About JuliaH

I teach history courses for the Workers' Educational Association as well as giving talks on various history topics across Yorkshire and the Midlands as well as talks about the history and creation of cross stitch samplers and blackwork embroidery.

Edward of Middleham

Edward Middleham?

Anne Neville the widow of the Lancastrian heir Edward was widowed at the age of fourteen having been married off by her father the Earl of Warwick when he decided that putting King Henry VI back on the throne was a better option than allowing King Edward IV to continue to rule. By the middle of May 1471 Anne had gone from being the daughter of an earl and a princess to the widow and daughter of traitors – without cash or land. However, by the following year Anne was married to Richard Duke of Gloucester despite the fact that his brother George Duke of Clarence was against the match because he wanted to control all of the estates associated with the Earldom of Warwick by right of his own wife Isabel, Anne’s sister. Oh and by the way neither of them were entitled to any of it because Warwick’s wife, Countess Anne, was the suo jure Countess of Warwick – or in her own right. Not that it mattered. King Edward IV simply arranged for Parliament to declare her legally dead.

Anne Neville, Richard III and Edward of Middleham – the Rous Roll

Edward created Earl of Salisbury during infancy by his uncle King Edward IV lived his short life in Yorkshire. His parents were celebrating Easter at Nottingham Castle in 1384 when word arrived that he died suddenly. One of the mysteries around Anne Neville and Richard III’s son was his age. He might have been born in 1473 or as late as 1477. It appears that his household was still largely female so he is more likely to have been a younger rather than older boy.

The lengthy aside demonstrates that although we don’t know exactly where or when Anne married Richard that we have a year – and add nine months for the earliest date Edward might have been born. he was named after his chief godparent – Richard’s brother, King Edward IV. Tradition says that he was born in Middleham but tradition isn’t quite the same a recorded fact. By 1477 he starts to appear in the written record and his doting uncle gave him his great grandfather’s title which had been lost by Warwick when he turned traitor and died at the Battle of Barnet in 1471. Accounts show that he received £20 a year from estates in Wiltshire.

Edward spent his childhood at Middleham and Sheriff Hutton – once in the hands of the Nevilles now in the hands of Anne’s husband who ruled the north on behalf of the king. History records the name of his wet nurse – Isabel Burgh – who may have been related to a mistress of Richard and also Anne Idley the mistress of the boy’s nursery. Anne Idley’s husband Peter was the author of a book on the education of boys which perhaps explains her appointment. In April 1483 Edward’s life changed – his uncle died.

The griffin of Salisbury from the front page of De re Militari the Book of Vegecye of Dedes of Knyghthode) held by the British Library (Royal 18 A XII) thought to have been commissioned for Edward of Middleham. The initial letter of the front page depicts the royal arms supported by two boars and Anne Neville’s arms appear later.

By July Richard was king and Anne was his queen. Edward became the heir to the throne. He didn’t travel to London either for the coronation or the Christmas festivities that year. There are any number of reasons for this from safety considerations, to young age, to ill health – the last of which is usually assumed. However, on 29th August 1483 Edward and his family were at York where they were welcomed by the mayor with a pageant and a play before retiring to the archbishop of York’s house. it was said by Edward Hall that Anne led her son through the streets of York by the hand. Edward was being formally invested as Prince of Wales and knighted by his father. At the same time as he was knighted so was his half-brother John of Pontefract and his cousin Edward Earl of Warwick – the son of Isabel Neville and George Duke of Clarence. There’s no indication if this was the first time the three boys met but it is the first written reference to them being together. In total the family were in York for three weeks before Anne and her son retired to Middleham and Richard continued his progress to Lincoln where the wheels rather came off the cart when news of Buckingham’s Rebellion arrived.

King Richard’s accounts provide an insight into the boy’s life in the summer of 1483 but the record becomes almost silent until news of his death at the end of March 1483. Nor can we be certain that he is buried in Sheriff Hutton were a tomb of a small boy wearing what looks like a coronet may be found. We know from Richard III’s itinerary that he – and presumably Anne- left Nottingham almost as soon as they heard the news of Edward’s death. The couple were consumed by grief and it is possible that Richard ignored the precedent of monarchs not attending their children’s funerals because he was in Middleham at the beginning of May. It is plausible that Edward lies in Middleham still. The tomb at Sheriff Hutton may date to the first half rather than the second half of the Fifteenth century. And why the lack of certainty?

