Henry of Bolingbroke – adding to the Plantagenet family tree.

Henry IV

Henry IV

We’re still of John of Gaunt phase one – Henry was the youngest surviving child of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster, born  in 1367 at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire.  Like his father before him John wished to ensure that his son was married to an heiress.

Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, Essex and Northampton died without male heirs but left two co-heiresses – Eleanor and Mary.  Eleanor married Henry of Bolingbroke’s uncle Thomas Duke of Gloucester. Thomas moved to Pleshey Castle in Essex and encouraged Mary to go into a nunnery.  Had she done so then he would have inherited all of Humphrey’s titles and wealth by right of his wife Eleanor.  Mary had been three years old when her father died and together with her sister she became a royal ward. The marriage between Thomas and Eleanor took place in 1374 when Eleanor was eleven although she didn’t leave her mother until she was fourteen.

Mary’s mother, Joan FtizAlan, had other ideas than her daughter becoming a nun so took her to Arundel Castle to visit her aunt having come to an arrangement with John of Gaunt – whether John wanted to spite his brother or saw an opportunity to provide his son with a wealthy wife can only be speculated upon.  In any event Henry was married to Mary sometime in 1380.  Thomas was apparently so cross at being thwarted that his relationship with John never recovered.

henry vThe newly married pair were supposed not to co-habit but a son Edward was born in 1382 who lived only four days. In September 1386  Mary gave birth to her a son named Henry.  It is possible that there has been a confusion about Edward and that Mary and Henry were not his parents at all – the gap between pregnancies suggests that Henry was the eldest son born after Mary was deemed old enough to live with her groom.  Thomas followed in 1387,  John in 1389, Humphrey in 1390, Blanche in 1392, and Philippa in 1394.  Records indicate that Henry sent apples and pears as well as shell fish to his pregnant wife. Mary died in 1394 in her mid twenties.

And that’s all swimmingly straight forward.  As you might expect  Mary de Bohun was descended from Henry III so she needed a papal dispensation to marry Henry of Bolingbroke as he was a second cousin.

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Henry VI

The complications to this strand of the family tree are not from Plantagenet marriages as despite the fact that Henry IV had four sons who survived to adulthood he had only two legitimate grandsons. Blanche married the Duke of Bavaria and had a son called Rupert in 1409.  He died in 1426.  Henry of Monmouth (Henry V) married Katherine of Valois following his victory at Agincourt.  The couple had one son Henry of Windsor who became Henry VI when he was a baby following Henry V’s untimely death.

Katherine of Valois would eventually marry her keeper of the wardrobe – a certain Owen Tudor.  Though there was a suspicion that she had conducted an affair with Edmund Beaufort (grandson of John of Gaunt) who may have had designs on the dowager queen until the regency council required any prospective groom of Katherine to forfeit his lands unless he had permission from the king to marry. The affair if it happened was in 1427 – when Henry VI was six – so a long wait for him to be old enough to give permission. Edmund disappeared from the scene and Katherine got herself secretly married to Owen who didn’t have to worry overly much about forfeiting much in the way of possessions.  There is a suspicion is some circles that Katherine was pregnant with Beaufort’s child. There is no written evidence. The Tudors had no claim to the throne by their father or by Katherine of Valois irrelevant of paternity.  The Tudor claim when it arrived would be by marriage to Margaret Beaufort.

The other contentious widow is Jacquetta of Luxembourg who became the Dowager Duchess of Bedford when John of Bedford died in 1435.  Jacquetta chose to marry a household knight – which was a bit of a comedown for a duchess – bearing in mind a woman took on her husband’s rank. Her second husband was Richard Woodville.  With her new husband she had sixteen children – including Elizabeth Woodville.

As an interesting aside three of the wives on this particular tree were accused of being witches for political reasons.  Joan of Navarre was accused of being a witch because Henry V wished to control her dower lands in order to draw the revenue from them to pursue his campaigns agains the French. Eleanor Cobham was accused of witchcraft to topple her husband good duke Humphrey from power on the regency council and Richard III accused Jacquetta of  witchcraft resurrecting a story concocted by the Earl of Warwick – both of whom resented the rise of the Woodvilles.

 

 

Elizabeth of Lancaster’s children – feuds, plots and treason

elizabeth of lancaster

Elizabeth of Lancaster

john hollandThe last post was about the turbulent life of Elizabeth of Lancaster, second daughter of John of Gaunt with her second husband John Holland, sometime Duke of Exeter.  The couple had five children.

The relationships demonstrate the complicated times in which this group of  Plantagenets lived and bring us a step closer to the Wars of the Roses – in fact by the end of this post we will have arrived there.  We can also increasingly see the vertical lines of family descent being drawn together and knotted by marriage.  There are also the political considerations of cousins finding themselves on opposite sides of the political fence and then finding themselves placed like dynastic pawns into marriages designed to bring old enmities to an end or ring fence land and power.

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Elizabeth’s daughter Constance (born 1387) was a child when she was betrothed to Thomas Mowbray.  Thomas was the son of the former Lord Appellant, the Duke of Norfolk, who had met Henry of Bolingbroke in 1387 near Coventry for trial by combat but found himself banished instead when Richard II changed his mind about the combat and took his revenge on the last two appellants.  The Duke died in Venice. Henry of Bolingbroke became Henry IV.

