aunt of Queen Anne Boleyn and Mary's aunt, poet Mary Shelton, was the King's mistress.[2] She married a gentleman usher, Sir John Scudamore.

When she married Scudamore, of Holme Lacy, Herefordshire, it was done secretly, but was revealed in early 1574. Elizabeth I was apparently extremely angry that this had been done without her consent, and allegedly attacked Mary, breaking her finger.[3]


  1. Scidmore, Warren. "Elizabeth Skydmore who died in 1614, a spinster of Marlwood Park in Thornbury, Cloucestershire". Occasional Papers, No. 35.
  2. p.120-128, The Mistresses of Henry VIII by Kelly Hart
  3. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Simon Adams, ‘Scudamore, Mary, Lady Scudamore (c.1550–1603)'

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