This article written by Glenda Moore.
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In 1601, near the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the third Earl of Southampton, Henry Wriothesley, was incarcerated in the Tower of London for his support of the Earl of Essex's rebellion. During his stay, he was joined by his favorite cat, a black and white female called Trixie.
Legend has it that the cat made her own way across London from Southampton House, clambering across roofs and scaling walls until she found the chimney to Henry's cell and climbed down. This tale was put into writing by antiquarian Thomas Pennant. A more likely story is that Trixie was smuggled into the cell by Henry's wife.
Trixie kept her master company in his tower cell for about two years, when he was released due to the accession of James I in 1603.
Wriothesley commissioned a painting with painter John de Critz the elder shortly after his release. The painting, shown above, was to include Trixie, who is shown as a black cat with white markings to her face, a snowy white bib, and white forepaws, sitting by the right arm of the Earl. The painting can be seen at Boughton House, the English Versailles.
Henry Wriothesley (b. 1573, d. 1624, plague) had a rich and varied life, including becoming a patron of Shakespeare.
Tower of London cats:
- Henry Wriothesley and his cat Trixie
- Sir Henry Wyatt and the Caterer Cat
- John Augustus Bonney and Citizen