Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Italian in Tudor London: Bartholomeo COMPAGNI.



[A portrait of Bartolomeo COMPAGNI, painted in Firenze, in 1549, by Piero FOSCHI.]

On Wednesday, 4 June 1561, with "... a most hydeous cracke of thunder suche as seldom hath been heard," accompanied by "... a marvellous strong air or whorlewynd with a smel of brimstone," a huge lightning bolt struck the lead-covered steeple, which rose to a height of 520 feet, atop the central Caen-stone tower of Old St Paul's Cathedral, London, setting it's timber frame on fire. A major part of the main roof was also destroyed, and the ruins of the steeple itself collapsed into the upper (or street) level of the church proper, where they were to remain for some time.
A month before, the mortal remains of Bartholomeo COMPAGNI, Florentine Merchant Stranger in London, had been laid to rest in the Cathedral, aged 58, after a sermon from the controversial French Protestant preacher John VERON, by undertaker Henry MACHIN, who, in his "Diary of a Londoner," identified the location - at "... the neder end of the stepes, under the belles."
Research has not yet established any connection between these two events.

Bartholomeo had arrived in London before 2 December 1532, on which day a compatriot, Guido GIANETTI, Venetian Merchant, obtained his English Denization, to which occasion he later (in 1559) cited COMPAGNI as a witness. Bartholomeo was granted his own Patent of Denization in London on 25 March 1535.
Reasons for Bartholomeo's leaving his native Firenze, in Toscano, are unclear, but may have had something to do with his family's business connections as Merchants and Traders, probably in Woollens and Silks.

BARTOLOMEO'S ORIGINS IN FIRENZE.

Bartholomeo was born on 23 April 1503, in Santa Trinita, the district under the banner of the Gonfalonieri dell'Unicorno and in the Quartiere di Santa Novella, Firenze, Toscano. He was the third son of Neri COMPAGNI (son of Dino di Neri COMPAGNI), one of the Sedici Gonfaloniere (1496), Priori (1497), and one of the Dodici Buonomini (1500) of Firenze, by his spouse and third cousin, Maria COMPAGNI (daughter of Piero di Giovanni COMPAGNI).
His great-grandfathers, Neri and Giovanni, were sons of Francesco COMPAGNI by Lapa NERI; Francesco's father Perino was an elder brother to Dino COMPAGNI (1255-1324), whose Palazzo was on the via San Egidio, a Silk Merchant in Firenze, Gonfalonieri di Giustizia (1293), and renowned among students of Florentine history as the great "Chronicler."
[See the family pedigree in Monsieur L. de MAGNY's "Nobilaire Universel de France," Volume 12, Paris, 1877.]



[The Chiesa di Sancta Trinita on Via de’ Tornabuoni, Firenze.]

The Chapel of San Giovanni Gualberto, in the Parish Church of Santa Trinita, was built for the COMPAGNI family by Bicci di LORENZO in the 1430's, and part of the altar piece which he painted for it had, by the 18th century, found it's way into Westminster Abbey.


[The Chapel of San Giovanni Gualberto. Photo by Bill PIGOTT. 
Memorials to COMPAGNI family members are visible under the smaller painting to the right of centre, and next to the base of the pedestal lower right. See details below.]


[Memorial to Dino COMPAGNI, died 1324.]




BARTOLOMEO GOES TO ENGLAND.

Bartholomeo had a number of strong financial connections in Antwerp, by which city he probably made his way to London. He maintained contact there with Giovanne Carlo deli AFFAETADI, Francesco NASO, Allessandro di POGGIO of Luca, Jacopo de SANGINANO, Nicholas RONDINELLI, Alexander ANTYNORI, John de NERLI, and Galeotto MAGALOTTI. These contacts were to prove very useful to Bartholomeo's fund raising activities there in the mid-late 1540's to finance Henry VIII's war effort against the French King, Francois I.