Our Thomas Mowbray inherited the Earldom of Norfolk but not the Dukedom.  He also found himself betrothed to Henry of Bolingbroke’s niece – you can’t help wondering how the resentment of his formative years and lack of full title played out in any relationship that the couple might have had.  The marriage wasn’t consummated.

Ultimately Thomas became involved in the Earl of Northumberland’s revolt against Henry IV in 1405 and executed for his pains in York along with Archbishop Scrope.  Thomas was only nineteen at the time and according to legend his head, displayed on Bootham Bar, remained remarkably fresh looking during the months it remained on display.

Constance meanwhile was in need of a new husband. Sir John Grey was the eldest son of Baron Grey of Ruthin.  Sir John Grey of Groby who was Elizabeth Woodville’s first husband was our Sir John Grey’s nephew.  Sir John and Constance required a papal dispensation as they were related to the fourth degree – so cousins again.

The pair had three children including a son Thomas Grey who fought at Towton in 1461 on the Lancastrian side. He was consequently attainted of treason by Edward IV and executed. No wonder it was called The Cousins War before gaining the title The Wars of the Roses.

Elizabeth’s younger daughter Alice was born in 1392.  Her husband was the Earl of Oxford.  The last Earl of Oxford that the History Jar encountered was Robert de Vere the 9th Earl of Oxford.  He was Richard II’s favourite and had successfully irritated the Lords Appellant.  He had to fling himself into the Thames in the aftermath of the Battle of Radcot Bridge before fleeing abroad. It didn’t do a lot for the de Vere family finances and he didn’t have an heir so the earldom went across the family tree to his brother Aubrey.

Alice’s de Vere was the 11th earl. He was related to the Percy and FitzAlan families on his mother’s side.  The marriage between Alice and Richard de Vere reflected the fact that everything had been forgiven and forgotten between the de Veres and the Plantagenets.

Links with the Plantagenets were further reinforced by the fact that de Vere was part of Thomas of Lancaster’s affinity. Thomas was Henry IV’s son – so Elizabeth’s nephew. In 1415 Thomas oversaw the trial of the Southampton conspirators who sought to depose Henry V and replace him with Edmund Mortimer (the 5th earl of March.)  The Earl of Oxford sat on the jury which condemned Anne Mortimer‘s husband, Richard of Cambridge (second son of Edmund of Langley, duke of York- another cousin), to death.

De Vere died in 1417 and Alice married Sir Nicholas Thorley without asking permission of the king or the Pope.  Nicholas was packed off to the Tower and all Alice’s lands were confiscated until Alice paid a fine.

We are left with Elizabeth’s son John who married three times but only fathered two children inside wedlock who survived to adulthood.

First John married Anne Stafford the widow of Edmund Mortimer – the one who died from plague in 1425 having spent his childhood in Henry IV’s custody because of his claim to the throne – the same Edmund Mortimer that Richard of Cambridge plotted to put on the throne

Anne Stafford was the grand daughter of Thomas of Woodstock (the one murdered in Calais on the orders of Richard II) – yet another cousin and yet another great grand daughter of Edward III. The match produced the two children – Henry Holland who became the third Duke of Exeter- best known for his role as a Lancastrian commander in the wars of the Roses who was married to Anne of York – sister of Edward IV (the Grand son of Richard of Cambridge.)  Henry Holland fought throughout the Wars of the Roses as a Lancastrian. However, he changed sides after the Battle of Barnet in 1471 having been seriously injured and left for dead. To cut a story with many twists and turns short, he accompanied Edward IV to France in 1475 – He “fell” overboard  and drowned on the journey home…possibly pushed on the orders of his brother-in-law, and cousin, the Yorkist king Edward.

A  game of happy families Plantagenet style anyone?

 

 

John of Gaunt’s house of Lancaster

john of gauntGaunt married Blanche of Lancaster on 19 May 1359 by 1361 he had been created Earl of Lancaster by right of his wife who was a co-heiress with her elder sister Matilda who died soon after. Gaunt became the Duke of Lancaster in November 1362.  The Lancaster inheritance made him extremely wealthy.

The first child be born to the couple was called Philippa and she was born in 1360 at Leicester. Her marriage was negotiated as part of Gaunt’s aspirations to hold the throne of Castile by right of his second wife Constanza.  She married John I of Portugal with whom she had eight children including Henry the Navigator. And there we shall leave her.

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Elizabeth of Lancaster, St Mary’s Church, Burford, Shropshire. Image from Wikipedia

The second child to survive childhood was Elizabeth who was born in 1363, the baby brother born the year before died in infancy. She married three times. Elizabeth added scandal to the Lancaster line and a bit of a tangle! Her father married her to John Hastings in 1380. The groom was eight at the time whilst Elizabeth was seventeen. The marriage was about political alliances.  Perhaps unsurprisingly Elizabeth was not overly impressed with her new groom – it would certainly be several years before she became a wife in anything but name.

