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Mervyn Tuchet, 2nd Earl of Castlehaven

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Mervyn Tuchet (or Audley), 2nd Earl of Castlehaven (1593 – 14 May 1631) was the son of George Tuchet, 1st Earl of Castlehaven (1551–1617) and his wife, née Lucy Mervyn (d. bef. 1610).

Before 1617, he married Elizabeth Barnham (1592 – c. 1622/24), daughter of Benedict Barnham and his wife, née Dorothea Smith, and by her had six children:

  • James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven (c. 1617–1684)
  • Lady Frances Tuchet (b. 1617)
  • Mervyn Tuchet, 4th Earl of Castlehaven (d. 1686)
  • Hon. George Tuchet (d. c. 1689)
  • Lady Lucy Tuchet (d. 1662)
  • Lady Dorothy Tuchet (d. 1635)

Mervyn Tuchet, Lord Audley, succeeded his father as Earl of Castlehaven and Baron Audley on 20 February 1617.

On 22 July 1624 he married, at Harefield, Middlesex, Lady Anne Stanley (1580–1647), elder daughter and co-heiress of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby and widow of Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos. By her he had a daughter, Anne Tuchet, who died young. [1]

He was beheaded on Tower Hill, London for a number of sexual crimes, (an "unnatural crime", i.e. sodomy, committed with his page, Laurence FitzPatrick, who confessed to the crime and was executed) and for assisting Giles Browning (or Giles Broadway), also executed, in the rape of the Countess of Castlehaven (née Anne Stanley), in which Lord Castlehaven participated by restraining his wife. The charges were brought against him on the complaint of his son, who feared disinheritance, about the promiscuousness of his mother, to the Privy Council.

Laurence FitzPatrick testified that the Countess of Castlehaven "was the wickedest woman in the world, and had more to answer for than any woman that lived."

Cockayne, in the Complete Peerage adds that the death of the Earl was certainly brought about by the Countess's manipulations, and her unquestionable adultery with one Ampthill and with Henry Skipwith renders her motive suspicious.

According to Cynthia B. Herrup, A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven, Oxford University Press, 1999, Anne was the equal of Lord Castlehaven in immorality.

The 2nd Earl of Castlehaven was attainted of felony on 14 May 1631, forfeiting his English Barony of Audley, as it was created for heirs general but retaining his Irish Earldom and Barony (since it was an entailed honour protected by the statute De Donis). When he was beheaded on Tower Hill that same day, his Irish titles passed to his son, James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven.

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