Bankes, Mary (1598–1661)

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Bankes, Mary (1598–1661)

British royalist. Name variations: Lady Mary Bankes or Banks; Brave Dame Mary. Born Mary Hawtrey, 1598, in Ruislip, England; died April 11, 1661, in Damory Court, Blanford, Dorset, England; dau. of Ralph Hawtrey of Ruislip and Mary Althan (aristocrats); m. Sir John Bankes (prosecutor and later chief justice of Court of Common Pleas), 1618; children: 8 daughters, 6sons.

During English Civil Wars, was a Royalist who held Dorset's Corfe Castle while husband stayed with King Charles I in London; eventually turned over 4 remaining guns of castle to local Parliamentary Committee on their demands (1643); when a force of some 600, led by Sir Walter Earle, attacked with 2 siege engines (1643), personally defended the upper ward of the castle with only 5 soldiers, her daughters, and her women attendants, and prevented a breach in the castle's defenses; was besieged again after husband's death (1645), but a traitor apparently gave the enemy entry to the castle; permitted to depart without injury to herself and children.

See also Women in World History.

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Bankes, Mary (1598–1661)

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