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Encyclopedia > Nell Gwynne

Nell Gwyn (or Gwynn or Gwynne), was born Eleanor Gwynne, (February 1650 - 14 November 1687), the most famous of the many mistresses of King Charles II, was called "pretty, witty Nell" by Samuel Pepys. February is the second month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... // Events June 23 - Claimant King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland arrives in Scotland, the only of the three Kingdoms that has accepted him as ruler. ... November 14 is the 318th day of the year (319th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 47 days remaining. ... Events March 19 - The men under explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle murder him while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River. ... Charles II (29 May 1630–6 February 1685) was the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 30 January 1649 (de jure) or 29 May 1660 (de facto) until his death. ... Samuel Pepys Samuel Pepys (23 February 1633 - 26 May 1703) was a leading 17th century English civil servant, latterly famous for his diary. ...

Nell Gwynn was one of the first actresses and the mistress of Charles II.
Nell Gwynn was one of the first actresses and the mistress of Charles II.

The daughter of Thomas Gywnne and his wife Rose, Nell Gwyn was probably born in an alley near Covent Garden (though sometimes said to have been born in Hereford or Oxford) and never learned to read or write. Her mother ran a bawdyhouse, where Nell grew up. (Her mother died because she passed out from too much brandy and drowned in a brook.) Nell Gwyn by Peter Lely. ... Nell Gwyn by Peter Lely. ... Covent Garden is a shopping and entertainment complex in central London. ... Location within the British Isles Hereford (Welsh: Henffordd (pronounced Henfuth)) is an historic city in the west of England, close to the border with Wales and on the River Wye. ... Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... Brandy pot stills at the Van Ryn Brandy Cellar near Stellenbosch, South Africa For the singer and actress, see Brandy Norwood. ...


Having first made a living selling oranges in the pit of a London theatre, where she also may have acted as pimp, procuring actresses for the men in the audience, she herself became an actress (not at that time a respectable profession) when she was fifteen. She was taught her craft by one of the fine male actors of the time, Charles Hart, and learned dancing from another, John Lacy; both were her lovers. As an actress, she had enormous success in partnership with Hart; they were admired by theatre goers, including Samuel Pepys, especially in 'Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen', in which they made a sensation (the part of Florimell was written for her, and portrays her faithfully). When she was 19 she became the king's mistress, having previously been the mistress of Lord Buckhurst and of Sir Charles Sedley. Though often caricatured as an empty-headed woman, Dryden said that her greatest attribute was her native wit, and she certainly became a hostess who was able to keep the friendship of Dryden, the playwright Aphra Behn, the Duke of Marlborough (another lover), John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester and the king's other mistresses, who included her fellow-actress Mary 'Moll' Davis (she is said to have slipped a diuretic into Moll's drink on an evening when she was expected in the king's bed). Orange refers to a citrus tree (Citrus sinensis) and the fruits of this tree. ... Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset (24 January 1638- 29 January 1706) was an English poet and courtier, son of Richard Sackville, 5th Earl of Dorset (1622_1677). ... There are several people and places named Dryden. ... A sketch of Aphra Behn by George Scharf from a portrait believed to be lost. ... John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (April 1, 1647 - July 26, 1680) was an English nobleman, a friend of King Charles II of England, and the writer of much satirical and bawdy poetry. ... A diuretic is any drug that tends to increase the flow of urine from the body (diuresis). ...


Nell is especially remembered for one particularly apt witticism, which was recounted in the memoirs of the Comte de Gramont, remembering the events of 1681: Events March 4 - Charles II of England grants a land charter to William Penn for the area that will later become Pennsylvania. ...

"Nell Gwynn was one day passing through the streets of Oxford, in her coach, when the mob mistaking her for her rival, the Duchess of Portsmouth, commenced hooting and loading her with every opprobrious epithet. Putting her head out of the coach window, 'Good people,' she said, smiling, 'you are mistaken; I am the Protestant whore.'"

This appeal to British bigotry made her immensely popular. The particular Catholic whore (of the moment) was the Frenchwoman Louise de K√©rouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth. Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... Portrait of Louise de Kérouaille by Pierre Mignard Louise Renée de Penancoët de Kérouaille (1649 – 14 November 1734), was mistress of Charles II of England and Duchess of Portsmouth. ...


