Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Light Bulbs Redux: Lancastrians, Yorkists, and the Rest of the Gang

What can I say? It's as if a light bulb went off in my head last night. Here are some historical light bulb jokes:

How many Lancastrians does it take to change a light bulb? Seventeen--twelve to take shifts changing the light bulb, two to hide the Keeper of the Light Bulbs from the wrath of Queen Margaret, two to conceal the queen's Beaufort lover of the moment in the wardrobe while the light bulb is being changed, and one to reassure King Henry that the new light bulb will not be used to help illuminate any women wearing scanty clothing.

How many Yorkists does it take to change a light bulb? Eight. One to draw up a petition asserting the necessity of changing the light bulb, one to draw up a petition assuring the realm that no one will be harmed by the changing of the light bulb, one to spread rumors suggesting that the old light bulb was seriously defective to begin with, three to assassinate anyone who gets in the way of changing the light bulb, one to finally change the light bulb, and one of easy virtue to keep Edward IV suitably amused while the light bulb is being changed.

How many Woodvilles does it take to change a light bulb? Sixteen. One to whistle up a wind favorable to light-bulb changing, eleven to make sure that all of Elizabeth Woodville's siblings each have new light bulbs of their own, two to kneel before Elizabeth as she watches the light bulb being changed, one to change the light bulb, and one to give thanks to Melusine when it's all finished.

How many Ricardians does it take to change a light bulb? Four--one to change the light bulb, one to assure everyone that Richard III didn't have anything to do with the old light bulb burning out, one to write a book explaining how worthless and downright shoddy the old light bulb was anyway, and one to blame the Woodvilles for it all.

How many Tudors does it take to change a light bulb? Four--one to change the light bulb, one to send the guy who was taking care of the old light bulb to the Tower, one to blame the old light bulb burning out on the Old Religion, and one to blame the old light bulb burning out on the New Religion.

Got any light bulb jokes of your own?

By the way, if you want some more amusement (and we always want more amusement), stop by Karen Clark's blog, A Neville Feast, for the continuing saga of The Daisy and the Bear, featuring everyone's favorite lovers, Margaret of Anjou and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. Yes, that's what I said.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Many Historical Novelists Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

How many historical novelists does it take to change a light bulb? A shocking 21, it turns out:

One to screw in the light bulb.

One to complain that the new light bulb is too dim for reading.

One to complain that the new light bulb is too bright for reading.

One to say that it's just right.

One to ask about how homes were illuminated in the (say) fourteenth century.

One to supply a list of references.

One to say that the list of references supplied is all wrong, and that he or she has better references.

One to say that it really doesn't matter, that readers only want a good story.

One to say that on the contrary, readers care deeply about how a house is illuminated and will be furious if the author gets it wrong.

One to suggest that the writer avoid the whole question by having all of his scenes take place in broad daylight.

One to mention that her new novel is getting great reviews.

One to point out that the new novel has nothing to do with the lighting question.

One to say that authors should support each other and that it should make no difference whether the new novel is relevant to the lighting question at all.

One to see whether Amazon has any books on the history of lighting and, while she's there, to check her Amazon rankings.

One to say that with e-readers, you really don't need to worry about light bulbs.

One to say that the printed book industry will never die and that e-books are just a passing fad.

One to try to make peace between everyone.

One to write about all of this on her blog.

One to send a Tweet about the blog post.

One to do a Facebook post about the light bulb issue.

One to call her agent to complain about the unproductive morning she has had reading all of the postings about light bulbs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Stoner Letters and Papers

In the always commendable spirit of making history more accessible, here's a letter from June 21, 1483, in two versions: The Stonor Letters and Papers and The Stoner Letters and Papers.

