British Aristocrat. Mary Eleanor was born at Gibside a country estate near Rowlands Gill. As an only child, sher was the heiress of a vast fortune (estimated at between £600,000 and £1,040,000) and in 1767 she married John Lyon, 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. They took the surname Bowes in lieu of Lyon by Act of Parliament. They had three sons and two daughters. Some of her children with John Lyon hyphenated their parents' names, styling themselves Bowes-Lyon. John died at sea in 1776 while on passage to Lisbon. Their son John succeeded to the Earldom but as he died without issue their youngest son Thomas became the next Earl. She married secondly an adventurer called Andrew Robinson Stoney, who changed his name to Bowes. But the marriage was not happy due to his ill treatment of her. She instituted divorce proceedings in 1785 but he then abducted her. However, she was rescued and he was sent to prison. Their only son was William Johnstone Bowes who drowned in 1807 while serving in the Royal Navy.
Mary Eleanor Bowes was well-educated for her time, and in 1769 published a poetical drama entitled 'The Siege of Jerusalem'. She was also enthusiastic about botany, sending William Paterson to the Cape in 1777 to collect plants on her behalf.
The countess died in April 1800 at Purbrook Park in Hampshire. She was buried as requested in a court dress, with all the accessories necessary for a Royal audience, plus a small silver trumpet. Other reports have it that she was buried in her bridal dress. Mary Eleanor was an ancestress of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
In 1841, the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray heard Bowes's life story from the Countess's grandson, John Bowes, and used it in his novel 'The Luck of Barry Lyndon'.
Inscription: Sacred to the memory of Mary Eleanor, Countess of Strathmore, of Streatlam and Gibside, in the County of Durham.
Burial: Westminster Abbey Westminster Greater London, England Plot: Poets Corner
Faculty Office Marriage Licences Transcription
First name(s) MARY ELEANOR
Last name BOWES
Licence year 1767
Licence date 17 Feb 1767
New calender date 17 Feb 1767
Bride's first name(s) Mary Eleanor
Bride's last name BOWES
Groom's first name(s) Earl
Groom's last name STRATHMORE
Place Dioceses of England & Wales
Record set Faculty Office Marriage Licence
Transcriptions © Society of Genealogists
Thanks to Maria Maxwell for starting this profile. Click the Changes tab for the details of contributions by Maria and others.
Bowes-511 was created by G Howell through the import of All-of-my-Family-27-Dec-2016-823.ged on Dec 27, 2016.
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