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Close up of John Holland from an illustration in John Creton’s account of the murder of Richard II which is held by the British Library

John Holland, Duke of Exeter- half brother of Richard II by their shared mother Joan of Kent was ten years older than Elizabeth and he wooed her persistently. The  unsurprising result was that she became pregnant. Gaunt had to arrange an annulment as Hastings was still only fourteen and a second marriage for Elizabeth which took place in June 1386.   Altogether the couple would have five children.

As for Hastings he married Philippa Mortimer who has been mentioned in a previous post – she was the daughter of Philippa of Clarence.  Or put another way Hastings was rejected by a granddaughter of Edward III so married a great-grand daughter. Philippa went on to marry Richard FitzAlan the 11th Earl of Arundel (there was a thirty year age gap if you recall) after Hastings died on the 30th December 1389 in a jousting accident.

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So far so good .  Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel – Philippa Mortimer’s second husband was a Lord Appellant who effectively revolted against Richard II who was also Philippa Mortimer’s first cousin once removed. Arundel was, of course, beheaded for treason by Richard II in 1397. Holland occupied Arundel Castle, the home of FitzAlan on Richard’s request.  Just so that the other key strand of the political pattern is clear Elizabeth’s brother Henry of Bolingbroke was also a Lord Appellant.

Meanwhile Elizabeth having moved on to husband number two found herself on the opposite side of the fence to Philippa and her brother.  John Holland, despite his violent temper and the murder of the earl of Stafford which resulted in the temporary confiscation of his lands, was loyal to his half brother. In short he was an Anti-Appellant. In 1388 he was created Earl of Huntingdon, was given parcels of land by his half brother (often confiscated from the Lords Appellant) handheld assorted important official roles.

In 1397 John Holland was present at the arrest of Thomas of Woodstock (Duke of Gloucester) at Pleshey Castle. Thomas of Woodstock was Elizabeth’s uncle as well as being a Lord Appellant and uncle of Richard II who ultimately ordered Thomas’s murder.

In 1399 John of Gaunt died and Richard II felt able to take his revenge against Elizabeth’s brother, Henry of Bolingbroke by changing banishment for a period of ten years to banishment for life. As a consequence Henry returned and usurped his cousin becoming Henry IV.  He acted against those involved in the arrest anqdmurder of Thomas of Woodstock. John Holland was stripped of much of the land which Richard II had given him.  He also lost his dukedom and reverted to being only the Earl of Huntingdon.

Unsurprisingly John resented this and plotted to restore his half brother to the throne. The Epiphany Plot conspired to murder Henry IV and his sons in January 1400. How Elizabeth might have felt about the death of her brother and nephews is not recorded. The plot was uncovered and the conspirators fled.  John Holland was captured at Pleshey where Thomas of Woodstock had been arrested four years earlier. He was executed on 16 January 1400.  The execution was ordered by Joan FitzAlan the sister of the Earl of Arundel …who had been executed three years earlier.

And I think that’s a good place to stop for the time being.  Incidentally I have no idea how the yellow square appeared on the family tree!  I have posted about Elizabeth of Lancaster and John before – follow the link to open a new window. https://thehistoryjar.com/2015/03/16/elizabeth-of-lancaster-and-sir-john-holland/

 

 

 

 

Plantagenet- Lancaster and Beaufort

john of gauntToday we have arrived at the third surviving son of Edward III – John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.  I’ve posted about him before so I don’t intend to write about him in any great detail here – but there is a very tangled Plantagenet skein to unravel in terms of his children.

John married three times – his first marriage was to Blanche of Lancaster.  She was the daughter of Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster.  His grandfather was Edmund Crouchback, the younger brother of Edward I.  This makes Blanche the great-great-grand-daughter of Henry III (yes- another one.)  Her mother Isabella de Beaumont came from an equally prestigious bloodline.  Her great grandfather was King of Jerusalem and somewhere along the line, inevitably, there was some Plantagenet blood flowing in Isabella’s veins.

Marriage_of_Blanche_of_Lancaster_and_John_of_Gaunt_1359During the latter part of the 1350s Edward III was looking to provide wealth and land for his older sons. Blanche married John of Gaunt at Reading Abbey in May 1359.  Blanche gave birth to seven children between 1360 and her death in 1368 but only three survived to adulthood: Philippa, Elizabeth and Henry of Bolingbroke. Philippa married into the royal house of Portugal in 1387 as part of the Treaty of Windsor so for the time being we can remove her from the intersecting Plantagenet lines – possibly with a huge sigh of relief.

When Henry of Bolingbroke usurped his cousin Richard II one of the pieces of “fake news” circulated by Lancaster sympathisers to justify the take over was that Edmund Crouchback was actually Edward I’s older brother but that because he was deformed, the younger brother took the crown.  This was a fabrication.  Edmund was called Crouchback because he had taken the cross and gone on Crusade. It is interesting none-the-less that Henry IV made his claim not from his grandfather Edward III but from his maternal link to Henry III.

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Constanza of Castile – the source is the British Library 

Gaunt’s second wife was Constance (Constanza) of Castile.  John had aspirations to wear his own crown rather than simply watch over this nephew Richard II and there were plenty of members of Richard’s council who were delighted when John developed a continental interest.  The marriage produced a child Catherine in 1372, a year after the marriage, followed by a son John who did not survive infancy.  Catherine married Henry III of Castile and became the country’s regent during the minority of her son – John II of Castile.

