Simon was the son of Sir Mark Steward, of Stantney on the Isle of Ely, by
his wife, Anna, the daughter of Dr. Robert Huick,
one of Queen Elizabeth I's physicians. He was born on his maternal
grandfather's property at Shinfield
in Berkshire and was brother to Lady Forster of Aldermaston
House. Sir Mark was the son of another Sir Simeon, who was a brother
of Robert Steward, Dean of Ely Cathedral.
According to an old family legend recorded on Sir Mark's memorial, an ancestor sailed
with his relative, James I of Scots, from his home near Dundee, was captured
by the English off Flamborough Head in 1405, married an Englishwoman and,
having transferred his allegiance to Henry V of England, settled in
Cambridgeshire. The poet's father received the honour of knighthood at
Whitehall in July 1603. He was then seventy-nine years old and he died in
the following November, when a splendid monument, with a recumbent figure,
was erected by his son to his memory in the south aisle of Ely Cathedral.
Steward was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and, while still in
residence, was knighted by James I of England at Whitehall, previous to
his Coronation on 23rd July 1603. He lived at Trinity Hall for many years
and was known to Robert Herrick and Thomas Fuller, who describes the
coat-of-arms which Steward caused to be carved over his chimneypiece. The
room was probably the "chamber under ye Library West," but the
arms have long since disappeared. In 1614, he represented Shaftesbury in
Parliament. In 1624, he was returned for Cambridgeshire but his election was
declared void upon a petition. In 1627, however, he entered Parliament
again as member for Aldeburgh. A defaced copy of some elegiac verses upon
the death of Sir S. Steward, undated, but probably written in 1629, would
refer his death to this year.
sent Steward some verses as a new year's gift in January 1624, in full
confidence of his appreciation. For the knight was the possessor of a small
claim to rank as a poet himself. Inspired, it would appear, by Spenser and
Shakespeare, he wrote a graceful poem called 'The Faerey King'. This
appeared under his name in a volume entitled 'A Description of the King and
Queene of Fayries: Their Habit, Fare, their Abode, Pompe and State' (1635).
Steward's contribution to the volume was reprinted in 'Musarum
Edited from Sidney Lee's 'Dictionary of National Biography' (1898).
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