Well – when Anne died in 1485 she had no monument either. Richard was in the process of commissioning a very fine chantry in York but he ran out of time by the end of the summer he would also be dead and Henry Tudor would be on the throne. It was perfectly normal for bodies to be translated to their final resting place when the chantry chapel in which they were to be interred was complete. Richard may have intended for his wife and son to be buried in Middleham, Barnard Castle or York – but once he was killed at Bosworth no one at the time had any interest in remembering him or his family.

if you’re looking for a good read why not try Amy Licence – The Lost Kings which covers the boys who never became king in the houses of Lancaster, York and Tudor.

John D’ Earley –

Possible arms of John D’Earley – an image was found at Chepstow Castle painted on the walls there. His grandson was the so-called ‘White Knight’ who served King Edward I.

Like William Marshall, John was linked to the court of Henry II. His father was the king’s chamberlain but he died when John was still only 8. D’Earley senior left money towards the foundation of Buckland Abbey in Devon and John became a royal ward. In 1185 or thereabouts when John was 14 his wardship was passed into the hands of William Marshal. In time John became Marshal’s squire and married Sybil who was probably Marshal’s illegitimate niece. In 1194 John was knighted by Marshal and took control of his estates.

Where Marshal went so did John. And when Marshal was summoned back to England in 1207 because King John was feeling spiteful it was John who remained with Marshal’s pregnant wife. He was responsible for the administration of the southern half go Leinster. When King John’s plans to ruin Marshal failed to work D’Earley was one of the knights summoned to England in 1208. He was allowed back to Ireland but was taken hostage by King John when Marshal protected William De Braose. John found himself in Nottingham Castle for a time. But when the king needed Marshal D’Earely was released and was also given custody of Marshal’s eldest son William. By 1213 D’Earley was marshal of the royal household and Sheriff of Devon.

D’Earley was by Marshal’s side during the First Baron’s War, for Magna Carta and for the regency of King Henry III. When Marshal fell ill and was transported by boat to Caversham in 1219 D’Earley went to Marshal’s side and remained there until his mentor and friend died. He continued to be part of the Marshal affinity until his own death. England’s most loyal knight had a very loyal knight of his own.

https://www.berkshirehistory.com/bios/jdearley.html

From mandrake to secret passages, silk beds in boxes and 99 year leases – the delights of Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey near Melbourne in Derbyshire is one of my favourite National Trust properties ever! On Friday we took the opportunity to visit it before the summer holiday. We still have no desire to join the crowds but have missed our adventures to stately stacks during the last two and a half years.

We began by exploring the house which from the outside isn’t much to shout about unless you like eighteenth century symmetrical stately stacks with columns and big windows. The house has become slightly tidier across the years we’ve been visiting but its delight is the sensation of walking into a house that hasn’t been touched – the wall paper is peeling, there’re piles of chairs in various states of disrepair, trunks and collections of seashells, seals, Victorian birds if you’re into that sort of thing and old papers – the Harpurs were once one of the richest families in Derbyshire but the Harpur-Crewes were clearly amongst the most eccentric. Not only did they wish to provide for the education of their tenants, they seem to have loved their wives, were passionate about their natural history and never threw anything away. Whilst the house isn’t as dark, dirty or as dusty as it used to be but it’s still pleasingly ramshackle and demonstrates what happened to the aristocracy when they could no longer afford a platoon of staff to maintain order and could no longer afford the lifestyle or the house.

On this occasion we discovered that the double thickness walls in the eighteenth century hall were not only to permit servants to move unseen but also to ensure that there was a symmetry to the grand residence – though you’d have thought they’d have considered a staircase to the rather elegant new rooms when they planned their mansion and not had to add one on later. There’s even a panel that opens to reveal a secret entrance – makes you wonder what might be lurking undiscovered in the skeleton of the house – and of course, there was a skeleton unearthed in the courtyard several years ago.