Just to add to the familial knot:- Gaunt’s brother, Edmund of Langley – Duke of York married Constanza’s sister Isabella of Castile who was the mother of his children rather than his second wife Joan Holland.

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The third wife is the famous one – Katherine Swynford.  John married her in 1396 but the couple had begun an affair soon after Blanche of Lancaster’s death and the death of Katherine’s husband Hugh.  Kathryn’s eldest son by John was born the year after Constance of Castile had Catherine.  There were four members of the Beaufort brood – John, Henry, Thomas and Joan.  When John married Katherine he arranged for the entire family to be legitimised by the Church and the State.

Where does that leave us – aside from the need for a fortifying cup of tea? It leaves us with the two children from John’s marriage to Blanche of Lancaster who remained in England and the four from his relationship with Katherine Swynford – but as Cardinal Henry Beaufort had no legitimate children we are left with a total of five children who married and extended the Plantagenet line – which isn’t so bad until you realise exactly how large Joan Beaufort’s family actually was!

Next time: John of Gaunt’s Lancaster children – Philippa, Elizabeth and Henry. Be ready for the complications of Elizabeth’s marriage!

Weir, Alison. Britain’s Royal Families

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plantagenet: Clarence, Holland, Mortimer … York

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Richard of York pictured in the Talbot Shrewsbury Book

Yesterday I plotted Lionel of Antwerp’s descendants for two generations.  By marrying into the royal line the Mortimer family found themselves in an invidious position in 1399.  Richard II had identified Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March, as his heir by right of his mother Philippa of Clarence bypassing the document created by his grandfather Edward III which nominated another cousin Henry of Bolingbroke as heir in the event of Richard’s death without children. Henry was the son of John of Gaunt – the third surviving son of Edward III.

Just so we’re clear the Mortimer line descended from Lionel of Antwerp who was Edward III’s second surviving son. Although his only child, Philippa, was female, England did not have a Salic law (lex Salica) prohibiting female lines from inheriting. Had Richard II died prior to 1398 there might well have been a civil war given that Philippa’s son Roger was an adult and able to make his claim.  Fortunately for Henry of Bolingbroke, Roger was killed in 1398 leaving young sons who were not in a position to attempt to enforce their claim to the throne.

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The new generation of Mortimers had some rather royal  DNA. In addition to being descended from Edward III they were also doubly descended from the Plantagenets by their mother Eleanor Holland whose father was descended from Edward I and whose mother was descended from Henry III.  Not that it brought them a lot of luck.

Edmund (the 5th Earl of March) and his brother Roger found themselves being cared for at various royal residence including Windsor by Henry IV (or their first cousin 3 times removed if you want to count back up the family tree.)  Henry placed them in the care of yet another cousin several times removed Constance of York. Constance was not a wise choice despite the familial relationship.  Her husband Thomas le Despencer, had been executed in Bristol following the Epiphany Uprising in 1400.  Five years later Constance made an attempt to rescue Edmund and Roger Mortimer from Windsor and take them to Wales where their uncle Edmund Mortimer had now joined with Owen  Glyn Dwr (Glendower) in a bid to depose Henry IV.  They made it to Cheltenham before Henry’s men recaptured them.  They were then returned to custody in Pevensey and a closer watch was kept on them. Henry was all to aware that they were Richard II’s heirs and that in terms of rights of inheritance he was descended from the third surviving son of Edward III whilst the Mortimers were descended from the second surviving son.

In 1413 Henry IV died and Henry of Monmouth became king.  He gave the Mortimers back their freedom.  Roger Mortimer, Edmund’s younger brother probably died soon after.

Two years later in 1415 Edmund married Ann Stafford the daughter of the 5th Earl of Stafford.  You probably won’t be surprised to hear that Ann was Edmund’s cousin – a second cousin once removed in fact.  A papal dispensation was required and since the marriage was without Henry V’s consent there was also a large fine to be paid. Ann’s mother was the daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of  Gloucester (the fifth surviving son of Edward III and yet to be covered in a post).  There was also a family connection to the Mortimer family to be taken into account on the papal dispensation.  I am delighted to report, from the point of view of the family tree, that there were no children from the match and Edmund died of plague in 1425.

Eleanor Mortimer – the youngest sister was born in 1395, did get married but became a nun when her husband died in about 1414.  (Isn’t it nice when a member of the Plantagenet family can be dealt with in a sentence?)

woman in hennin.gifSo that just leaves Anne Mortimer who was born in 1390. Anne married Richard of Conisburgh the youngest son of  Edmund of Langley Duke of York who I have yet to post about.  It was Richard’s sister Constance who plotted to send Anne’s brothers to their uncle in Wales in 1405. The marriage between Richard and Anne Mortimer took place as early as 1406.(

Her experience following the usurpation of Richard II had not been good.  She, her sister Eleanor and their mother had not been treated well by Henry IV who kept them short of money.  In 1405 when Eleanor Holland died her two daughters were described as “destitute.”  Anne’s marriage to Richard was not about money – he was not a wealthy man: his father had left him nothing at all in his will. Furthermore the marriage was made without the approval of the king nor was the Pope approached for a dispensation given that they were first cousins twice removed.  The marriage achieved papal approval two years after the actual event itself.

