Ann Arrundell, Lady Baltimore
(1615 – 1649)
Anne Arundel County is one of a kind.
You can find a Washington county in more than half of the states, including Maryland, and there are numerous Jefferson and Jackson counties across the country. Other common names for counties include Lincoln, Madison, Marshall and Franklin.
But there is only one Anne Arundel County.
Although the name is spelled differently now, the county was named for Ann Arrundell, who played an important supporting role in the formation and development of Maryland.
Ann Arrundell was born in 1615 into an English family of noble lineage. Her father, Sir Thomas Arrundell of Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, England, had served under King James I, and her great-grandmother had been related by marriage to King Henry VIII.
Ann was reputedly very beautiful, with many potential husbands. But in 1628 when she was only 13, she married Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, who was a close friend of her family. Like the Calverts, Ann’s family was Catholic, and her father was arrested a number of times because he refused to give up his religion. Cecil’s marriage to Ann was fortunate for the creation of Maryland.
Ann inherited land and money from her father, which she and Cecil used to fund the new colony. But there was more to Ann than just her money. She played an important role in raising her son Charles, the future Third Lord Baltimore, as well as her husband’s younger half-brother Philip, who served as Governer and Chancellor of Maryland.
During her 20-year marriage to Cecil, Ann bore nine children, but only three lived to become adults. She was much loved, and when she died at age 34, her husband composed a memorial verse for her tomb in England in which he described her as “the most beautiful and best wife.” The memorial continued, “Here lieth Anne Arundell, Lady Baltimore. Farewell to you most lovely of earthly beauties.”
Although neither she nor her husband ever visited the colony that they helped found, Ann was very interested in Maryland. She even decorated the ceiling of their home in England with plaster reliefs of the Ark and the Dove, the ships that brought the first colonists to Maryland.
Indirectly, Ann Arrundell played an important role in the early years of Maryland, and she seems to have been well-loved and respected. In 1649, the Maryland Assembly chose to honor Ann after her death by naming Anne Arundel County after her.
This biography was excerpted from the Case Studies section of the Library in Exploring Maryland’s Roots, part of the educational materials posted on the Maryland Public Television website. Case studies and biographies included in the library were researched and written by Emily Oland Squires, Jennifer Copeland, and Maria Day, of the Maryland State Archives