Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bulkeley, Sophia

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BULKELEY, Lady or Mrs. SOPHIA (fl. 1688), Jacobite, was a younger daughter of Walter Stuart, the third son of Lord Blantyre, her elder sister being the celebrated court beauty Frances Teresa, ‘Mrs. Stewart,’ afterwards married to Charles, fifth duke of Richmond (Granger, Biog. Hist. iv. 184). In 1668, on Sunday, 30 Aug., shortly after her sister's marriage, Sophia Stuart was seen by Pepys walking in St. James's Park with her sister (Pepys's Diary, p. 532, Chandos ed.), when she was pronounced very handsome. She married Henry Bulkeley, fourth son of Thomas, the first viscount Bulkeley of Baron Hill, near Beaumaris (Collins's Peerage, viii. 15), master of the household to Charles II and James II (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. i. 69), and brother of Richard Bulkeley, d. 1650 [q. v.] This marriage placed Sophia about the court, and was followed by her election to the office of lady of the bedchamber to James II's queen. About 1680 it was thought that Godolphin was enamoured of her, a report referred to in a line of a satire published in that year, ‘Bulkeley's Godolphin's only care;’ and an entry in the ‘Treasury Order Book’ at the Customs, D. 352, F. 303, under ‘Buckley,’ shows some payment to her (ib.) during a stay she was making in France. In 1688 she is thought to have been with the queen at the birth of the young James, prince of Wales, the ground for this being a satire, ‘The Deponents,’ in which there is a passage—

Then painted B——ley early in the morn,
Came to St. James's to see his highness born;
With all the haste she could she up did rise,
Soon dress'd, and came by nine a clock precise, &c.
(State Poems, iii. 260–1.)

Another report concerning her was that she was put into the Bastille, after the flight of James and his queen to Versailles, for correspondence with Godolphin (Granger, supra, quoting from Dalrymple's Memorials, pt. ii. p. 189). She had six children. Of three of these nothing is recorded; of the others, James became a resident in France, and left a family there; Charlotte married Daniel, viscount Clare, of Ireland; and Ann married James, duke of Berwick, the natural son of James II.

In Bromley's ‘Cat. of Engraved Portraits,’ p. 109, there is mention of a portrait of Sophia Bulkeley by Gascar, a French painter who came over to England in the train of La Querouaille, duchess of Portsmouth (Pilkington, Lives of Painters). The date is put 1761, a typographical error for 1716, about which date it is probable that Sophia Bulkeley died.

[Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. i. 69; Collins's Peerage of England, ed. 1812, viii. 15; Poems on Affairs of State, iii. 260–1; Granger's Biog. Hist. ed. 1775, iv. 184; Bromley's Catalogue of Engraved Portraits, p. 109.]

J. H.