Just to really complicate things Ann Mortimer’s aunt Joan Holland was Richard of Consiburgh’s step-mother. Joan married Edmund of Langley, Duke of York in 1393 when she was about thirteen.

Anne and Richard had three children: Henry, Richard and Isobel.  Isobel would marry and have children who would be involved in the Wars of the Roses – three of them would get themselves killed. Henry died young leaving Richard to inherit the dukedom of York when Richard of Conisburgh plotted against Henry V and was executed in 1415.

With Anne’s son Richard we arrive at the Richard of York who gave battle in vain at Wakefield in 1460 having tried to claim the kingdom from King Henry VI.  It is Richard who is pictured at the star of this post.

Anne Mortimer died when she was just twenty due to complications giving birth to her only surviving son Richard. She is the grandmother of Edward IV and Richard III.

Weir, Alison. Britain’s Royal Families

 

Lionel of Antwerp -more Plantagenets

lionel of antwerp.jpgLionel (1338-1368) was Edward III’s second surviving son.  He was the one who managed to get himself poisoned by his new -in-laws when he went to Milan – not that anything has ever been definitively proved.  So far so straight forward.  However, this is where Edward III’s descendants start to become less easy to track and the familial intermarriages more complicated.

Lionel was married in the first instance to Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster.  It was a marriage designed to provide Lionel with cash.  The marriage took place when Lionel was four.  Elizabeth was nine.  And you probably won’t be surprised to discover that Elizabeth was a grand daughter of Henry, the 3rd Earl of Lancaster – so a great great grand daughter of Henry III.  Yet another cousin in other words.

There was one child from the marriage – Philippa of Clarence born in 1355.  When her mother died in 1363 Philippa became the 5th Countess of Ulster in her own right. Five years later Philippa married Edmund Mortimer 3rd Earl of March in Reading Abbey.  Between 1377 and 1388 Philippa now The Countess of March was considered by some sources to be her cousin Richard II’s heir presumptive although Edward III appears to have favoured John of Gaunt’s son Henry of Bolingbroke for this particular position in the hierarchy when it became apparent that he would die before Richard was an adult.

Philippa had four children: first was a daughter Elizabeth Mortimer who was born on 12 February 1371. She died in 1417. She married Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy and they had two children, Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland, and Elizabeth Percy who was married into the Earl of Westmorland’s family in a bid to stem the developing feud between the Percys and the Nevilles.  Obviously the Percy and Neville links complicate the family story somewhat but illustrates rather beautifully the familial ties that bound the country’s leading families whether they were on friendly terms or not. Her second husband was Thomas de Camoys, and there was another child Lord Roger de Camoys.

Philippa’s son Roger Mortimer was born in 1374.  He became the 4th Earl of March and 6th Earl of Ulster. He became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on January 24th, 1382 and was killed at the Battle of Kells in 1398.  This was not good news for the Mortimer claim to the throne.  His heirs were still children.  There’s a further tangle in the skein in that he married Eleanor Holland.  She was Joan of Kent’s grand daughter.  This meant that Richard II was Eleanor’s uncle and her husband’s first cousin once removed.  And just to make things that little bit more Plantagenet Eleanor’s mother was Alice FitzAlan, the daughter of the Earl of Arundel.  Alice fitzAlan was also descended from Henry III.

 

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If you look at the family tree taken together with the content of the post you will spot that Richard FitzAlan was Eleanor Holland’s Uncle.  Philippa  Mortimer was some thirty years her husband’s junior.

In the next generation Roger Mortimer and Eleanor’s daughter Ann who isn’t on the family tree will marry yet another cousin – Richard of Conisburgh the son of  Edmund of Langley, Duke of York – providing the Yorkists with their claim to the throne via Lionel  of Antwerp who was Edmund of Langley’s big brother –

During the reign of Henry IV, Hotspur would revolt against the man he’d helped put on the throne because the Percy’s didn’t get the recognition they felt they deserved from Henry IV for siding with him, they found themselves out of pocket in terms of military expenses sustained on the borders and in Wales in the Glyn Dwr (Glyndower) Rising and to make matters worse when Edmund Mortimer was captured by Owen Glyndower Henry IV refused to pay the ransom.  Ultimately this caused Edmund Mortimer to swap sides and for Hotspur to join with his brother-in-law.

No one ever said it was going to be straight forward!   On one hand it is relatively straight forward to ascribe a political faction to a person on the other it is more difficult to identify the impact of family dynamics on the decisions taken within a very dysfunctional family and the repercussions of those decisions on the way that extended families related to one another….I don’t know about you but I’m glad I don’t have to work out where they would all sit at a family meal…and we’re still two generations away from the Wars of the Roses.

 

The Black Prince – children and heir

black princeThe Black Prince, Edward of Woodstock, did not get married until 1361 when he was thirty.  He chose to marry his first cousin once removed – Joan of Kent who was a few years older than him.  She had already been married twice before, once bigamously.  The pair married and had two children: Edward of Anglôume born in 1365 who died when he was five and Richard of Bordeaux born in 1367.

