The house from a late 19th or early 20th century postcard
House & Family History: It was at Gawsworth that Mary Fitton (circa 1578–1641), the youngest daughter of Sir Edward and Lady Alice Fitton, was born. Mary’s important because she is reputed by some historians to have been “the Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets (127-152). She became a maid of honor at the court of Elizabeth I around the time (circa 1595) that a portrait of her by an unknown artist was completed. At court she became the lover of William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, who, this conjecture follows, was “the Fair Youth” of Sonnets 1-126. Mary was expelled from court in 1601, after it was discovered that she was pregnant with Lord Pembroke’s child. He refused to marry her. Mary gave birth to a baby boy that died shortly after it was brought into the world. In 1606 she became the wife of Captain William Polewhele; after his death she married John Lougher.
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Current Seat / Home of: Richards family
Past Seat / Home of: Sir Edward Fitton, 16th century; Fitton family here from the 14th until the 17th century. Charles Gerard, 1st Earl of Macclesfield, 17th century. Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun, 18th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home