In London, he was part of a larger community, described by PETTEGREE as follows:
"... the richest and most influential of the foreigners settled in London were the alien merchants, amongst whom the Italians occupied a position of special eminence. The expulsion of Jews by Edward I in 1290 had given the Italians the opportunity to make their financial services indispensable to the Crown, and in the intervening centuries the leading Italian merchant families had succeeded in cornering a substantial proportion of London's import and export trade. Most of the larger merchant houses retained permanent representatives in London, often young men serving a form of apprenticeship before returning to their native land. Economically sophisticated and socially self-contained, the Italian merchant community was rightly regarded as a commercial and financial aristocracy within the stranger community..."
[Andrew PETTEGREE. "Foreign Protestant Communities in 16th Century London." Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986.]

The central street in London's financial district is not named Lombard Street without reason.

But Bartholomew's return visits to his native city were few and only temporary - he was to remain, settle, and see his first grandchild born in London before he died and was buried in the largest building in the Kingdom, even after it lost its steeple.
And in that city, his dealings kept him in contact with other compatriots, Bartholomeo FORTINI, Tomaso CAVALCANTI, and Gian GIRALDE, all Florentines; Ancelyn and Henry SALVAGO; Antonio BONVISI, of Lucca; and Antonio VIVALDI.

BARTOLOMEO THE MERCHANT.

Bartholomeo served as Merchant to the Court of Henry VIII. On 31 July 1539 he is recorded as having written to Thomas CROMWELL (who had visited Firenze in 1512 - he would be executed in 1540 on the orders of his master, King Henry VIII), advising that he had just received letters by the ordinary courier from Antwerp, which included one:
"... for the King, which he would have come to deliver in person, but for the opportunity of the bearer Antonio CARSIDONI."
[Calendars of State Papers, Henry VIII.]

The letter's contents remain a mystery, but it illustrates one of COMPAGNI's great assets which was available to the English Court - access to a well developed and secure document delivery network into continental Europe.
And in 1539, we have evidence of another aspect of COMPAGNI's commercial enterprises - the Duke of Suffolk (Charles BRANDON), sold off estates that had formerly been monastic lands, to finance the purchase, for £800, of:
"... one diamond ring, from a Florentine operating in London, Bartolommeo COMPAGNA."
[S.J. GUNN, "Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk." Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1988, page 171.]

COMPAGNI's business dealings were not all plain sailing. In 1542, a dispute arose between him and Mariotto NERETTI, a Florentine Mercer in London, concerning a shipment of woad (a blue dye-stuff, later superseded by indigo), which dispute was referred to the Privy Council in September - a listing of it appears in the Chancery Judicial Proceedings, Equity side [P.R.O., Kew], dated 7 February xxxiii Henry VIII, and was prosecuted by COMPAGNI and his then wife Barbara, widow of John CAPON[IS], Mercer, deceased.

By 26 April 1542, he owed the King £425 3s. and 8d-halfpenny.

On 27 November 1543, Bartholomeo was granted, for life, license:
"... to export broadcloths and other merchandise, and import silk, wines, etc, so that the customs upon them at the rate payable by English merchants did not exceed £100 a year."
[C.S.P., Henry VIII, Volume 21, Part 2, No. 476.]

And on 14 July 1544, he obtained the grant, formerly belonging to Baptist BORONE, a Milanoys, of a license:
"... to export to ports beyond the Strait of Marroke, from London, Southampton or Sandwich, 800 sacks of wool; paying for subsidies 5 marks per sack and for Calais money 8d. per sack, two years after shipment."
[C.S.P. Henry VIII, Pat. page 28, m. 46.]

BARTOLOMEO THE FINANCIER.

