Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Gwynn, Eleanor

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GWYNN, ELEANOR, better known by the name of “Nell,” a celebrated mistress of King Charles II.; born in London about 1650. She was at first an orange girl, and also gained her bread by singing from tavern to tavern. About 1667 she became the mistress of Lord Buckhurst, who surrendered her about 1670 to the king. As mistress of the king she had an establishment, and was made lady of the privy chamber to Queen Catharine. She was merry and open-hearted, is said to have been faithful to Charles, mindful of old friends, and a liberal patroness of the poets Dryden, Lee, Otway, and Butler. From her are sprung the dukes of St. Albans. She died about 1690.