Then there’s the glorious silk bed – amidst the layers of history were two wooden chests, and inside, rolled not folded, was Lady Caroline Manners wedding present from Princess Anne, the daughter of King George II. The bed hangings were made for George I in about 1715 and as beautiful as the day they were carefully wrapped up and placed in the boxes where they lay forgotten for so many years. Obviously Caroline didn’t appreciate the gift or had no need for fancy bed hanging. Apparently there are coiled peacock feathers in the embroidered butterfly wings. For those of you who want technical terms rather than me describing beautiful embroidery – its a Palladian state bed which was apparently an essential household item…I’m sure we’ve all got one somewhere ….

Which leads us to the monastic element of the equation – Calke was never an abbey – priory is pushing it as well. It would perhaps best be described as a cell attached to Repton. When the monks of Repton realised what Cromwell was up to prior to the dissolution of the monasteries they let Calke to a certain John Prest – on a 99 year lease. It wasn’t straight forward and Thomas was not best pleased. Suffice it to say that it was only thanks to Cromwell’s demise that matters didn’t get out of hand and Calke ended up as a Tudor manor with a courtyard and a gateway. Everything you can see today was wrapped round the Elizabethan mansion which is why the stairs are slightly odd, there’s secret passages between the rooms and a blocked up entrance for a coach to drive through. The tour of the house finishes with a climb through the brick lined tunnels that the servants used so that they didn’t blight the landscape with their presence before you emerge in the brew house and back out into the sunlight.

The gardens are some distance from the house and to be honest I usually see them in the autumn so it was rather wonderful to find the walled gardens filled with flowers and a rather surprising mandrake nestling amongst the feverfew. Then there was time to see the deer lounging beneath various trees and inspect the grotto -again every one should have one, though the one at Calke isn’t going to win an RHS medal any time soon. Rather like the house it’s seen better days but has its charm for all of that and is rather more fun than some of the spotless but rather cold eighteenth century properties that can be found elsewhere.

Monk Bretton Priory

This photo shows the remains of a Cluniac priory near Barnsley. It was the monks who gained a market charter for Barnsley which helped ensure the growth of the town. The eleventh century endowment included the advowsons (the right to appoint the vicar) of Ledsham, All Saints, Kippax, Darrington, and Silkstone.

It did not go well for the monks during the Anarchy when they were unceremoniously booted out. Gilbert de Gaunt who had claimed the estates eventually acknowledged himself in error by then the original monastic buildings had been demolished. He was required to compensate the monks for his over enthusiasm and gave a property at South Ferriby, Lincs. This left the monks with nowhere to live so in  about 1153 the monks moved to a temporary residence at Broughton donated by Alice de Rumelli. Being Cluniac was problematical as was Monk Bretton’s relationship with Pontefract so it eventually turned into a Benedictine priory and stayed that way until it was dissolved on 23 November 1539. None of the monks put up any resistance preferring to accept their pensions.

‘Houses of Cluniac monks: Priory of Pontefract’, in A History of the County of York: Volume 3, ed. William Page (London, 1974), pp. 184-186. British History Onlinehttp://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/vol3/pp184-186 [accessed 20 May 2022].

Sir Robert Dudley – son the the Earl of Leicester

Probably Sir Robert Dudley, illegitimate son of the Earl of Leicester NPG 2613
© National Portrait Gallery, London

The handsome young man in the image has been on my mind rather a lot in the past year. During lockdown I wrote a historical biography about him for Pen and Sword which is due to be released in July and which can now be pre-ordered.

Robert Dudley was related to Queen Elizabeth I via his mother Lady Douglas Howard (yes she was a girl). His uncle was Lord Howard of Effingham and his father was the queen’s own favourite Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester – which is why the circumstances of his birth and upbringing are rather sketchy.

Douglas was eventually discarded – complete with conspiracy theory- in favour of Lettice Knollys who was the widow of the Earl of Essex not to mention the queen’s beautiful younger cousin. Whereas Douglas had been content to live a life in the shadows, Lettice was not – there was an awful lot of screaming, swearing and boxing of ears when the queen discovered that her favourite was married. Lettice unlike Douglas was never forgiven nor permitted to return to court. Young Robert came to hold a special place in Elizabeth’s heart reminding her as he did of the earl. Lettice was not so sentimental and tried to prevent Robert from entering into his inheritance.

