Cecily Chaumpaigne

St. Cecilia by Ford Maddox Brown

Little is known about Cecily (or Cecilia) Chaumpaigne, including whether or not Chaucer’s literary depiction of virgin martyr St. Cecilia derived from his real-life acquaintance. Instead, much of the speculation revolves around her family. Her father William Chaumpaigne (or Champneys) was likely a baker whose 1360 will mentioned a wife Agnes and daughter Cecily. Cecily’s mother, as listed in her quitclaims, was William’s wife Agnes Chaumpaigne. One hypothesis has Alice Perrers, a courtesan and former mistress of the king, as Cecily’s stepmother (for the hypothesis and discussion, see Braddy 1977 and Harley 1993).