Joan Beaufort’s daughters – part 2

Eleanor Neville was married in the first instance to Richard le Despenser who was a cousin – his grandfather was Edmund of Langley, Duke of York one of Edward III’s sons. He died during his teens leaving a sister as his sole heiress.

A second marriage was arranged for Eleanor to Henry Percy the son of ‘Hotspur’. The marriage between the Nevilles and Percys which was contracted in May 1412 provided a link between the two dominant northern families. Henry Percy’s father and grandfather had both rebelled against Henry IV and paid with their lives. Young Henry grew up across the border in Scotland. Henry V favoured reconciliation but if Percy was to return to favour and regain his family lands and titles he had to be kept in line. Marriage to one of the Earl of Westmorland’s daughters was one of the caveats to Percy’s restoration. The marriage took place in Berwick in 1414 but Percy did not receive his grandfather’s earldom for another two years. It has been suggested that King Henry V who was waging war in France did not want Percy in Scotland and the Southampton Plot of 1415 was a reminder of the constant rebellions and uprisings plotted against Henry IV from the point that he usurped his cousin Richard II’s throne. The Percy family were restored to many of their lands but they did not regain their Yorkshire properties which became an increasingly bitter point of contention between the Nevilles and the Percys as the fifteenth century progressed. In 1453 the marriage of Eleanor’s nephew Thomas Percy to Maud Stanhope the nice of Lord Cromwell resulted in the feud escalating into violence.

Henry fought in France but seems to have mainly fulfilled the traditional role of the Percys on the border between England and Scotland. He also seems to have come under the political patronage of Eleanor’s uncle the wily Cardinal Beaufort.

Whatever the interfamilial relationships might have been like at a regional and national level Eleanor and Henry had at least ten children. Their eldest surviving son Henry who became the 3rd Earl was killed at Towton on the Lancastrian side in 1461 as was his younger brother Richard. Their second son Thomas Lord Egremont who was instrumental in the violence at Haworth Moor in 1453 was killed in 1460 at the Battle of Northampton.Ralph was killed in 1464 at the Battle of Hedgeley Moor. Eleanor had no reason to love her nephew the Kingmaker – thanks to the wars between Lancaster and York only two of her sons survived.

George the Rector of Rothbury and Caldbeck died in the same year as his mother and William became the Bishop of Carlisle but died in 1462. One of William’s sisters, Joan, became a nun.

Katherine Percy married Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent – His mother was part of the Holland family descended from Joan of Kent the mother of Richard II by her first marriage and his father was one of the Greys of Ruthin and an active Lancastrian. Katherine’s son Anthony married one of Elizabeth Woodville’s sisters but there were not children from the union and he predeceased his father. Their second son George, who succeeded his father to the earldom, was also married to a Woodville sister – Anne who died in 1489. After her death he married into the Herbert family. Meanwhile Katherine’s daughter Elizabeth married back into the northern gentry network being contracted to Sir Robert Greystoke and her sister Anne married John Grey 8th Baron Grey of Wilton. The Greys of Wilton and Ruthin were different branches of the same family. And yes, Elizabeth Woodville’s first husband was part of the extended family network but that would require another family tree and I don’t need one of those just at the moment. Although – if nothing else it adds fuel to the concept of the naming of the Cousins War – they were all related one way or another!

2 thoughts on “Joan Beaufort’s daughters – part 2

  1. I’m descended from the marriage of the two de Greys, Lord John 7th Baron of Wilton & Lady Anne from the Ruthin branch mentioned above, through their son Baron Edmond 9th de Grey. As far as I can ascertain the origin of the de Greys could have been in Normandy where Antichell de Grey was born early 1100s.

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