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Richard of Bordeaux became Richard II when he was ten-years-old.  He was married twice; first to Anne of Bohemia and secondly to Isabella of Valois. His second marriage was very unpopular as it was part of a long term truce with the French and his new queen was still a child so unable to fulfil the essential crate for a medieval queen – namely to provide an heir.  Neither wife bore Richard a child. The legitimate line of the Black Prince comes to an end.

There is a theory that most of us are related somehow or other to Edward II. From the legitimate family tree it is clear that the Black Prince was not responsible for the proliferation of Plantagenets but he also had a number of illegitimate children. His mistress Edith of Willesford gave him a son Roger of Clarendon (1352-1402). Other women also gave birth to his sons: Edward and John.

Roger of Clarendon was regarded favourably, as many other illegitimate sons have been throughout royal history.  He received an annuity of £100 from Edward III. He married the heiress of the Baron de la Roche which should have set him up rather nicely but unfortunately she died without children and her land was distributed between her cousins. Meanwhile Roger managed to get himself imprisoned in Wallingford Castle by his half-brother Richard II for killing someone in a duel.  He escaped and was only recaptured once Henry IV was on the throne. Rather then being executed for murder he was executed for treason having attempted to depose the new monarch and reinstall Richard II (who popular rumour placed as being alive and well in Scotland) so was executed along with his squire, valet, eight Franciscan Friars and the prior of Laund  in 1402.  They are identified in Foxes Book of Martyrs and also in Holinshed’s Chronicle. Murreyandblue makes the point he might not have been actively attempting to depose Henry IV he might just have been rash enough to repeat rumour at a point when Henry IV was feeling a tad beleaguered.

Edward is listed by Weir as dying young. Weir along with the Journal of Medieval History identify Sir John Sounder who claimed to be the son of the Black Prince.  France makes the point that Froissart isn’t confidant of Sir John’s surname and provides two alternatives leading him to wonder whether the figure is representative rather than actual.

Next Lionel of Antwerp’s descendant and things become slightly more complicated!

France, John.  Journal of Medieval Military History, Volume 10 (pp95-96)

Marchant, Alicia. The Revolt of Owain Glyndwr in Medieval English Chronicles

Weir, Alison. (1999)  Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy London: The Bodley Head

Sir Roger of Clarendon

Edward III’s sons – starting to sort the Plantagenets out.

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Edward III- Bruges Garter Book made 1430ish

An article by Mark Ormrod published in 2011 in the BBC History Magazine has always stuck in my mind.  Essentially Edward was an indulgent father who made big plans for his dynasty that involved crowns for his children through adoption, marriage and conquest.  His sons grew up believing that they might be kings of various countries if the odds were sufficiently stacked in their favour – and having created a series of royal dukes (Edward’s two younger sons were raised to dukedoms by their nephew Richard II) it is perhaps not surprising that there was disaffection within the family.  Edward’s dynastic policy required a large family.  He and his wife Philippa of Hainhault were fortunate in their love for one another – England was less fortunate in the size of the Plantagenet family all of whom thought themselves worthy of a crown at a time when the occupant of the throne, Richard II (Edward’s grandson) was unable to control his ambitious, conniving relations.

It seems as good a place to start as any.  It also helps that popular history gives a degree of familiarity to Edward III’s sons.

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    Edward, the Black Prince, from the Bruges Garter Book

    Edward – “The Black Prince.” He was born at Woodstock so can also be styled Edward of Woodstock after his place of birth.  He was created Earl of Chester in 1333 and then Duke of Cornwall when he was seven-years-old. He became Prince of Wales in 1343 at the age of thirteen.  The duchy was made out of the earldom of Cornwall by Edward III for his son. The title is reserved for the eldest son of the monarch. Although Edward was the Earl of Chester as soon as he became a duke he would have been known by that title as a duke trumps an earl.    Edward married his first cousin once removed – Joan of Kent.  He eventually succumbed having wasted away, it is thought, to dysentry, caught whilst on campaign in France.  He only had one child who survived to adulthood – Richard of Bordeaux who became King Richard II.  The complication for this member of the family tree comes from Joan of Kent who had been married to Sir Thomas Holland prior to her marriage to the Black Prince.  There is a large Holland clan to add into the equation not to mention some back tracking up the Plantagenet family tree to King Edward I.

