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Approach to the Other Gender
Approach to Politics, Society and religion
In 1677, Sarah's brother Ralph died, and she and her sister, Frances, became co-heirs of the Jennings estates in Hertfordshire and Kent. John Churchill chose Sarah over Catherine Sedley, and they were secretly married in the winter of 1677.
They were both Protestants in a court that was predominantly Catholic, a belief which would later influence their political allegiances. Although no date was recorded, the marriage was announced only to the Duchess of York, and a small circle of friends, so that Sarah could keep her court position as Maid of Honour.
When she became pregnant, her marriage was announced publicly (on 1 October 1678), and Sarah retired from the court to give birth to her first child, Harriet, who died in infancy. When the Duke of York went into self-imposed exile to Scotland as a result of the furore surrounding the Popish Plot, John and Sarah accompanied him, and Charles II rewarded John's loyalty by creating him Baron Churchill of Eyemouth in Scotland, Sarah thus becoming Lady Churchill. The Duke of York returned to England after the religious tension had eased, and Sarah was appointed a Lady of the Bedchamber to Anne after the latter's marriage in 1683.