Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,

Home      Blog      Surnames      Ancestors      Contact

€1,000 competition      Things to do



Our common ancestors - Sidney - Contents

Sir Henry Sidney

Sir Henry Sidney, 1573.
From NPG. See terms of use.

Sir Henry Sidney, K.G. (see here and here),
born 20th July 1529, London.
He was friend of the young Edward VI (born 1537, reigned 1547-53).
Knighted 1550.

He mar 1553 to Lady Mary Dudley [descendant of Edward I].
Her father Northumberland was the main figure behind the plan to make Lady Jane Grey Queen after Edward VI.
Edward VI died Thur 6th July 1553, Greenwich Palace, London, age 15. He is said to have died in the arms of his friend Sir Henry Sidney (age 23). Sir Henry witnessed his will.
Lady Mary Dudley brought the news of Edward VI's death to her sister-in-law Lady Jane Grey on Sun 9th July, and took her with her to Syon House. Lady Jane was proclaimed Queen on Mon 10th July.
Sir Henry took little part in it, being still in mourning for his friend Edward VI. He deserted their cause early (though he sheltered the Dudleys at Penshurst after their fall).
Lady Mary's father was executed 1553 and her brother 1554.

Sir Henry inherited Penshurst Place 1554.
Vice-treasurer of Ireland 1556-59:
He was Vice-treasurer of Ireland 1556-59 (under Queen Mary, despite his involvement with Lady Jane Grey).
He took the young Hugh O'Neill (the future rebel) to England 1559.
K.G. 1564.

Lord Deputy of Ireland 1565-71:
He was Lord Deputy of Ireland 1565-71 (under Elizabeth I).
Roy Foster in [Modern Ireland 1600-1972, 1988] describes him as: "By far the ablest of Elizabeth's able band of Irish governors."
He pioneered the first deliberate attempts at colonisation in the 1560s.
He established the boundaries of Co.Roscommon and Co.Clare 1565.
Carried out major rebuild of Dublin Castle 1565-78.
His wife Lady Mary was with him in Ireland. There was an incident when Drogheda, where Sir Henry had left his wife in his absence, was being threatened by the Ulster tribes. William Sarsfield, of Lucan Castle, Co.Dublin, came and relieved the town. Sir Henry knighted Sarsfield in 1566 "for having rescued Lady Sidney from the Irish".

Sir Henry re-built the Nave of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, after it had collapsed in 1562.
He restored Strongbow's tomb in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, in 1570. His name is on the plaque to Strongbow.
The rebellious Connor O'Brien, 3rd Earl of Thomond surrendered to him in Dublin in Dec 1570.
He entertained Elizabeth I at his property at Otford, Kent, in 1573.

Lord Deputy of Ireland 1575-78:
He was Lord Deputy of Ireland again in 1575-78.
His reports on Ireland are an important source.
Rory Og O'More of Leix was forced to submit to him at Kilkenny Cathedral 1575, and was later killed 1578.
He met his son Philip Sidney at Kilcullen, Co.Kildare, on 10 Aug 1576.
His arms were erected at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, in 1577.
See The Image of Ireland (1581), an illustrated book about his campaign against Rory Og O'More.

He declined a Barony.
At Penshurst he laid out the main (flat, open) Italian Garden in 1580s.
He died 5th May 1586, Ludlow, Shropshire, age 56 yrs.
Lady Mary died 1586.
Sir Henry and Lady Mary had issue:

  1. Sir Philip Sidney,
    the soldier, statesman, courtier and poet,
    born Penshurst, 29th Nov 1554.

  2. Margaret Sidney,
    born c.July 1556,
    died 7th Apr 1558, age 1 ¾ [grave, Penshurst chapel].

  3. Lady Mary Sidney,
    the poet and translator,
    born 27th Oct 1561, Ticknall Place, Bewdley, Worcestershire.

  4. Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, born 1563.

  5. Thomas Sidney

Sir Henry Sidney, late 16th century.
From NPG. See terms of use.

Lady Mary Dudley.
From Tudor Place.

Lady Mary Dudley. Sketch of above.
From NPG. See terms of use.

Arms of Sir Henry Sidney.
Over the gatehouse of Ludlow Castle, Shropshire.
Note motto "Quo Fata Vocant" ("Wherever the Fates Call (I Go)").
From here.

Sir Henry Sidney arms, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

Sir Henry Sidney arms, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Sidney paid for re-building at the cathedral and his arms were erected in 1577 over the entrance to the N choir aisle.
The arms are now on the wall of the N Transept.
See p.12 of [Finlayson, 1878].

The arms of Sir Henry Sidney, N Transept, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Note "H.S." and date 1577 and motto "Quo Fata Vocant" ("Wherever the Fates Call (I Go)").
Photo 2016. See larger and full size.
See notice and wider shot.

Sir Henry Sidney is also mentioned on the plaque at Strongbow's tomb in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
The Strongbow plaque inscription says that the Strongbow tomb was destroyed in 1562 and the new Strongbow monument was erected by "The Right Honorable Sr Henry Sydney, Knyght of the Noble Order" in 1570.
Photo 2016. See wide shot.

Sir Henry Sidney is also mentioned on the memorial to his Secretary Francis Agard in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Inscription refers to Agard's friend, the Lord Deputy "Henricus Sidneius".
Photo 2016. See wide shot.

Grave of Margaret Sidney, Penshurst chapel

Grave of Margaret Sidney (who died as a child 1558), Penshurst chapel.
Photo 1998.
See larger and full size.

Detail of above.
See larger and full size.

Wider shot of above.
Photo 2007. See full size.
From jmc4 on Flickr. Used with permission.

The Image of Ireland (1581)


Feedback form

Long version of this form.

Email me.

Upload additions and corrections to this site:
Upload a file (e.g. a picture):
Your email address:
Enter this password:

Donation Drive: Please donate to support this site.
I have spent a great deal of time and money on this research. Research involves travel and many expenses.
Some research "things to do" are not done for years, because I do not have the money to do them.
Please Donate Here to support the ongoing research and to keep this website free.

Help      How to read the trees      Conventions      Abbreviations

Privacy policy      Adoption policy      Image re-use policy