Lady Blanche Arundell

Lady Blanche Arundell (née Lady Blanche Somerset; 1583 or c. 1584 – 28 October 1649) was an English noblewoman, known as the defender of Wardour Castle, where she defended the castle for nearly a week with just 25 men and her maidservants against a force of 1300.

Blanche Arundell
Baroness Arundell
Blanche somerset.jpg
Engraving of Lady Blanche Arundell by Edward Scriven after an unknown artist
Known forDefender of Wardour Castle
BornBlanche Somerset
Died28 October 1649(1649-10-28) (aged 65–66)
Winchester, Hampshire, England
BuriedTisbury, Wiltshire, England
Noble familySomerset (by birth)
Arundell (by marriage)
Spouse(s)Thomas Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour


Arundell was born Blanche Somerset in 1583 or 1584, daughter of Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester, and Lady Elizabeth Hastings.[1]

On 11 May 1607 (date of settlement for the marriage) she married Thomas Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour, son of Thomas Arundell, 1st Baron Arundell of Wardour, and Lady Mary Wriothesley. They had three children:

Arundell was a lady-in-waiting to Anne of Denmark. John Finet described the reception of Isabelle Brûlart, the wife of French ambassador Gaspard Dauvet, Sieur des Marets, at Denmark House on the Strand in December 1617. He brought her to a chamber in the first court where she was joined by Arundell, Mistress Barbara Sidney (daughter of the Viscountess Lisle), Mistress Southwell of the queen's privy chamber (later Lady Dudley), and Mistress Gargrave (one of her Majesty's maids of honour). A gentleman usher then took Brûlart to the queen in the Privy Chamber.[2]

During the Civil War, Lord Arundell brought together a regiment of horsemen in support of King Charles I, who he led into the Battle of Stratton in Cornwall on 16 May 1643. He was injured during the battle and died on 19 May 1643.[1]

From 2 May 1643, during the absence of her husband, she defended Wardour Castle, near Tisbury, Wiltshire, for six days with only herself, her children, a few maidservants, and twenty-five men against the Parliamentary forces of thirteen hundred men[3] and artillery commanded by two Parliamentary officers, Sir Edward Hungerford and Colonel Edmund Ludlow. She finally was forced to surrender on honourable terms. However, the terms were not honoured: the castle was sacked and she was removed as a prisoner to Shaftesbury. However, due to her illness, she was instead moved to Dorchester.[1]

She died at Winchester, Hampshire, and was buried at Tisbury. Her will dated 28 September 1649 was probated on 2 November 1649.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Arundell, Blanche [née Lady Blanche Somerset], Lady Arundell of Wardour". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/714. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ John Finet, Finetti Philoxenis (London, 1656), p. 40.
  3. ^ Goddard, p. 21