Margaret Ferrers of Groby, Countess of Warwick

Illustration of funeral effigies of Margaret and her husband at St Mary’s Church, Warwick

Yesterday I explored the Beauchamp link to the Mortimer family. The Beauchamps allied themselves to the Mortimer claim to the Crown in 1405. Katherine Mortimer’s second son Thomas became the 12th Earl of Warwick. This earl was a Lord Appellant who acted against Richard II. In 1397 he was charged with treason having been lured to London. The Beauchamp Tower gets its name from his incarceration there. It was a bit of a tricky time as he lost his estates, spent a year on the Isle of Man and then returned to the Tower. He was released when Richard II was deposed. Perhaps unsurprisingly he was not a huge fan of Richard and his was one of the voices urging King Henry IV to rid himself permanently of his cousin.

However, I’m supposed to be posting about the earl’s wife. Margaret Ferrers of Groby who came before Richard II on October 13 1397 to plead her husband’s case. The king was at Westminster and it was recorded that he was so incensed that he threatened to have her executed. Margaret’s father, William 3rd Baron Ferrers of Groby, was a descendent of King Edward I and her mother, Margaret d’Ufford, was a daughter and co-heiress of the Earl of Suffolk.

Margaret was not an heiress, she was younger than her husband and they were married by 1380. Her husband became earl because his elder brother Guy predeceased their father. Guy had been married to Philippa de Ferrers.She joined a confraternity at St Albans in that year as the Countess of Warwick. Although the marriage did not bring wealth it did bring closer ties to the Warwickshire gentry. William Lord Groby had consolidated his land holdings in the county. In addition to the benefits of local politics, Margaret was related not only to the earls of Suffolk but through her father’s second marriage to the Percy family. Somewhat ironically, the Ferrers of Groby would be replaced by the Grey family when Elizabeth Ferrers became the heir to the family lands including those at Stebbing in Essex which came into the family with Margaret d’Ufford.

Margaret was widowed in 1401 but did not outlive Thomas by many years, dying in 1407 having provided her husband with a son Richard who inherited his father’s title.

3 thoughts on “Margaret Ferrers of Groby, Countess of Warwick

  1. Think it hard then to life try being titled educated and able in modern world who just see you as old fart wasting time reading a book or building gardens .What for asked six young chaps over my fence watching me.Our maid asked what was I doing cutting trees into chess pieces ? Why do we like tea on the lawn whats wrong with inside? Not to me I must add but she came with good papers .I think she worked in a cafe maybe before. I told her that to carry on here one must be silent minding own business and be able to know when we need something. It could be useful to ask and then one would know more not exact your unease at what the owners get up to. next a visit at my gates from her bully of a father .Im looking for agency who train house servants but modern times do not seem to exist .
    They had it good in history as everyone knew what place belonged to each . This is our 3rd nasty girl who came cap in hand for 200 a week and lodgings.Oh! yes I have skills and loyalty to my employers . Serve tea of course . Clean up no problem .Then first day lit up a cigarette over cake in pantry. Next day served tea in unwashed cups fag ash on her apron.
    Then caught reading my letters from my drawer in desk .It was all too much so glad she left in huff. One has to be careful what when allowing anyone in your abode. But staff now thing they are as good if not a ladder rung better than old farts who have money titles and land now. sad but its an outlook that will be with us from now on all over .No one sees authority no one really wants work and every one thinks themselves someone without work with out cash they deserve to have it all what you have why should you have a house and gardens I want it. I ordered a 12 gauge again I said for deer but its for protection in todays world.
    I should not have bothered employing but big house and building gardens all the time need just s sample of civility and help in the house and tea in the gardens in early afternoon as we dont eat luncheon. Only half hour rest then back at it . Guests come to garden parties once every two months cant see why one could not serve drinks or help in someway but no they want to sit as we and be feed? I do all the cooking anyway as i built the domed ovens. Who trains staff these days I doubt if any one would do it now.?

    • I have the feeling that the problems you describe may arouse only a limited amount of sympathy – as the descendent of straw weavers I for one am hugely grateful to live in the age that I do. I have been blessed with education, choice and opportunity – none of which would have been available to me before WW2. I’m sure that there is a service for training house staff – after all there are still a large number of stately homes run very efficiently by men and women who love the houses in which they work or perhaps it is the result of in-house training? It does sound rather like Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. Perhaps you should turn your hand to novel writing – it sounds as though you may have all the material.

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