from Knole and the Sackvilles, V. Sackville-West, 1948, pp.141-3.
It is not surprising that Lord Dorset left a number of illegitimate children: we know of at least four for certain, and there was probably a fifth, a son, as it is difficult to account otherwise for the William Sackville who writes, signing a remarkably ungrammatical letter with a remarkably beautiful signature, to ask for money, as he has lately “gained the affection of a young lady”, and this, he promises, will be “the last trouble that ever I shall give your Lordship; it would come very seasonable to my present circumstances who has been harassed and ruined by the fate of war this four years past and have done the government good service, and never rewarded as those that deserved it less has.” The other four were daughters. There is a petition at Knole from one of them:
To the Right Hon. Charles Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, Lord Chamberlain of Their Majesties’ Household, the humble petition of Mary Sackville: That it having pleased ye Almighty to lay his afflicting hand on your petitioner’s husband and her two small children for a long time together, having nothing to live upon but his own hands’ labour, which failing him during his sickness all his family have suffered thereby and been put to great straights and having received much of your Honour’s charity, is now … [illegible] but hopes that your Lordship will consider it is the hand of accident that is hard upon her. Your petitioner therefore humbly prays that your Honour will be pleased to bestow something on her this time that she may undergo her calamity with a little more cheerfulness and alacrity.
According to the will of this Mary Sackville, her circumstances must have improved, for she leaves £1000 “for the benefit of Katharine Sackville my sister or reputed sister who was born of the body of Mrs Phillipa Waldgrave, deceased, my late mother or reputed mother.” This will is dated 1684, so I should think the Katharine Sackville referred to is probably the “K.S.” who was buried at Withyham, aged fourteen, in 1690 - humble little initials among the Lady Annes and Lady Elizabeths who surround her. She had been provided for in Lord Dorset’s will also:
To my natural daughter Katharine Sackville, alias Walgrave, £1000. To my natural daughter Mary Sackville, alias Walgrave, £200, and £2000 before settled on her. To my natural daughter An [sic] Lee, alias Sackville the sum of £500.
It thus seems probable that these daughters were the children of two different mothers, Lee and Walgrave, Waldgrave, Waldegrave, as it was variously spelt. An agreement at Knole, dated 1674, provides for Phillipa Walgrave to receive interest on £1000 placed in Mr Guy’s hands by Lord Dorset, the interest on it to be paid to her yearly, and after her marriage to Mary Sackville until her marriage or until the age of 21, but if Mrs Walgrave marries, the £1000 is to be paid to her. Another natural daughter, also named Mary, married Lord Orrery, but I do not know who was her mother.