Another important aspect of Bartholomeo's activities came to light in 1544, when he became involved in an extensive programme of "cash-raising" to finance Henry VIII's war effort against the French King Francois I, which lasted until well into 1546.
Henry's principal agent in Antwerp was Stephen VAUGHAN (a London Merchant, who had been in the service of Thomas CROMWELL), who took a keen interest in the particulars and the repayments of the loans arranged by COMPAGNI.
And the money amounts involved were not small.
On 17 June 1544, VAUGHAN, in Antwerp, wrote of "... bills of credence for 100,000 crowns" which he renegotiated, noting that "... other houses in London will be credited here, as John GERALDE and Barth CAMPANYA."
On 15 February 1545, the Council authorised a payment to Bartholomeo of £5,000 sterling, for War Expenses:
"... in part payment of money delivered last year in Flanders to the King's use."
[C.S.P., Henry VIII.]

In April, Bartholomeo had been in correspondence with Jasper DOWCHE, of Antwerp, concerning £1,000 sterling in coin, and appears to have been instrumental in keeping DOWCHE on-side with the English King.
And on 14 July 1545, VAUGHAN wrote from Calais concerning terms for a loan of 300,000 crowns from DOWCHE "... at 10% upon bond in London," citing COMPAGNI, and begging Sir William PAGET (Henry VIII's Principal Private Secretary) "... to signify the King's pleasure and to proceed with Bartilmew COMPAIGNE with speed."

It would probably take someone with a post-graduate degree in Banking Administration to disentangle all the financial dealings COMPAGNI was involved in at this time. Some of the further references may be to repayments on earlier loans, some of which may have involved the need for further loans, or plain re-negotiation of terms to avoid penalties.
But on 18 January 1546, VAUGHAN, citing bills of credit brought out from England to Antwerp from Bartholomeo for 20,000 crowns (or £6,000 Florentine), querying the allowance for factorage, brokerage and interest being claimed by COMPAGNI (the Council confirmed these rates at 5% for 6 months, 0.75% for brokerage and provision).
And he revealed details of the means of delivery:
"...because the King's merchants laded yesterday wagons for Calles with merchandise, [he] had a chest made of boards like a case of velvets, and packed £4,980 Florentine in it, all in crowns; and this morning [20 January] the wagon is gone toward Callays..."
[C.S.P., Henry VIII.]

BARTOLOMEO THE DIPLOMAT.

In amongst all of this, Bartholomeo made a journey to France and Italy.
In July 1545, he, with his servants, was granted a passport of the Privy Council [Acts,13 July] "... to passe without interupcion."
Cardinal TOURNON, writing in September that year to Cardinal TRIVULCIIS that:
"... the King of England has sent to ask for peace. Advices from Flanders and Germany of the 13th, state that England was indeed negociating through a Florentine merchant named Bartholomeo COMPAGNI, but his terms were too hard."
[Intelligence from Rome. Spanish Calendar, VIII, No. 132.]

On 17 August, Ambassador Van DELFT wrote from the Court, at Guildford in Surrey, to Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor), reporting his progress in negotiations with PAGET and the King, concerning the Emperor's desire to bring about peace with France:
"... that he learnt in strict confidence that they [the English Council] were already, through Madame d'ETAMPES, in treaty with France, the French proposing to pay the pension and arrears and 100,000 crowns for Boulogne; but as no mention was made of the cost of the war, and the French wished to include something about Scotland, the King had cooled, and negotiations had been suspended. The intermediary in this was Barth COMPAGNI, an Italian merchant in London, who formerly visited the writer about Jasper DOULCHY's affairs, and who is now in Court."
[C.S.P., Henry VIII.]

Madame d'ETAMPES was the French King's mistress, and his de-facto Foreign Minister.

