This article is about an English girl. For other uses, see Catherine (disambiguation).
"It seems to me there might be three plots now: one to free Mary Stuart, and make her queen, a second to kill Elizabeth, and then another. I'm not sure what the third plot is, but there is something, and I will find out."
—Kitty Lumsden[3]

Catherine Anne "Kitty" Lumsden (born May 1571) was the daughter of Matilda Middleton and Nicholas Lumsden. She lived in London with her family during the reign of Elizabeth I. Her best friend and favorite cousin was Edmund Middleton.


Early life

She was born as Catherine Anne Lumsden in May 1571 to her parents, Matilda "Tilly" Middleton and Nicholas Lumsden. Her father worked for Queen Elizabeth and was often away on assignments. Kitty had five siblings, Richard, Joseph, Harry, George, and Elizabeth.

Kitty lived near her cousins, Kathryn and Edmund Middleton, the latter being her favorite. She also studied reading, writing, Latin, and history with a tutor until she turned twelve in May 1583.

1583 – 1586


Kitty's mother, Tilly at thirteen

In November 1583, Kitty received a diary from her mother, who had kept a diary since she was Kitty's age. She later visited Edmund at his home in the Tower of London, where they learn about Francis Throckmorton. Many prisoners of the Tower at that time were charged with plotting to overthrow the Queen, including Throckmorton. Later, Kitty's brother, Joseph introduced his friend, Anthony Babington to his family.

Edmund became a physician's apprentice to his father, William, leaving little time for him and Kitty to spend together. Their parents allowed them to study Latin together, but really talked the whole time. In July 1584, the Lumsdens' vacation in the country for three, before returning home. A friend of her parents, Francis Walsingham often visited their home. Kitty often listened at the door to their conversations, hearing news about Mary, Queen of Scots, who some wanted to replace Queen Elizabeth.

The Lumsdens' went on vacation again in February 1585 to visit here father's parents. Kitty later started writing coded messages to Edmund in order to avoid his sister, Kathryn. Gradually over the following months, Kitty learned about Babington's plot to overthrow the Queen and place Mary on the throne, as well as Walsingham's holding the latter complicit in the plot. Babington and his co-conspirators were arrested and later executed in September 1586. A month later, Kitty traveled to Greenwich Palace with her family and met the Queen.

Personality and traits

Like her mother, Kitty was extremely curious, always wanting to know the goings-on around her house and the Tower of London. She was particularly interested in Mary, Queen of Scots and her followers, who plotted to overthrow Queen Elizabeth. Kitty eavesdropped and feigned sleep at times to hear more information.

Kitty had a vivid imagination and loved making up fanciful stories. Her tendency to fantasize and exaggerate, made others not take her claims too seriously at times. She was also good at keeping secrets and nicknamed herself, "Kitty the Silent."

Family tree

The Middleton-Lumsden Family Tree
Mr. Middleton
Mrs. Middleton
William Middleton
Frances Lea
Matilda Middleton
(b. 1540)
Nicholas Lumsden
Jack Middleton
(b. 1550)
Harry Middleton
(b. 1553)
Mary Middleton
(b. 1554)
Susannah Middleton
(b. 1554)
Edward Middleton
(b. 1556)
Kathryn Middleton
(b. 1567)
Edmund Middleton
Richard Lumsden
Joseph Lumsden
Catherine Lumsden
(b. 1571)
Harry Lumsden
George Lumsden
Elizabeth Lumsden

Behind the scenes



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