As reproduced by Charles Kingsford in The Stonor Letters and Papers:


Worschipfull Sir, I commend me to you, and for tydynges I hold you happy that ye ar oute of the prese, for with huse is myche trobull, and every manne dowtes other. As on Fryday last was the lord Chamberleyn hedded sone apone noon. On Monday last was at Westm. gret plenty of harnest men : ther was the dylyveraunce of the Dewke of Yorke to my lord Cardenale, my lord Chaunceler, and other many lordes Temporale : and with hym mette my lord of Bukyngham in the myddes of the hall of Westm. : my lord protectour recevynge hyme at the Starre Chamber Dore with many lovynge wordys : and so departed with my lord Cardenale to the toure, wher he is, blessid be Jhesus, mery. . . . The lord Arsbyschop of Yorke, the Byshop of Ely ar yit in the toure with Master Olyver Kynge. . . . They ar not lyke to come oute off ward ytt. . . . Mastres Chore is in prisone : what schall happyne hyr I knowe nott. I pray you pardone me of mor wrytyng, I ame so seke that I may not wel holde my penne. And Jhesu preserve you.

From The Stoner Letters and Papers:

Bro. Glad you're back at your crib, 'cause there is some weird sh*t going down here. Last Friday they offed the chamberlain dude. Then on Monday all of these army types showed up at Westminster, and then they like handed over the queen's younger kid to all of these head honchos. The protector guy hooked up with him at the Star Chamber and told him, like, chill out, little dude, just keep it real, and the kid was cool with that. A couple of religious dudes are in the slammer with Oliver King. Looks like they're f*cked. That Shore chick is locked up too; don't know what's going to go down with her. Sorry about the writing, man, I got really wasted last night. Later.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Margaret of Anjou's Supposed Lovers

Leaving aside the question of the paternity of Edward of Lancaster (as we've seen, there's no proof that anyone other than Henry VI was the boy's father), what of the various men that popular historians have romantically linked with Margaret of Anjou?

As I should have made clear in the earlier version of the post, there were indeed contemporary rumors that Edward of Lancaster was a bastard and that Margaret was unfaithful to her husband--a ballad written by a Yorkist sympathizer refers to "fals heryres fostered," for instance, and Pope Pius II quoted Warwick as saying that Margaret and "those who defile the king's chamber" had taken over the government. The contemporary gossips, however, were reticent about naming names; modern writers have been less so.

Bertram Fields, for instance, in his book Royal Blood, a defense of Richard III, baldly asserts that Margaret "had been known for years to have dallied with her favorites, notably the dukes of Suffolk and Somerset." Like too many admirers of Richard III, Fields, while bemoaning the various myths that have grown up around that king, is quite content to perpetuate myths about other historical figures. The claim that Margaret and William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, were lovers was not made until the sixteenth century, and even then only in a throwaway remark by the chronicler Edward Hall that Suffolk was "the queen's darling." It was Shakespeare, not contemporaries of Margaret and Suffolk, who gave us the story of a full-blown love affair between Suffolk and Margaret.

As for the Duke of Somerset, there were three such dukes associated with Margaret: Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (died 1455) and his sons Henry (died 1464) and Edmund (died 1471). Though Paul Murray Kendall and others have stated that the elder Edmund was suspected of fathering Margaret's child, I have yet to find any contemporary English source alleging that he and Margaret were lovers--although in his youth, Edmund was linked romantically with the widowed Catherine of Valois, Henry V's queen. Hall states that when Somerset was arrested in 1453, he was in Margaret's great chamber; assuming that this noncontemporary account is true, it's notable that Somerset was not said to have been in Margaret's bedchamber. Margaret did grant the elder Somerset an annuity of 100 marks in 1451. It is recorded as having been paid at Michaelmas 1453, at which time it was noted that it was being paid for past and future services as well as "for the great good will and kindness that he will show [her] in her urgent affairs." Helen Maurer has suggested that the "urgent affairs" referred to Henry's recent mental breakdown, which would make sense. There is no reason, however, to assume that the annuity was prompted by a love affair.

The elder Edmund was killed at St. Albans in 1455; his eldest son, Henry, took up the family dukedom and the Lancastrian cause. Henry Beaufort is linked suggestively with Margaret in one contemporary rumor: on March 15, 1461, Prospero di Camulio, Milanese Ambassador in France, wrote from Brussels to Cicho Symonete, Secretary to the Duke of Milan: "They say here that the Queen of England, after the king had abdicated in favour of his son, gave the king poison. At least he has known how to die, if he did not know what to do else. It is said that the queen will unite with the Duke of Somerset. However these are rumours in which I do not repose much confidence." Henry VI, of course, had not abdicated in favor of his son, nor had he been poisoned. The rumor that Margaret intended to "unite" with Somerset, then, should inspire no more confidence in us than it did in Camulio. I do, however, confess to finding it plausible that this Somerset could have been Margaret's lover--he was young, handsome, and charismatic and had done her the great service of defeating the Duke of York at Wakefield--but there is no evidence that he actually did play such a role in Margaret's life.