COMPAGNI's actual movements here are somewhat unclear, perhaps deliberately confused a little due to a need for secrecy.
On 31 August, SCEPPERUS and Van DELFT, still at Guildford, wrote to Mary of Hungary relating further progress in the peace negotiations, the flight of the French Fleet, and of Henry's refusal to make concessions on Boulogne (where Henry himself had gone to lead his troops in the previous year):
"... the English are therefor not so inclined to seek peace as they were... As to the negociations by Bart COMPAGNI which DELFT reported to the Emperor... SCEPPERUS recollects hearing that a short fat man from Antwerp was mixed up therein, and such a man is now here, an advocate from Antwerp named Master RINGOLT, who frequents COMPAGNI's house. Learnt secretly that COMPAGNI left for France on the day of SCEPPERUS's arrival at this Court; but next day they met him in the street. Believe that his voyage is abandoned, as PAGET confidentially assures Van DELFT that it is, and that the negociation was only meant to cool the French efforts against Boulogne..."
[C.S.P., Henry VIII.]

And on 25 August 1545, PAGET wrote to NORFOLK, reporting the deaths of Lords SUFFOLK and POYNINGS, the rout of the French Fleet, and the brief skirmish across the border by the Scots. He concluded:
"... Bartil. COMPEIGNE, passing towards Italy, spake with Madame DESTAMPES but their conference came to nil effect."
[C.S.P., Henry VIII.]

Despite the failure of his mission, Bartholomeo was awarded by Henry an Augmentation of Honour to his Coat-of-Arms (COMPAGNI: Or, A bend Sable), of a Rose gules (in Sinister Chief, seeded Or, barbed Vert), for his faithful sevice.

Whether COMPAGNI went on to re-visit Firenze is unclear, although it is likely. He was almost certainly there 4 years later, in 1549, when his portrait was painted in oils on wood panel, by Florentine artist Piero di Jacopo FOSCHI. The original is now in the collection of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville, Florida, having been purchased by them in 1984. Charles STIRLING, of Cadder near Glasgow, had acquired it in Italy before 1826; it was moved to Kier in 1894; catalogued for sale by Sotheby's for sale on 3 July 1963; and finally by COLNAGHI in New York in 1983.

BARTOLOMEO IN LONDON.

COMPAGNI's house was in Broad Street, Parish of St Christopher-le-Stocks, London. Later, on 3 January 1551, he obtained a grant of "... the messuage now in his tenure" there for £140 paid in the Augmentations, at £14 per year, to be held by:
"... Bartholomeo, his heirs and assigns, of the King, by fealty only in free burgage of the City of London and not in chief."
[Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward VI, II. 927. Greenwich, 1 January.]

It appears to have been close to the site of the old city walls, and was part of the late fraternity of St Mary in the Chapel of All Hallows, Barking by the Tower, associated with a college of Priests (founded by Richard III) which was dissolved in 1548. COMPAGNI may have rebuilt a new and quite substantial house on the site. It was home to a number of Bartholomeo's expatriate countrymen, especially those fleeing persecution as heretics in their native land - Guido GENETTI was one such living there in January 1553.

With the crowning of the new and Protestant boy-king Edward VI, COMPAGNI was named in the New Year's grants of 1550:
"... his servant, in rewarde... 13s. 4d."

Bartholomeo was also confirmed in his trading concessions. By letters Patent, dated 27 November 1550, he was appointed the King's Merchant, for provision of:
"... silkes, clothe of golde and sylver, sables and other furres, tapissery, lynnen clothe or canvas, saltpetir or other thinges as we shall nede."
And from the same Patent, with a License to import:
"...all manner of sylkes and velvettes, dammaskes, sattyns, taffeta and sarcenettes, all manner of workes of Venyce golde and sylver, Dammaske gold and sylver, and of sylke passemeyn fringes, rybandes and such other workes... all manner golde worke plate and sylver vessell, juelles, perles, precyous stones as well sett in gold and imbrodered in garmentes as otherwise, all manner garments imbrodered with gold or sylver, skynes and furres and luserdes, clothes of tapyssery and arras mixed with golde, sylver of siylke, and all other things mete for our use."
[Calendar of Patent Rolls, Edward VI. By P.S., II. 925, Westminster, 22 November.]

