Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cheyne, Jane

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CHEYNE, Lady Jane (1621–1669), dramatist, was the eldest daughter of William Cavendish, 'first duke of Newcastle [q.v.], by his first wife, Elizabeth, widow of Henry Howard, son of the Earl of Suffolk, and sole heiress to her father, William Bassett of Blore, Staffordshire. Lady Jane Cavendish was born in 1621, and passed her childhood at Welbeck. In 1643, her mother being just dead, and her father occuppied with the royalist army, she and one of her sisters were iveft in charge of a small garrison at Welbeck, and, after holding the place for some time, were taken prisoners and very roughly handled, notwithstanding which, when their gaoler was subsequently condemned to death, Lady Jane begged for his life. She tried in vain to get a pardon for her father during his exile; but she succeeded in getting favour shown to two of her brothers who had fled with him. She succeeded also in securing some the of tapestries and Vandycks after the despoiling of Welbeck and Bolsover. She sent her father 1,000l. of her own fortune derived from her grandmother, Lady Ogle, and sold her jewels and chamber-plate to get money for his support abroad. Being resolved not to marry into any non-royalist family, she remained single till 1654, w en she married Charles Cheyne [q. v.] (variously Chiene, Cheney, and Cheiney) of Cogenho, Northamptonshire, who bought Chelsea manor with her dowry in 1657, and they went to this new estate to reside (Faulkner, Chelsea, i. 829), In 1667 Lady Jane re-roofed Chelsea church at her sole cost, and her other gifts and charities made her much beloved. She had three children; became epileptic in 1668; died on 8 Oct. 1669, aged 48; and was buried in Chelsea church on 1 Nov. Her husband (created Viscount Newhaven some years atter her death) employed Bernini to execute the monument to her which still exists (ib. 219, 223).

Lady Jane Cheyne was a poetess, and she filled some volumes with pious meditations. A play, ‘The Concealed Fansyes,’ was written by her in conjunction with her sister, Lady Elizabeth, and is in manuscript in the Bodleian (Notes and Queries, 2nd series, x. 127, 15. 3rd series, iv. 506). Her works have not been published. Her portrait is in one of Diepenbeke’s illustrations of her father’s ‘Horsemanship,' 1658, and it is in the same artist’s frontispiece to her stepmother’s ‘Nature's Pictures,' 1656. A letter from Charles Cheyne, her husband, is in ‘Letters and Poems to the Newcastles,’ 1678 (p . 78, 79). Watt (Bibl. Brit.) calls this lady Eady Jean Hollis. Granger thinks she was with her father during part of his exile (Biog. Hist. iii. 309).

[Funeral Sermon, by Adam Littleton; Faulkner`s Chelsea; Life of Duke of Newcastle, by Margaret, his duchess, pp. 55, 90, 91, 105, 156; Wilford’s Memorials, pp. 112 et seq., Appendix, pp. 3, 4.]

J. H.