Henry Beaufort was executed at Hexham in 1464. (Being a Beaufort during this period did not auger well for one's future.) Late in that year, his younger brothers, Edmund and John, joined Margaret of Anjou in exile in France. There is no evidence that either of these men, or any of the other men who shared Margaret's exile, were romantically involved with her. Indeed, the younger Beauforts and the Duke of Exeter, who was also exiled abroad, spent most of their exile in the service of the Duke of Burgundy, far away from Koeur Castle in France, where Margaret was lodged.

Another man who occasionally is named by modern writers as Margaret's lover (and a possible father of Edward of Lancaster) is James Butler, Earl of Wiltshire; Kendall, for instance, claims that he was rumored to be the prince's father, though he doesn't cite a source for his assertion. Wiltshire, who was executed after the Battle of Towton, was the royal treasurer of the Lancastrian government and was particularly disliked by the Yorkists, but there is nothing to indicate that he was unusually close to Margaret. I have found no contemporary allegation that he and Margaret were lovers.

Philippe Erlanger, a French writer who wrote a very fanciful biography of Margaret, patriotically hinted that Pierre de Breze, Seneschal of Normandy, was Margaret's lover, and he even attributed Henry Beaufort's brief defection to Edward IV as having been prompted by jealousy over Margaret's intimacy with Breze. The latter, who was twenty years Margaret's senior, lent her military assistance and traveled with her in the early 1460's, but he had been closely associated with Margaret's family for decades and was likely motivated by those ties rather than any carnal passion. If Margaret was suspected of having an affair with Pierre during this time, it seems odd that Edward IV's government failed to exploit the propaganda possibilities that such a relationship presented.

Proving a negative is notoriously difficult, and it can't be shown that Margaret was not having sexual intercourse with any of these men or with anyone else besides her husband. (Contrary to one historical novelist's assertion, however, Suffolk can be positively eliminated as a possible father of Edward of Lancaster, having been murdered over three years before the boy was born.) As it hasn't been proven either, however, that Margaret was having an affair with any of these men, confident assertions like that of Fields quoted above should have no place in nonfiction unless supported by contemporary evidence.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Jane Stonor, Daughter of William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk

When William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, was murdered in 1450, he left behind a son, John de la Pole. He also left behind an illegitimate daughter: Jane, who married Thomas Stonor.

Jane has the unfortunate distinction of having her conception discussed in Parliament. In 1450, England’s losses in France had made Suffolk the most hated man in the realm, and he was impeached in January of that year. In response to his answer to the charges against him, his accusers prepared a reply, which survives in a damaged form. Apparently referring to Suffolk’s mention of his record of service in France and his capture at Jargeau in 1429, the reply in modernized English states, “The night before he was captured, he lay in bed with a nun whom he took out of her holy orders and defiled [“defouled”]. Her name was Malyne de Cay, by whom he had a daughter who is now married to Stonor of Oxfordshire.”

Genealogically, this account of Jane is corroborated. Jane was naturalized on May 11 1453; the Patent Rolls entry to this effect states that she had been born in Normandy. The 1574 Heralds’ Visitation of Oxfordshire describes Jane (also called Joan) as Suffolk’s natural daughter. But did Suffolk, who was 32 and unmarried at the time of his capture at Jargeau, really defile a nun? The men who made this accusation were immensely hostile toward Suffolk, whom they went on to accuse of collusion with the French and of impoverishing Henry VI, and that should be borne in mind when evaluating the truth of the story. (“Who but antichrist could turn the truth upside down? . . . Is it not true that Judas kissed his master?” Suffolk’s accusers ask with rhetorical flourish.) On the other hand, it’s not implausible that Suffolk could have had an affair with a nun, perhaps a woman who had entered the convent at the insistence of her family rather than through any religious vocation. What does seem unlikely is that the relationship was nonconsensual. Not even Suffolk’s accusers went so far as to accuse him of rape; the word “defouled” could encompass consensual sex. It is also hard to believe that a man who would rape a nun would take the trouble to bring the resulting daughter to England and arrange a respectable marriage for her, as Suffolk did for Jane.

