Mary (née Kirke), Lady Vernon(after 1646-1711), Courtier; wife of Sir Thomas Vernon of Hodnet, Bt
Sitter in 4 portraits
Maid of Honour to Mary of Modena, Duchess of York (1673-75) and mistress of the Duke of Monmouth. Her father George Kirke, an impoverished royalist, was Groom of the Bedchamber to Charles II and Housekeeper of Whitehall Palace. Mary Kirke and her sister Diana (later Countess of Oxford) both conducted notorious affairs at court. In 1675 she took refuge in a convent in France but subsequently became the mistress of Sir Thomas Vernon, 2nd Bt. of Hodnet, whom she married in May 1677. She died at Greenwich in 1711.