Margaret Beaufort’s other family – the final bit for now.

478px-Lady_Margaret_Beaufort_from_NPGTwo of Margaret Beaufort’s half-siblings married into the Scrope family. The Scropes were an important North Yorkshire family who spent a lot of time on the borders fighting the Scots. Elizabeth St John was initially married to William la Zouche, the fifth baron. The Zouches were later attainted for their loyalty to Richard III but by then Elizabeth having been widowed in 1462 had married John Scrope, Baron Scrope of Bolton (Bolton Castle in Wensleydale) and another good Yorkist.


Elizabeth, despite her Lancastrian antecidents, was one of Edward V’s godparents. Perhaps this isn’t so surprising given that Margaret Beaufort was herself godmother to one of Edward IV’s daughters. It reflects the fact that all parties thought that the battle for the throne was over and were settling down to winning power and influence under the Yorkist regime. There was no reason to suppose that Edward IV would die young and leave a minor on the throne.


John Scrope despite being Henry Tudor’s step-uncle supported Richard III at Bosworth so required a pardon, which was forthcoming. Unfortunately he then became involved with Lambert Simnel’s rebellion of 1487 and was forced to pay a large fine and stay in London. Ultimately his services as a northern lord were required for the traditional activity of fighting the Scots which he did in 1497 by which time Henry’s Aunt Elizabeth had died.


Elizabeth’s brother Oliver, the younger of the two St John sons married the twice widowed Elizabeth Scrope of Bolton, sister of John Scrope. Elizabeth Scope had been married firstly to John Bigod of Settrington. He died as a result of injuries sustained at the Battle of Towton in 1461. She then married Henry Rochford who died in 1470 though whether it was from natural causes or a nasty case of soldiering is unknown. When Elizabeth died in 1503 she was buried next to husband number two in Stoke Rochford. Oliver died in Fonterabia in Spain according to an 1816 writer who mentions it in passing. Rather frustratingly I have n’t yet found any other information so have no idea whether this is true and if it is what he was doing in Spain prior to his death.


As for the rest of Margaret Beaufort’s St John family – the other one of note is another Margaret (must have been a little confusing), who became the Abbess of Shaftesbury in 1460 having been sent into the religious life as a child.



‘House of Benedictine nuns: The abbey of Shaftesbury’, in A History of the County of Dorset: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1908), pp. 73-79. British History Online [accessed 14 July 2016].

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