These were to be viewed and appraised by officers of the Port of London, "... to the intent that the king may have first sight and choice of them."

And in 1552-53, now the King's Financial Agent, Bartholomeo was charged with supplying, through his factor in Paris, the daily diet and other wants of Edward's constant childhood companion, Barnaby FITZPATRICK, after he was dispatched to France by the Council, under the particular charge of special emissary Sir William PICKERING, to master French, see something of the world, and learn a little about the art of warfare.

Also in 1553, COMPAGNI wrote from London, 13 February, to Cosimo MEDICI, now Duke of his home city Firenze, stating that:
"... two female dogs he had sent from England to Tuscany have died in transport across France, and promises to send more, this time by ship. He also asks anxiously of the horses [chinee] he sent to Florence some weeks before were to the Duke's liking."
[The MEDICI Archive Project. MpD 41, 3a. DocID 3045, Folio 683. At www.medici.org]

The index to this Archive refers to COMPAGNI as the Consul in England for the Florentine Nation.

BARTOLOMEO IN ANTWERP.

After the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary, the situation became somewhat precarious for Protestants in England. It has been mooted that COMPAGNI was one such, and his funeral rites would suggest he may have been. It would certainly have been in his commercial interests in England during Henry's reign to have supported Henry's position on the difficult issue of the time, the divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

COMPAGNI wrote from Antwerp in February 1554, claiming unpaid portions of a sum of £10,000 which he had:
"... undertaken to furnishe the Quenes Heighnes on thisside Easter, amonge his friendes in Antwerp... whereof to be allowed himself at the receipt of the same suche sommes of money as be alredie due to hym, and the overplus of the said somme to be paied by the said Thomas GRESHAM unto the Marchaunt Adventurers there, that hitherto remayn unpaied, before the depeach of which two things he has willed not to return."
[Acts of the Privy Council, Westminster, 28 February 1554.]

It looks a little like Bartholomeo may have removed himself to a safe distance in Antwerp, and was threatening to re-establish his business there on a permanent basis if he did not get what he wanted from Queen Mary's Council!
He was still in Antwerp on 6 May, when Simon RENARD, Spanish Ambassador in Brussels, warned his master:
"COMPAGNI... has gone to Antwerp with the avowed object of raising money; but I must warn your Majesty that, as you also hear from SCHEYVE, he has always acted here as a spy for the French ambassadors; so he had better be watched..."
[Calendar of State Papers, Philip and Mary.]

RENARD repeated the accusation in a letter to the Emperor dated 13 October 1554, referring to the French and Venetian Ambassadors:
"...who are always plotting. The Venetian's house is full of spies, English and Italian, among whose names I have heard mentioned Bartholomeo COMPAGNI..."
[C.S.P., Phillip and Mary.]

Bartholomeo's contacts, so essential to his business enterprises, were always going to risk landing him in trouble with the enemies of those contacts, insomuch as he provided them with a secure conduit for their information and intelligence abroad.

BARTOLOMEO WINDS DOWN HIS BUSINESS INTERESTS.

On 27 December 1555, Bartholomeo surrendered into Chancery his Patent of 27 November xxxviii Henry VIII (the 1543 license to export broadcloths and other merchandises, and import silk, wines, etc), in consideration of a grant of £5,600. The mention of executors in association with this surrender suggests a possibility he was ill, and feared it may have been terminal. But he was yet to sire another child, and lived for another 5 years.
In 1556, the Acts of Privy Council reveal that Bartholomeo was still active on behalf of the Council, and involved in importing bowstaves from Europe. And in 1557, the French intercepted a Flemish cutter carrying Venetian goods intended for England, which prompted the English Ambassador to make a protest, with a letter by Dr WOOTTON citing that "... amongst the sufferers on this occasion was Bartholomeo COMPAGNI and other merchants not native but naturalised English."

The new Queen, Elizabeth, named COMPAGNI in her general pardon, January 1559.