  2. Lionel of Antwerp was betrothed to Elizabeth de Burgh Countess of Ulster when he was a child. He married her in 1352 but he had been styled Earl of Ulster from the age of nine. The earldom came to him through his wife. In 1362 he was created 1st Duke of Clarence. This was actually the third dukedom created within England but more of that shortly.  Elizabeth de Burgh died in 1363 having produced one child in 1355 called Philippa who became the 5th Countess of Ulster in her own right. Philippa was Lionel’s only surviving legitimate child (hurrah!)  He married for a second time to Violante Visconti the daughter of the Count of Pavia.  Lionel went back to Italy with his new wife where his -in-laws poisoned him.
  3. John of Gaunt. john of gauntJohn’s wealth and title came from his marriage to the co-heiress Blanche of Lancaster. Her father had been the 1st Duke of Lancaster but on his death with no male heirs the title died out. When John married Blanche he was given the title earl and through Blanche half of the Lancaster wealth. Blanche’s sister died in 1362 without children – the Lancaster wealth now all came to John.  On the same day that Lionel received his dukedom from his father the dukedom of Lancaster was resurrected for John.  Because the dukedom had been dormant and Edward III resurrected it John of Gaunt was also known as the 1st Duke of Lancaster (why would you want things to be straight forward!).  John married three times – firstly to Blanche who was descended from Henry III via his second son Edmund Crouchback; secondly to Constanza of Castile by whose right John would try to claim the crown of Castile and thirdly to his long time mistress Kathryn Swynford with whom he had four illegitimate children surnamed Beaufort who were ultimately legitimised by the Papacy and by King Richard II.edmund of langley.jpg
  4. Edmund of Langley was born at King’s Langley. In 1362 when he was twenty-one he was created Earl of Cambridge. It was his nephew Richard II who elevated him to a dukedom in 1385 when he was created 1st Duke of York.  Thankfully there is an example of a logical progression of the dukedom.  When he died his son became the 2nd Duke of York.  Edmund was married first to Isabella of Castile who was the sister of John of Gaunt’s wife Constance. He married for a second time to Joan Holland who was Joan of Kent’s daughter from her first marriage – so the step-daughter of the Black Prince. Joan had no children but there were three children from the first marriage – although there is a question mark over the parentage of the last child from the union with Isabella of Castile.
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    Thomas of Woodstock: London, British Library Cotton MS Nero D.VIII, f. 0

    Thomas of Woodstock married an heiress Eleanor de Bohun in 1374.  In 1377 he was created Earl of Buckingham and in 1380 he became the Earl of Essex by right of his wife. In 1385 his nephew Richard II created him Duke of Aumale and Duke of Gloucester.  Thomas’s nephew, Henry of Bolingbroke (John of Gaunt’s son) would marry Eleanor de Bohun’s sister Mary – making Thomas both uncle and brother-in-law to Henry of Bolingbroke…demonstrating that sorting out the Plantagenet relationships is not necessarily a straightforward undertaking.

 

Nor for that matter is sorting out their titles a linear progression. Thomas of Langley’s dukedom of Aumale was given to him by Richard II in 1385 but was then passed on by Richard to Edmund of Langley’s son Edward of Norwich in 1397 when Thomas was marched off to Calais and murdered. However,  Edward of Norwich was himself stripped of the title in 1399 when his cousin became Henry IV having usurped Richard II.  It’s something of a relief to report that there were no more dukes of Aumale. Henry IV recreated the title as an earldom and gave it to his son Thomas at the same time as creating him Duke of Clarence and as a duke trumps an ear, Thomas is usually known as Duke of Clarence rather than Earl of Aumale.  Thomas died without children and the title became dormant (though rather like indigestion an Aumale title does return at a later date.)

 

The Black Prince died from dysentery and is buried in Canterbury Cathedral where his effigy and shield can still be seen.  Lionel of Antwerp was murdered by his Italian in-laws in 1368.  I should add that it was never proven that he was poisoned.  He was buried in Milan but eventually disinterred and transported home for burial in Clare Priory, Suffolk alongside his first wife.  John of Gaunt died of old age at Leicester Castle on 3rd February 1399 and was buried beside Blanche of Lancaster in St Paul’s Cathedral. Edmund of Langley died in 1402 and was buried at King’s Langley in Hertfordshire. Thomas of Woodstock was arrested on the orders of his nephew Richard II and placed in the custody of  Thomas Mowbray (Duke of Norfolk), transported to Calais where he was murdered in 1397. He was eventually buried in Westminster Abbey.

 

Ormrod, W. Mark. (2011)  Edward III. Yale: Yale University Press

Ormrod, W. Mark https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/king-edward-iii-the-family-man/

Weir, Alison. Britain’s Royal Families

Untangling family links between the Lords Appellant and Richard II

Richard_II_King_of_England

King Richard II

The relationships between the children of Edward III, their spouses and their descendants ultimately resulted in the Wars of the Roses.  During the reigns of Richard II and Henry IV various families with royal blood in their veins jockeyed for power, position and wealth.  Some of this vying for power was through political negotiation.  There were the inevitable marriages for land and to tie families together and of course there were rebellions.

There are so many strands that it’s difficult to know where to start.

 

This evening  I shall take a “random” look at the Lords Appellants who sought to impeach  Richard II’s favourites in 1386 and ultimately managed to control the king as a figurehead without any real power until Richard’s uncle John of Gaunt returned to England in 1389 having been absent during the period of turmoil.  There were five Lords Appellant.  The three primary appellants were Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester; Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel and Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick.

ThomasWoodstock

Thomas of Woodstock: London, British Library Cotton MS Nero D.VIII, f. 0

Thomas of Woodstock was the youngest surviving son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainhault – Richard II’s uncle.  He was also the uncle of the fourth Appellant Henry of Bolingbroke Earl of Derby and Hereford.  Henry was John of Gaunt’s son.  He and Richard were first cousins.  Indeed there was only three months between them so as Ian Mortimer says in his biography of Henry IV the two of them must have been well acquainted.

