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Davis [Davies; married name Paisible], Mary [Moll] (c. 1651–1708), actress and royal mistress, was said to be 'a bastard of Collonell Howard, my Lord Barkeshire' (Pepys, 9.24), a phrase which is more likely to refer to Thomas Howard (...


Eleanor Gwyn (1651?–1687) by Gerard Valck, c. 1673 (after Sir Peter Lely, c. 1670) © National Portrait Gallery, London


Gwyn, Eleanor [Nell] (1651?–1687), actress and royal mistress, was born, according to a contemporary horoscope, on 2 February 1651. Her parentage remains obscure, as does her place of birth. Nell had a sister named Rose and her mother was Helena (d...