Sedley, Catharine (1657–1717)

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Sedley, Catharine (1657–1717)

Countess of Dorchester. Name variations: Katherine Sedley; Baroness of Darlington. Born in 1657; died in 1717; only child of Sir Charles Sedley (c. 1639–1701, a writer and member of Parliament); associated with James II (1633–1701), king of England (r. 1685–1689); married Sir David Colyear, in 1696; children: (with James II) Katherine Darnley (c. 1680–1743, who married James, earl of Anglesey, and was associated with John Sheffield, duke of Buckingham); James Darnley (b. 1684); Charles Darnley.

Catharine Sedley inherited her renowned wit from her father, Sir Charles Sedley, a playwright and member of Parliament who was also known for his stylish profligacy. As mistress to the duke of York (later James II, king of England), Catharine had three children. In 1686, she was created baroness of Darlington and countess of Dorchester. She married Sir David Colyear, 2nd baronet, in 1696.