Bartolomeo was intermediary in matters concerning repayment of a debt of £15,000 of Sir Anthony GUYDOTE, under the bonds of the Duke of Florence and the Seignory.
Elizabeth followed the matter up, with a tactful and gentle prompt, in a letter to the Duke, Cosimo MEDICI:
"... Understanding from her Council that a sum of money is due by him to her, the payment of which has been delayed at his request in consequence of the recent wars in Italy, peace now being restored she doubts not he will take an early opportunity of settling this debt, which will be very acceptable to her. This may conveniently be done by Bart COMPAGNI, unless he should prefer some other agent."

As COMPAGNI appears to have been the Consul in England for the Florentine Nation, the Duke would hardly have demurred on the last suggestion.

The last official mention of Bartholomeo I have yet found in Calendars of State Papers was on 23 March 1561, when he, "... or an assign under his will," was granted £1,380 "... out of customs and subsidies due on his wares exported, or to be retained by him or paid by the customers or collectors of customs and subsidies in the Port of London only" in satisfaction of that amount of money owed him by Edward VI, and for "...his service to Edward VI and the present Queen."
This last statement could be interpreted in a way which suggests that there was a lack of continuity in COMPAGNI's service to the Crown during the reign of Queen Mary. We know that he did de-camp to Antwerp for a time, and his dealings there were largely through Henry VIII's factor, Stephen VAUGHAN, known to be a fervent supporter of William TYNDALE, who was martyred as a Protestant. And by the end of Mary's reign, his own natural daughter Margaret (see below) had become the wife of one of Elizabeth TUDOR's own servants, Giovanni Battista CASTIGLIONE, himself imprisoned on more than one occasion on suspicion of having and distributing Protestant literature.

BARTOLOMEO'S DEATH AND BURIAL.

Bartholomeo COMPAGNI died in London, probably at his Broad Street residence, on 27 April 1561, 4 days after his 58th birthday. His will, dated 6 March 1561, made provision for him to be buried in St Paul's Cathedral, or if that was inconvenient, in his own Parish Church of St Christopher-le-Stocks. Henry MACHIN arranged the funeral, and described it in his "Diary of a Londoner" [published by the Camden Society, editor J.G. NICHOLS, 1848]:
"The furst day of May was cared to Powlles to be bered Barthellmuw COMOPANE, a marchand stranger dwelling Cristoffer at the Stokes, and through Chepe, and vj men in blake gowns and hodes, and a xxx gownes for pore men and women of mantyll frys, a liiij in blake gownes; and with-in the gatt of Powlles cherche-yerde mett all the quer of Powlles, and the clarkes of london whent a-for the corse with ther surples onder ther gownes, tyll they cam in-to the Powlles cherche-yerd, and they be-gane to syng: and the quer wher hangyd with black and armes, a iij dosen of skochyons of armes; and VERON dyd pryche, the Frencheman, and after browth ym to the neder end of the stepes under the belles, and bered hym. And after home to dyner."

With apologies for the spelling, no doubt!


[Old St Paul's Cathedral. Destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and replaced by WREN's domed Cathedral.]

The funeral may have been typical for its time in England. It certainly was for Italy. But there may have been an error in interpreting the number of Black Gowns as 54 - the custom was for the exact number of elapsed years in the deceased's life, which here should have been 58. Perhaps "liiij" had been mis-read in error for "lviij."