Dudley loved the sea and he wanted nothing more than to be an explorer – his boarding school was close to the sea and his father and Uncle the Earl of Warwick were investors in foreign exploration as well as having vessels of their own. Robert was at Tilbury with his father and heard the queen’s famous speech as well as being introduced to her there. After the earl’s death Robert came to court in the hope that he would be permitted to go a voyage of exploration. Elizabeth wasn’t so keen on letting the son of her favourite run the risk of drowning but he sailed the Caribbean and went in search of El Dorado a few months before the rather better publicised adventures of Sir Walter Raleigh; he was at Cadiz with his step-brother the Earl of Essex and was knighted in the street in Plymouth. He also took a small part in the Earl of Essex’s rebellion against the queen.

The problem for Robert was that he came to believe that he was legitimate and more than anything else he wanted his father and uncle’s titles. When it came to a show down with James I he found that he was the son of the wrong father- James held Leicester conveniently responsible for his mother’s execution. Nor did it help that he was something of a sea dog with a reputation for privateering and gallantry which ran counter to James’ need for peace with Spain.

Dudley left England with his young beautiful cousin and started afresh in Florence leaving a wife and a family of daughters at home to fend for themselves. He carved a career working for the Dukes of Tuscany and had a large family (who had their own adventures.) His life was a tale of treachery, skullduggery, piracy, exploration and love – he was beloved by his cousin, his wife and by Queen Elizabeth I. By the end of his life gentleman were ticking him off their list of things to see whilst on the grand tour. His enduring achievement was a six volume sea atlas containing many beautiful engravings as well as charts using mercator projections which took twelve years to write and have printed. The sea and mathematics were his passion. When he died he left his collection of navigational instruments to the Duke of Tuscany.

He even had a small part to play in the English Civil War thanks to a pamphlet he wrote for King James when he was trying to charm his way back into favour so that he could return home – not sure how his two families would have coped with that particular scenario!

He deserves to be so much more than an unremembered footnote.

The book can be pre-ordered from Pen and Sword here:

https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Son-that-Elizabeth-I-Never-Had-Hardback/p/21463

St Nicholas Church, West Tanfield and the Marmion

For those of you familiar with the area just beyond Ripon you’re probably thinking Marmion! A medieval gatehouse near the church is all that remains of a medieval manor house. It’s possible that there was a Norman castle first but nothing remains. Licence to crenelate (fortify) was granted in 1314. The family associated with the area were the Marmions.

So starting with Robert. Our first Robert died in 1216 was married twice and had families with both his wives – and thought that it would be useful to call both of his first sons Robert. Thankfully he was part of the Staffordshire elite so lets just leave him as 3rd Baron Marmion of Tamworth.

In 1215 Robert the Younger (the son from the second marriage) Marmion of Tamworth paid the avaricious King John £350 and five palfreys to marry Amicia/Avice the daughter of Jernigan or Gernegan FitzHugh of West Tanfield – a minor heiress with lands in Yorkshire. Needless to say starting the conversation with King John results in revolting barons, confiscations and general unhappiness especially when King John gave the order to demolish Tamworth Castle. Fortunately for the Marmions the contractors didn’t move in.

Eventually the Marmions got themselves back on track with the younger Robert coughing up more cash both for his own lands and his elder half-brother’s estates as he was continuing to rebel. By 1220 Robert the Elder was in control of Tamworth. There followed a series of male Marmions until yet another Robert Marmion died leaving his sister Avis as his heir. She held the manor jointly with her husband John de Grey of Rotherfield but their son rather than being called de Grey was known as Marmion which brings us back to the rather marvellous alabaster effigy in St Nicholas’s Church.

He died in 1387 in the service of John of Gaunt in Spain so the manor passed back into the hands of the FitzHugh family via John’s nice Elizabeth. Eventually the manor passed back up the family tree and across to the Parrs by right of Elizabeth FitzHugh before returning to the Crown and for a while into the hands of William Cecil Lord Burghley. The lady by Sir John’s side is his wife Elizabeth.

