Sunday, September 30, 2007

Question from Gordy - Elizabeth Woodville and Children

I am interested in the fate of Elizabeth Woodville, and her surviving children, what became of them?

10 comments:

PhD Historian said...

Following the accession of Henry Tudor as Henry VII in 1485, Elizabeth Woodville went through a brief struggle to retain her dower lands, but being deprived of them in February 1487, she retired to Bermondsey Abbey shortly thereafter. She died at Bermondsey in about April 1492 and was buried beside her last husband, Edward IV, at St George's Chapel, Windsor. She had two sons by her first marriage, to Sir John Grey. The second of these, Richard, was executed under Richard III's (then still Duke of Gloucester) orders in 1483. The eldest, Thomas Grey, was made Marquess of Dorset in 1475. His descendants included Jane Grey and the earls of Stamford. The male Grey line became extinct in 1976 at the death of the tenth Earl of Stamford. Elizabeth Woodville also had ten children by her last husband, Edward IV. Her sons Edward (V) and Richard disappeared in 1483, probably assassinated by their uncle, Richard III. A third son, George, died in infancy. Her eldest daughter Elizabeth married Henry VII and became the mother of Henry VIII. Two daughters, Mary and Margaret, pre-deceased their mother. Surviving daughter Katherine married William Courtenay and later became Mary Tudor's godmother. Katherine's grandson Edward Courtenay spent most of his life in the Tower because of his Plantagenet claim to the throne, though in late 1553 he was put forward as a potential husband for Queen Mary. Woodville's daughter Cecily was briefly married to an ally of Richard III, but that marriage was soon dissolved and she remarried to John Welles, Viscount Welles in about 1487. She had two daughters by, both of whom married but both are generally believed to have died childless. Following Welle's death, Cecily remarried to Thomas Kyme of the Isle of Wight. She bore him at least one son and one daughter, though little is known about them. Woodville's daughter Anne married Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and bore him 3 sons and a daughter. The Howards continue as Dukes of Norfolk to the present day. Woodville's last daughter, Bridget, entered the nunnery at Dartford and died there in 1517.

Lara said...

Thanks for compiling all of that. I'm pretty sure I had most of it in my notes from the Tudor history class I took in college 15 years ago, since my prof did a really good run-down of how Henry VII (and later Henry VIII) took care of the remaining Yorkists in various ways. We had a family tree and basically crossed them off as we went!

Anonymous said...

What happend to the daughter Margaret? How did she die and at what age?

Anonymous said...

If Elizabeth Woodville's two sons by Edward did indeed die in 1483 in the Tower, it was likely that the Duke of Buckingham did it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Stafford,_2nd_Duke_of_Buckingham

There was no reason for Edward's brother Richard to have done so as the boys had already been declared illegitimate due to Edward's trothplight to Eleanor Butler, which occurred before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. (Henry Tudor -- later Henry VII once he usurped the throne -- caused Titulus Regius, the Act of Parliament that recognized the boys' illegitimacy, to be repealed without being read and made it a crime not only to possess a copy, but even to mention its existence.)

Anonymous said...

It kills me how many people really believe that richard III was so good when its pretty obvious that he usurped the throne with his warwick like accusations of illegitimacy. Where is there any proof of edwards marriage to anyone other than elizabeth?

Anonymous said...

Stillington, Bishop of Bsth and Wells was a witness to the betrothal. Read P.M.Kendall?








Anonymous said...

i really just want more details about how Elizabeth Woodville died but now i have more information about her children now thats off my bucket list

Honey Jackson said...

I love all this history!I hope STARZ TV will do THE RED QUEEN,after THE WHITE PRINCESS!

Scarlet said...

Yeah, I'm late to the party on this one. (Mother says I was born on her due date and haven't been on time since.)

Cecily's husband, John Welles, was the half-brother of Margaret Beaufort, Henry VIIs mother, and close to 2x Cecily's age. Family trees twisted every which way back then, so Cecily was married off to her sister Elizabeth's uncle-by-marriage. I believe she was also deprived of her dower lands by Henry, who did not approve of her marriage to Thomas Kyme.

Have also read (I read so much, I'm rubbish about remembering where)that Cecily's daughters by Welles (whom I think were named Elizabeth and Anne)died as children, so I'm interested to know where PhDHistorian has read otherwise!

I've got more, but sine there appears to be character limits, I don't think it will all fit into one post, so, tbc....

Scarlet said...

To the Anonymous who wants proof of Edward's 'marriage' to Eleanor....they were not married in the sense that we would term marriage today. In the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, expressing intent to marry in front of a witness was as binding as a wedding. Generally called a pre-contract (ie, no marriage contracts had yet been signed on paper), one would have to apply to the Church (groats in hand, of course) to have it dissolved before entering into a betrothal/marriage with someone else.

Edward obviously did not do that.

Even if he had, if he slept with Eleanor, he was stuck with her, as the Church would have considered it to be a consummated union. He probably could have got an annulment if Eleanor chose not to oppose it (and the amount of groats in hand increased a bit), but it may have taken a long time (see Henry VIII v Catherine of Aragon). I supposed he could've argued that he had not yet reached 'the age of reason' as he was just a horny teenager trying to get up her skirt, but since he was now King of England, that argument wouldn't have looked very well to his subjects.

At any rate, the question regarding the whole marital mess is why the bishop waited so long to open his mouth about it. I've always assumed a man of the cloth wasn't beneath a bit of blackmail, which ceased when Edward demised. Richard III, rather than continuing to pay up, decided to use the info to take the throne instead.