Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Grey, Elizabeth

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GREY, ELIZABETH, Countess of Kent (1581–1651), authoress, was second daughter of Gilbert Talbot, seventh earl of Shrewsbury, by his wife Mary, daughter of Sir William Cavendish (1505?–1557) [q. v.] and the famous 'Bess of Hardwick' [see Talbot, Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury]. She married before September 1602 (Doyle, Official Baronage, ii. 285) Henry Grey, lord Ruthin, who succeeded his father as seventh Earl of Kent on 26 Sept. 1623, and died without issue on 21 Nov. 1639. John Selden [q. v.] was intimate with the Earl of Kent, and was probably his legal adviser; after the earl's death Selden is said to have married Elizabeth Grey, but not to have owned the marriage 'till after her death, upon some lawe account.' They lived together, and 'he never kept any servant peculiar, but my ladie's were all of his command' (Aubrey's MSS., quoted in Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 378). Lady Kent is described as eminent for her virtues and piety; she died on 7 Dec. 1651 at the Friary House in Whitefriars, which, together with most of her property, she bequeathed to Selden, whom she also appointed her executor. Whether she is the Lady Kent mentioned in Selden's 'Table Talk' (ed. Arber, p. 41) as the intimate friend of Sir Edward Herbert does not appear. Samuel Butler, the poet, was for some years in her service (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iii. 875). Lady Kent was the authoress or compiler of `A Choice Manuall. or Rare and Select Secrets in Physick and Chyrurgery. Collected and practised by the … Countesse of Kent, late deceased.' The second edition (the earliest in the British Museum), edited by W. Jar, appeared at London in 1653, 12mo; another and different edition, but also called the second, appeared in the same year. There is a second part entitled 'A True Gentlewoman's Delight, wherein is contained all manner of Cookery;' the parts have separate title-pages, but the pagination is continuous. The editor says he had added some prescriptions of Sir Walter Raleigh, which he had from his friend Captain Samuel King. The work went through numerous editions: 1656, with a portrait in an oval of foliage by John Chantry; twelfth, 1659; fourteenth, 1663, with an epistle to the reader by W.L.; sixteenth, 1670; eighteenth, 1682; nineteenth, 1687. The portrait of the Countess of Kent, which is prefixed, differs somewhat in the various editions.

[Authorities quoted; Aikin's Life of Selden, pp. 154, 155; Johnson's Memoirs of Selden, p. 353; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. viii. 509; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, ed. Park, iii. 44; Burke's Peerage under 'Shrewsbury;' Bromley's Cat. of Portraits; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. 1266; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

C. L. K.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.142
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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181 ii 25 Grey, Elizabeth, Countess of Kent: for step-sister read wife