The gallery images also show a wall painting of St George slaying the dragon – St George is left handed I think. And some lions for recumbent effigies to rest their feet upon. I can’t resist the animal footrests or the rarer animal cushions. I think lions are supposed to show valour and nobility. And it turns out that in medieval bestiaries lion cubs who were born dead came back to life after three days because of their mother’s breathing on them – so not a huge step to the resurrection and life after death.

Misericords

A ledge provided by a hinged seat in choir stalls for clerics to lean on during services. Translates from the French meaning of ‘mercy seat’. Ripon has 32 of them which were created at the end of the 15th century. I particularly like the bagpipe playing pig, Jonah emerging from a very sharp toothed whale, the lady (I think) in a wheel barrow and the mermaid.

Jervaulx Abbey

The abbey of St Mary at Jervaulx was a Cistercian foundation which had a reputation for its horse breeding and cheese making – it also got itself tangled up with the Pilgrimage of Grace during the Dissolution of the monasteries. Abbot Sedbergh was required to join the pilgrims having hidden for four days on Witten Fell before threats to his abbey and his brethren forced him into the pilgrimage. The fact that he was coerced was quietly ignored and he was hanged at Tyburn for treason in June 1537 – the monastery being forfeit under the rules of treason which Cromwell bent to suit his purposes for the occasion.

Jervaulx was not without its moments in former times as in 1279 the abbot was murdered by one of his monks. His successor Abbot Thomas was accused but was acquitted of the crime.

By the beginning of the thirteenth century the abbey was experiencing some financial difficulty and by 1535 Cromwell’s Valor Ecclesiasticus revealed that its income came to just over £234. Part of the Jervaulx’s glass was allegedly transferred to Bedale, the choir stalls made their way to Aysgarth parish church and the lead which was melted down buried and forgotten about was used to repair the York Minster after the disastrous fire of 1984. The building was surveyed as part of the dissolution process at the beginning of July 1537. The Duke of Norfolk who had assisted with the suppression following the Pilgrimage of Grace corresponded with Cromwell about the matter:

As James Rokebye and William Blytheman should be present with Mr. Pollerd at the survey of Jervaulx (three weeks hence) to instruct him in divers things, I beg you will see them despatched with speed. Sheriffhutton, 19 June. (‘Henry VIII: June 1537, 11-20’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 12 Part 2, June-December 1537, ed. James Gairdner (London, 1891), pp. 25-42. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol12/no2/pp25-42 [accessed 23 April 2022].)

An earlier correspondence sent by Norfolk to Cromwell on the 2 June revealed that not only was it part of the government’s strategy to remove the lead from the abbeys to prevent the monks moving back in but that Jervaulx was in debt – the commissioners needed to clear those debts:

The house of Jervaulx was much in debt, but the moveables will discharge that, and likewise at Bridlington, especially if plumbers be sent down to take the lead off the houses and cast it in sows. Sheriff Hutton, 2 June. (‘Henry VIII: June 1537, 1-5’, in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 12 Part 2, June-December 1537, ed. James Gairdner (London, 1891), pp. 1-13. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol12/no2/pp1-13 [accessed 23 April 2022].)

What they had not calculated was that the price of lead took a tumble because there was so much monastic lead and plumbing being sold on.

It’s still the Nevilles- more sons of Joan Beaufort

Palace Green Durham

Joan Beaufort and Ralph Neville had ten sons. However, Henry, John, Thomas and Cuthbert died young. Which leaves us with the Earl of Salisbury, Robert Neville who became Bishop of Durham and three more. The count down begins! Robert, the earl’s fifth son, was born in 1404.

In 1413 when he was nine years old he became the prebend of Eldon in the collegiate church of St. Andrew, Auckland and made a collection of them through his teenage years demonstrating that he was always destined for the church.  He was sent to Oxford to study and afterwards returned to Yorkshire as the provost of Beverley.

When he was twenty-three he became the Bishop of Salisbury but then in 1437 the bishopric of Durham fell vacant so the following year Robert transferred north – presumably on the grounds that it would be much more helpful to his family if he was there rather than Salisbury. And let’s face it his uncle was Cardinal Beaufort and he could pull the necessary strings. Nepotism ruled ok in the fifteenth century! By placing the palatinate in friendly hands it meant that land deals, awkward tenancy agreements and disputes could be smoothed over. And to expedite matters even further one of the first things Robert did was to make his big brother Richard the Earl of Salisbury the ‘guardian of the temporalities.’

