Sister Benedicte Fitzroy
Privacy Level: Open (White)

Barbara Fitzroy (1672 - 1737)

Barbara (Sister Benedicte) Fitzroy
Born in London, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Daughter of [father unknown] and
Mother of
Died at age 64 in Pontoise, Francemap [uncertain]
Problems/Questions Profile managers: England Project WikiTree private message [send private message] and CC Lee private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 26 Nov 2008
This page has been accessed 2,878 times.
English flag
Sister Benedicte Fitzroy is managed by the England Project.
Join: England Project
Discuss: england


Barbara was born on 16 July 1672 at Cleveland House in London. She was the sixth child of Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, who had been the principle mistress of Charles II of England for 12 years, while married to Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine. [1]

Around the time of Barbara's birth, her mother was losing her position as the King's chief mistress to Louise de Kérouaille. Her mother claimed Barbara was the King's daughter. King Charles did not appear to have acknowledged the child, as she was not officially granted the surname of Fitzroy as her siblings had (see research notes). Barbara was suspected to have been the child of either John Churchill, or Philip Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield.

In March 1691, the eighteen-year-old Barbara gave birth to an illegitimate son of James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, who was named Charles Hamilton. The child was raised by Barbara Villiers, who was said to have disowned her daughter.[citation needed]

Barbara entered the English Abbey of Portoise, near Paris, France as a novice in 1689 [2] and professed in 1691 as a nun, taking the religious name of Benedicta. She was not elected Abbess of that community, and served under a succession of English Abbesses from 1691: Elizabeth Dabridgecourt (1689-1710), Xaveria Gifford (1710-1711), Elizabeth Joseph Widdrington (1711-1730) [3] She removed to the Priory of St Nicholas, Portoise in 1721 as the Prioress and stayed there until her death in 1737. [2]

Roger Earl of Castlemaine died in 1705, [4] and Barbara's mother the Duchess of Cleveland died in 1709. [5] Neither mentioned Barbara or her son in their wills.

An autograph of the Prioress reported said:

Mon nom du monde est Barbe Fitz Roy est en Religion Benedite fille Du Roy De La grande Bretagne Charles 2dc j'ay fait profession dans Le Couuent des Benedictines Angloiscs De Pontoise L'annee 1691 Le 2* D'auril c'est maison est mittige.

This has been roughly translated as "My name in the world is Barbe Fitz Roy, in Religion it is Benedicta, daughter of the King of Great Britain, Charles II. I made profession at the Convent of the English Benedictines in Pontoise, the year 1691, the 2nd of April. It is my place of penance."

She died on 6 May 1737 and lies buried in the church of the Priory of St Nicholas at Pontoise. [6]

Research Notes

Oxford DNB says Charles II never acknowledged Barbara as his daughter, but did acknowledge the sons and two older daughters of Barbara Palmer as his children. It states Barbara was probably the daughter of John Churchill.[1]

"The Calendar of State Papers" during the reign of Charles II has references to Charles, George and Henry all being given the surname Fitzroy. In 1673, Anne and Charlotte were described as the King's "dear and natural daughters, the Ladies Anne and Charlotte Fitzroy, by... Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland" They were granted the right to bear Royal Arms in a lozenge with a baton sinister ermine, the distinction granted to their eldest brother Charles, Earl of Southampton. No such distinction was granted to Barbara. [7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wynne, S. M. "Barbara Palmer (bap. 1640, d. 1709)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press (subscription required, accessed 23 Dec 2021)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Royal Bastards: Illegitimate Children of the British Royal Family By Peter Beauclerk-Dewar, Roger Powell Published History Press 2011
  3. Chronological Notes... of the English Congregation of the Order of St Benedict Drawn from the archives of the Houses of the said Congregation at Douay in Flanders, Dieulwart in Lorraine, Paris in France and Lambspring in Germany, where are preserved the Authenic Acts and Original Deeds An: 1709 Dom. Bennet Weldon (Published London 1881) Appendix page 39-40 Google Books Accessed 28 December 2021
  4. Transcription of the Will of Roger Earl of Castlemaine here
  5. Transcription of the Will of Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland here
  6. G S Steinman, A Memoir of Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland,1871, page 226. Google Books (accessed 24 Dec 2021)
  7. Grant of Arms 26 February 1673 'Charles II: February 1673', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1672-3, ed. F H Blackburne Daniell (London, 1901), pp. 503-627. British History Online [accessed 26 December 2021].

See also:

Sponsored Search by

No known carriers of Sister Benedicte's DNA have taken a DNA test. Have you taken a test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Comments: 4

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.
FitzRoy-237 and Fitzroy-8 appear to represent the same person because: Hi,

Some time ago I sent you an email, requesting a merge. Due to the fact that they represent the same person. Again, I'm requesting a merge. Many thanks, Regards, Megan

posted by Megan Woodward
Hi Megan: The profile you are asking to merge was created by you last month. It appears you have also done this with other WikiTree entries. I can certainly understand the desire to do this when you descend from a person, however that is not how WikiTree properly works. I would ask you to amend this WikiTree page rather than creating a new one and then asking to merge it with the original one. Please make your proposed edits to this page.
posted by CC Lee
Hi CC,

I did explain in my previous email to you that I was unaware at the time of creating the profile that another existed,... nothing came up. Cheers, Megan

posted by Megan Woodward
From the evidence available it is not possible to assign a father for Barbara.
posted by C. Mackinnon

Featured Asian and Pacific Islander connections: Sister Benedicte is 24 degrees from 今上 天皇, 12 degrees from Adrienne Clarkson, 17 degrees from Dwight Heine, 22 degrees from Dwayne Johnson, 18 degrees from Tupua Tamasese Lealofioaana, 16 degrees from Stacey Milbern, 18 degrees from Sono Osato, 32 degrees from 乾隆 愛新覺羅, 19 degrees from Ravi Shankar, 19 degrees from Taika Waititi, 20 degrees from Penny Wong and 15 degrees from Chang Bunker on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.

F  >  Fitzroy  >  Barbara Fitzroy