Who Was Anne Arundel?
And how should we spell her name?
Anne Arundel is a name we know hereabouts — in one spelling or another. There’s Anne Arundel County, Arundel roads galore and the Ann Arrundell Historical Society, to name a few.
Behind the name is a woman, Anne Arundell, who lived in England about the same time as Shakespeare. The Arundel family name had its impact on us due to Anne’s 1628 marriage into the influential Calvert family.
Each variant spelling of her name is as good as the next. She’s often cited as Anne, but sometimes Ann. Her family surname, generally spelled Arundell, appears in some sources as Arundel or even Arrundell.
“In Anne’s day,” Dr. Henry Miller, historian of Saint Mary’s City told us, “only an unclever person spelled a name in only one way.”
Double ells, however, have their proponent. Barry William, author of The Arundells of Wardour, claims that Anne’s line spelled their name with two ells, he says, while the one-el Arundel family clustered around Sussex and Yorkshire.
The Arundell family was of Norman lineage and came into England during the 1400s with William the Conqueror.
Anne Arundell’s father, Lord Thomas Arundell of Wardour, was sent by Queen Elizabeth I in 1595 to fight Muslim invaders. After a victory in Hungary, the Holy Roman emperor made him and his posterity Counts of the Holy Roman Empire.
Queen Elizabeth was miffed. “Others should not place brands on my sheep,” she grumbled. A few years later, in 1605, King James I made things right by giving him an English title, Lord Arundell of Wardour.
Anne was born at Wardour in 1615. A beauty, as you can see in her portrait, at age 13 she married family ally Cecil Calvert, the Second Lord Baltimore, who was dedicated to establishing a new English colony in Maryland. Anne and likely her father supported him in his efforts.
Lord Arundell built Anne and Cecil a stone house called Hook Farm Manor within view of Wardour Castle. From there Cecil oversaw the early years of Maryland and the couple raised their children, including Charles (the third Lord Baltimore) and Cecil’s half-brother Philip Calvert, of later importance to Maryland history.
After Lord Arundell’s death, the couple used Anne’s inheritance to help fund the new colony.
Neither Anne nor her husband ever visited the colony they helped found. But they left evidence of their affection. Anne decorated the ceiling of her sitting room at Hook Farm Manor with plaster reliefs of the Ark and the Dove, the ships that delivered the first settlers to Maryland’s shores.
Upon Anne’s death in 1649, at 34, her husband composed an inscription for her tomb: Here lies Anne Arundell, Lady Baltimore. Farewell to you most lovely of earthly beauties. In his accompanying verse, Cecil describes her as the most beautiful and best wife.
Apparently, the Second Lord Baltimore’s respect for his late wife extended well beyond the English borders. After Anne’s death, the Maryland Assembly voted to name Anne Arundel County in her honor.