Nell is also famous for another remark made to her coachman, who was fighting with another man who had called her a whore. She broke up the fight, saying, "I am a whore. Find something else to fight about."


By Charles, Nell had two sons, Charles Beauclerk (1670-1726) and James Beauclerk (1671-1680). Charles was the first Earl of Burford, later Duke of St. Albans. There are two variations about the former of how he was given the Earldom of Burford, both of which are unverifiable. Charles Beauclerk (May 8, 1670 - May 10, 1726), was an illegitimate son of King Charles II of England by his mistress Nell Gwynne. ... Arms of the Duke of St Albans since 1696 The title Duke of St Albans was created in 1684 for Charles Beauclerk when he was fourteen years old. ... The title Duke of St Albans was created in 1684 for Charles Beauclerk when he was fourteen years old. ...


The first (and most popular) is that when Charles was six years old, on the arrival of the King, Nell said, "Come here, you little bastard, and say hello to your father." When the King protested her calling Charles that, she replied, "Your Majesty has given me no other name by which to call him." In response, Charles made him the Earl of Burford, and later Duke of St. Albans.


Another is that Nell grabbed Charles and hung him out of a window (or over a river) and threatened to drop him unless Charles was granted a peerage. The King cried out "God save the Earl of Burford!" and subsequently officially created the peerage, saving his son's life.


Nell was the only one of Charles II's many mistresses to be genuinely popular with the English public. It is thought to have been Nell who persuaded the king to build the Royal Hospital, Chelsea in London for ex-servicemen. Nell, however, accumulated enormous debts. Figure Court of Royal Hospital Chelsea The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers who are unfit for further duty due to injury or old age, located in the Chelsea region of central London. ... The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, which contains Big Ben London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ...


James II, obeying his brother's deathbed wish, "Let not poor Nelly starve," paid most of them off and gave her a pension of 1500 pounds a year, a huge sum in 1685. King James VII and II ( 14 October 1633–16 September 1701 ) became King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 6 February 1685. ... Events February 6 - James Stuart, Duke of York becomes King James II of England and Ireland and King James VII of Scotland. ...


She died, two years later, of apoplexy, aged 37, at 79 Pall Mall, in London. Apoplexy is an old-fashioned medical term, generally used interchangeably with cerebrovascular accident (CVA or stroke) but having other meanings as well. ... Pall Mall is a street in the City of Westminster, London. ... The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, which contains Big Ben London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ...


She was buried in the Church of St Martin's in the Fields, at the corner of Trafalgar Square, London, after a funeral in which Thomas Tenison, the Archbishop of Canterbury, preached a sermon on the text of Luke 15:7 "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." St Martin-in-the-Fields is a Church of England church just northeast of Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, London. ... Trafalgar Square is a square in central London that commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars. ... The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, which contains Big Ben London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ... Thomas Tenison (September 29, 1636-December 14, 1715) was an English church leader, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1694 until his death. ... Arms of the Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior clergyman of the established Church of England and symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. ... The Gospel of Luke is the third of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament, which tell the story of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. ...


Two recent biographies are by Derek Parker (London, Sutton, 2000) and Charles Beauclerk (Macmillan, 2005), a direct descendant. Charles Francis Topham de Vere Beauclerk, Earl of Burford (born February 22, 1965) is the eldest son and heir apparent of the 14th Duke of St Albans. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
The Dispatch - Serving the Lexington, NC - News (3510 words)
Nell Gwyn (or Gwynn or Gwynne), born Eleanor, (2 February 1650 - 14 November 1687), was one of the earliest English actresses to receive prominent recognition, and a long-time mistress of King Charles II.
Nell answered then, "I was but one man's whore, though I was brought up in a bawdy-house to fill strong waters to the guests; and you are a whore to three or four, though a Presbyter's praying daughter!" which was very pretty.
Nell Gwynn was one day passing through the streets of Oxford, in her coach, when the mob mistaking her for her rival, the Duchess of Portsmouth, commenced hooting and loading her with every opprobrious epithet.
Nell Gwyn - mistress of King Charles II (645 words)
Nell was not greedy and grasping like her rivals, but did receive a house near Pall Mall and when she first knew the King, she asked for just £500 a year!
Nell never received a title herself like Charles' other mistresses, but by using clever tactics she obtained a title for her son.
Nell survived Charles by only two years and was only in her thirties when she died.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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