Aside from some building work which bears the Neville coat of arms and entertaining the English and Scottish commissioners who arrived in Durham in 1449 and in Newcastle in 1457 to ensure that the Anglo-Scottish truce held despite various border raids Robert seems to have not had a great impact on his diocese.

The bishop died on the 9 July 1457 and was buried in Durham Cathedral.

Still on the Nevilles! The 5th Earl of Salisbury

Effigy of 5th Earl of Salisbury at Burghfield Church having been moved there from Bisham Abbey when it was dissolved.

Having worked my way through Joan Beaufort’s daughters logically its time to move on to the sons. By rights I should start with Richard Neville 5th Earl of Salisbury. He was the third of Westmorland’s sons to survive infancy – the first of Joan Beaufort’s sons. So in the great scheme of things he really wasn’t originally destined to be much more than a footnote. His parents arranged a match with Alice Montagu who was the daughter of the 4th Earl of Salisbury. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Alice would be an heiress as her father married Alice Chaucer, the poet’s grand daughter, so it wasn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that he could have had a son.

Salisbury died in 1428 in France at the Siege of Orleans leaving Alice as suo jure countess of Salisbury meaning that Neville who seems to have married her the year before acquired the title by right of his wife as well as possession of her lands which were largely based in Hampshire and Wiltshire rather than the north of the country more usually associated with the Neville family. Although his principal residence was now Bisham he continued in his role as a warden of the marches which was periodically renewed by the state and which required his presence there.

Eventually, following Joan’s death in 1440, he took possession of his father’s Yorkshire manors ar Middleham and Sheriff Hutton and settled down to a feud with his elder half siblings who were somewhat aggrieved that whilst they had the title that the the 1st earl’s second family had acquired the estates thanks to their mother Joan. There was also the Neville-Percy feud to take into consideration which gradually escalated across the years as the two families vied for land, power and influence. Unsurprisingly the government found itself intervening on occasion. However, thanks to his mother’s canny legal arrangements and his wife’s patrimony Salisbury found himself very wealthy and rather more influential than he might have expected given that there weren’t many earls with more wealth than him.

Salisbury’s power in the north thanks to the inheritance of accumulated Neville estates coincided with King Henry VI’s deteriorating mental health. The king, known for his piety, relied upon his wife Margaret of Anjou and her court favourites notably Edmund Beaufort 2nd Duke of Somerset. The treasury was empty, there were times when the royal family didn’t have food for their table and the situation in France went from bad to worse. Richard of York who was Salisbury’s brother-in-law denied his rightful role at the heart of the King’s counsels gradually became a champion for reform which led to an armed stand off at Dartford in 1452 followed by the First Battle of St Albans in 1455. Salisbury rose or fell with his brother-in-law. In 1459 he joined York at Ludlow and was forced to flee the country along with his eldest son the Earl of Warwick. The pair went to Calais with York’s son Edward Earl of March and in 1460 was with York at Sandal when a Lancastrian army arrived and began to taunt the duke – the result was a pitched battle and the death not only of York and his second son the Earl of Rutland but also of Salisbury and his son Thomas.

Salisbury escaped the battle unlike his son Thomas and son-in-law Lord Harington but was captured and taken to Pontefract where he was executed. His head was placed on Micklegate Bar in York. After the Battle of Towton the following Easter the earl’s body was moved to Bisham Abbey as his will requested.

Salisbury was related not only to York through his sister Cecily’s marriage to the duke but was also related through his own mother to Somerset who was the duke’s principal court opponent.

It was Thomas’s marriage to Maud Stanhope the niece and co-heiress of Lord Cromwell which resulted in the escalation of the Neville Percy feud in 1453 and which probably moved Salisbury from a neutral position to an alliance with York. salisbury received little help from either the queen or Somerset agains the Percy family – Somerset was friendly to Northumberland.

Salisbury and Alice had a large family of their own – ten children in all.