 

Richard FitzAlan, the Earl of Arundel‘s mother was Eleanor of Lancaster, a great grand-daughter of Henry III.  He was also related though the maternal line to the Beauchamps.  His wife was Mary de Bohun’s aunt.  Mary de Bohun was married to Henry of Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby.    I’m not going to work out the exact relationship but there’s a tangled knot of cousinship and in-lawship – so best to describe him as part of the extended kinship of Richard II.

Thomas Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick was the son of Katherine Mortimer.  His grandfather was Roger Mortimer, the Earl of March who became Isabella of France’s lover and deposed her husband King Edward II.  So far so good, however, the Mortimers had married into the Plantagenet family when Edward III’s granddaughter Philippa, Countess of Ulster married Edmund Mortimer.  Edmund was the grandson of Roger Mortimer mentioned earlier in this paragraph.

Feeling slightly dizzy?  Well just to knot the families even more firmly together Philippa and Edmund Mortimer had four children.  One of these children (the great grandchildren of Edward III),  was a daughter also called Philippa (she was first cousin once removed of Richard II if you want to be picky). She became the second wife of  Richard FitzAlan, the Earl of Arundel…yes, the Lord Appellant.  Elizabeth de Bohun died in 1385.  The marriage to Philippa took place in 1390 after the Lords Appellant had been forced to allow Richard to regain his power.  The marriage was without royal licence and the earl was fined for not asking the king for Philippa’s hand first.

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Richard II creating Thomas Mowbray Earl Marshal in 1386. British Library Cotton MS NERO D VI f.85r

For neatness sake the fifth Lord Appellant was Thomas Mowbray, the Earl of Nottingham.  He was descended from Edward I – so another cousin of sorts. His wife was the Earl of Arundel’s daughter Elizabeth by his first wife Elizabeth de Bohun – making her a first cousin of Henry of Bolingbroke’s wife Mary de Bohun. You might find it helpful to draw a diagram!

If nothing else it becomes apparent that everyone powerful during this period was related to the other leading families in the land either through blood or through marriage.  Interactions between historical figures of this period lay in the overlap between familial interaction and political interaction – the one influencing the other.

With that in mind I shall spend the period between now and Christmas exploring familial Plantagenet links – preferably with diagrams and possibly a large gin!  You can read the posts with a drink of your choice in hand!

Mortimer, Ian. The Fears of Henry IV

Weir, Alison.  British Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy

 

Anne Plantagenet and the duke of Norfolk

princess anne plantagenet framlinghamAnne was the fifth daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV, born in 1475 had her father not died in April 1483 she would have found herself married to Philip of Burgundy.  However, Edward IV died unexpectedly and the treaty with Burgundy was never ratified.  Had she married Philip she would have gone to live in the court of her aunt Margaret of Burgundy.

Instead, Anne’s uncle Richard arranged a betrothal to Thomas Howard who would one day become the 3rd Duke of Norfolk.  Once Richard III was overthrown in 1485 Howard petitioned for the betrothal to stand – meanwhile Anne served her sister Elizabeth of York as a lady-in-waiting. She featured during the baptism of both Arthur and Margaret.  The problem was that the Howards were not supporters of the house of Lancaster.

John Howard, Thomas’s grandfather, served Edward IV and was knighted by him. Richard ennobled John making him the Duke of Norfolk on 28th June 1483 with Thomas’s father another Thomas, becoming the Earl of Surrey at the same time thus ensuring their continued loyalty.  In fact John, the 1st Howard Duke of Norfolk was killed at the Battle of Bosworth as he commanded the vanguard of Richard’s army by an arrow which struck him in the face.  The Earl of Surrey spent the next three years in the Tower until he convinced Henry VII of his loyalty.

3rd duke of norfolk framlinghamMeanwhile Anne married Thomas junior on 3rd February 1495. She was never the Duchess of Norfolk  Anne died in 1510 or 11 depending on the source.  It was only in 1514 that the Earl of Surrey was allowed to inherit his father’s title which had been made forfeit by his attainder following Bosworth.

Hans_Holbein_the_Younger_-_Thomas_Howard,_3rd_Duke_of_Norfolk_(Royal_Collection)As for Anne’s widower depicted above -Thomas junior- he would remarry Lady Elizabeth Stafford but would go down in history as the rather brutal third Duke of Norfolk, uncle of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard and arch-Tudor politician.  Anne had a son who died young but the Howard heirs came from the third duke’s marriage to Elizabeth Stafford (the eldest daughter of the Duke of Buckingham who revolted against Richard III and Eleanor Percy the eldest daughter of the Duke of Northumberland – and thus having more sound Lancastrian credentials.)

Anne was buried originally in Thetford Priory but upon the Dissolution of the Monasteries she was reinterred in Framingham Church.  Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk managed to survive both his nieces’ downfalls, topple Thomas Cromwell from power  and generally demonstrated more political wiliness than a cat with nine lives but he was ultimately charged with treason and was sent to the Tower to await his execution.  Henry VIII died the night before he was due to be executed.  He eventually died in 1554 having been freed by Mary Tudor.

His tomb is in Framingham next to Anne who lays on his righthand-side because she, as a princess, is more important than a mere duke.

 

The Church of St Michael Framingham guidebook