Bartholomeo's will, dated 6 March, was proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 15 June 1561 (P.C.C. Wills Index - 24 Loftes), as Bart COMPAGNY, alias Nerus alias Dinus, Citizen and Merchant of Florence, died in the City of London.
His widow Margaret COMPAGNI and Stiata CAVALCANTI were named as executors.
He named a number of his relations - brother Nicholas in Florence; two unmarried nieces living in Florence, Margaret and Lucretia, daughters of his brother Dini COMPAGNI; nephew "ex sorore meos" Marco NOMI, Citizen and Merchant in Florence; beloved wife Margaret; beloved son and heir Dino; beloved daughter Mary; dear natural daughter Margaret (see below); nephew Vincento GUICCIARDINI, as a second substitute executor in the event of the death during his children's minority of Stiata CAVALCANTI, of first substitute, Guido CAVALAVANTI; cousin Vincento COMPAGNI (present as witnessing); Maria, daughter of my brother Dino, and wife of Silvestro POPOLESCHI; nephew Galeotto RINIERI; and "mio figliuola" Giulio COMPAGNI.
Also named were a number of others, business and domestic acquaintances, also legal and medical, as well as Peter VANNES (Dean of Salisbury Cathedral and Venetian Ambassador), Guido GENETTA (an earlier-mentioned business colleague and house resident), and Barbara AKE (perhaps in error for ASKE, a name which appeared in the will of Sir John ALLAN, father of illegitimate daughter Margaret COMPAGNI's first husband Lazarus ALLEN).

BARTOLOMEO - TWO MARRIAGES AND THREE FAMILIES.

Bartholomeo COMPAGNI was twice married.
His first wife was Barbara FIAMMINGA, widow of Giovanni CAPONIS (alias John CAPON), another Florentine Merchant Stranger in London, who was dead before 1542 (he was in London by 1515, granted Denization on 1 May 1525, was party to an indenture of Henry VIII dated 3 March 1528 concerning a bond of 10,294 pounds to WOLSEY and Brian TUKE for 26 "...several obligations, of cloths of gold, velvets, satins, and other silks" and in partnership with Francis & John De BARDE and James De CAPONIS, and is last recorded in English records in March 1535).
Bartholomeo married secondly, in 1555, Margherita, daughter of Piero di Francesco CARNESECCHI, a Florentine; she is named executor of his will, and survived him, returning to Firenze where she raised their two lawful children:
1. Mary COMPAGNI; named as a minor in her father's will, 1561.
2. Dino COMPAGNI, baptised at St Christopher-le-Stocks, London, 12 January 1559; married with issue in Firenze.

Historians note a general custom among Italian men of that period to delay marriage in order to consolidate their careers, and that it was usual for them to die leaving young widows with small children; they also note that it was not unknown for them to sire the occasional illegitimate child in the meantime.
Bartholomeo was certainly no exception - about 1535, he sired, by an unknown woman, probably English, and perhaps one of his servants, an illegitimate daughter:
3. Margaret COMPAGNI; named in her father's will, 1561, as his "...dear natural daughter" and wife of John Baptist CASTILLION, whom he made overseer of his will.

In April 1558, Margaret COMPAGNI, by then the widow of Lazarus ALLEN, illegitimate son of Sir John ALLEN, P.C., Lord Mayor of London, married 2ndly, Giovanni Battista CASTIGLIONE, Master of the Italian Tongue to the Lady Elizabeth TUDOR, and Groom of her Privy Chamber when she became Queen. His life and times are the subject of a separate posting on this blog-site.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Bartholomeo was my gtx11 grandfather.

3 comments:

Carlene said...

was he realted to the Frodsham family by marriage? We belong to the Frodsham family. Carlene Reilly New Zealand

Chris PIGOTT said...

Carlene,

I am not familiar with a family connection in Frodsham. Can you elaborate?

Chris PIGOTT.

Pamela said...

Yes, Carlene, he was. I believe! Am researching at the moment and visited his son-in-law's effigy (Castiglione)in St. mary's Church Spene, Berkshire just recently. Reilly was my father's mother's maiden name. We are arranging family re-union in South Is in NZ - Feb 2013. And yes Frodsham was the grandfather of of my father's mother. Frodsham was a stage actor in York in the early 1800's and was about the 9th great grandchild of Bart Compagni who was Castiglione's fatherinlaw..