About the Digby Family
In 1627 Digby undertook a privateering expedition against the French ships anchored in the Venetian haven of Iskanderun or Alexandretta. Having got King Charles's leave and taken out letters of marque, he sailed from Deal with two well-equipped ships about Christmas, and after various adventures on the voyage, he reached Iskanderun 10 June, 1628. On the morrow he gave battle to the French and Venetian galleys there found in the bay, coming off victorious and returning leisurely to England, where he landed in the following February.
Digby's fame was now great, and in 1632 there was even talk of his becoming a secretary of state, but misfortune was nigh. On May Day, 1633, his beloved wife, whose marriage with him had for some years been made public, died suddenly. Various poets, Ben Jonson and William Habington among them, put forth rapturous poems in her praise. Digby withdrew into Gresham College, where he spent two years, leading in strange mourning garb a life of study and seclusion. By this time he had forsaken the Catholic Church, to which, however, he was reconciled in 1636, apparently in France. In 1639 he was back in England, where the times were daily growing worse and worse. His intimacy as a Catholic with the king and queen roused the ire of the Long Parliament, who summoned him to their Bar in 1641, and next year imprisoned him. He was discharged, however, after a while, on condition of his immediate departure for France. His property they afterwards proceeded to confiscate. Digby accordingly transferred his abode to Paris, where in 1644 he brought out his two great philosophical treatises of the "Nature of Bodies" and the "Immortality of Reasonable Souls". In 1645 he was sent by the English Catholic Committee at Paris upon a diplomatic mission to Rome, whither he went again in 1647, but failed to accomplish anything to the purpose. After another journey to England in 1649 and another banishment, he got leave to return and came back in 1654. He now became intimate with Cromwell, who employed him abroad upon various diplomatic affairs. He returned to England for good at the Restoration. Upon the incorporation of the Royal Society in 1663, Sir Kenelm was appointed one of the council. He died of stone on the anniversary of his sea-fight off Iskanderun, and was buried beside his wife in Christ Church, Newgate. Van Dyck painted several (extant) portraits of Sir Kenelm and Lady Digby, and Cornelius Janssen one of the latter.
LEE in Dict. Nat. Biog., XV, 60 sqq., Gillow, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath., II, 70.Sqq.; WOOD, Athenae; Oxon., III, 688; Journey of Scanderoon Voyage. ed. CAMDEN SOC. (Westminster, 1868); Evelyn's Diary, passim.
|A Timeline for the life of Jane Digby|
|The decendents of Jane Digby|
|Sir Everard Digby - biographic notes|
|Sir Everard Digby and his involvement with the Gunpowder plot|
|The Gunpowder Plot|
|Sir Kenelme Digby - biographic notes|
|Sir Kenelme Digby - some interesting recipes|
|See photographs connected with the Digbys|
|You will find part of Jane Digby's family tree here|
|Visit the site of Mary S Lovell who's biography of Jane is the finest available.|
|Jane Digby - a TV Version of her life!|
|The Lind Pages|
|e-mail the Linds|