elizabeth-malet

Rochester and his children.

By all accounts Rochester was very fond of his children. Whilst his wife spent her days either at their house in Adderbury or at her own estate in Somerset, his intermittent visits there begot them four children. The eldest, Anne was baptised on 30th August  1669. Rochester’s only son, Charles was baptised on 2nd January 1671. Elizabeth was baptised on 13th July 1674 and his youngest legitimate child Malet was baptised on 6th January 1675. These were undoubtedly happier moments in what can only be described as an unstable life.

In 1677, Mrs Elizabeth Barry also bore him an illegitimate daughter named for her mother. At some point, Rochester became so convinced of Mrs Barry’s infidelity and inability to raise the child that he took custody of her. He wrote to Mrs Barry soon afterwards;

“Madam, I am far from delighting in the grief I have given you, by taking the child: and you, who made it so absolutely necessary for me to do so, must take that excuse from me, for all the ill nature of it: on the other side, pray be assur’d, I love Betty so well, that you need not apprehend any neglect from those I employ; and I hope very shortly to return her to you a finer girl than ever.”

The child Elizabeth died at age fourteen and was buried in Acton, close to her mother. In his will Rochester bequeathed the infant child forty pounds a year to continue for the rest of her life.

As for Rochester’s other children; Charles died the year after his father at which time the title of Earl of Rochester became extinct. Anne married Henry Bayntun by whom she had a daughter and a son. Her second marriage was to Francis Greville MP and they had two sons. 

Malet married John Vaughan, 1st Viscount Lisburne and together they had one son.

The legitimate child Elizabeth married Edward Monatgu, 3rd Earl of Sandwich and they had one daughter who died young and one son who went on to become the father of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich who invented the sandwich. Elizabeth was known for her learning and her wit, no doubt taking after her father.