Thomas, the husband provided for Jane, was born in 1424. He had been the ward of Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Thomas’s only child was his daughter, Alice, a wealthy widow who married Suffolk (then an earl) after he returned to England from France. When Thomas Chaucer died, Suffolk stepped into his position of influence in Oxfordshire, where Thomas Stonor was based. As the scion of a prosperous gentry family with strong ties to the Chaucer family, Stonor would have been a natural choice for a husband for Suffolk’s illegitimate daughter.

Thomas Stonor and Jane proved fruitful, producing three sons, William (named after Suffolk?), Edmund, and Thomas, and three daughters, Jane, Mary, and Elizabeth. Like the more famous Paston family, the Stonors left behind a collection of letters, including missives from Thomas and from Jane. The couple’s letters suggest a warm relationship. Jane signed her letters to her husband “your own Jane Stonor.” Unable to determine from her husband’s letter whether he has invited a guest to stay with the couple, she complains, “I cannot understand by your bill; I suppose your mind was upon some other matters when you wrote it,” and urges her husband not to invite the guest, as the household is in a state of confusion and “servants be not so diligent as they were wont to be.” Jane proceeds to give Thomas, then in London, a shopping list, including caps, silk, and laces. In a letter to Jane, Thomas addresses his wife as “good sweet leman [lover]” and “mine own Jane” and apologizes for not being able to come home sooner.

Suffolk’s son, John de la Pole, succeeded his father as duke and married Elizabeth, a sister of Edward IV. The family connection allowed Jane to place at least two of her daughters in the household of Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk, who in 1476 was said to be “half displeased” that the two sisters were “no better arrayed.” Sadly, the Stonor letters do not report the outcome of this wardrobe crisis.

Thomas Stonor died in 1474, having named Jane as one of his executors. Jane and her oldest son, William, then engaged in an unseemly family dispute about certain expenses and possessions. The dispute was ultimately sent to arbitration. Jane seems to have been entirely equal to upholding her end of the quarrel. A parson who had dealings with her reported to William Stonor that she called him “false varlet, thief, and her traitor,” leading him to reflect to her son, “God give me grace that I may never meet with her more.” Nonetheless, Jane, who died in 1474, named William as her executor and left him six silver bowls. She died in 1494 and was followed in death that year by her eldest son. (William, incidentally, joined in Buckingham’s 1483 rebellion and fought for Henry VII at Stoke.)


Christine Carpenter, ‘Stonor family (per. c.1315–c.1500)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 20 June 2010].

Anne Crawford, Letters of Medieval Women. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 2002.

C. Given-Wilson et al., eds., The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England. CD-ROM.
Scholarly Digital Editions, Leicester: 2005.

Charles Kingsford, The Stonor Letters and Papers. London: Camden Society, 1919. [Available on Internet Archive]

Elizabeth Noble, The World of the Stonors: A Gentry Society. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2009.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Last Will and Testament of Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers

Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, brother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville, was executed on orders of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, soon to be Richard III, at Pontefract Castle on June 25, 1483, having made his will at Sheriff Hutton Castle on June 23, 1483. The will is printed in Excerpta Historica, or, Illustrations of English History (Samuel Bentley, editor).

It has been claimed, falsely, that Anthony named Richard III one of the executors of his will; rather, as the will plainly shows, Anthony named others as his executors and asked that Richard serve as supervisor. Bertram Fields, among others, has suggested that this provision showed Anthony's confidence in Richard's integrity. It is more likely, however, that Anthony simply recognized that probate of his will would be impossible without Richard's cooperation and named him supervisor in hopes that Richard would feel morally bound to allow Anthony's last wishes to be carried out by his executors. There is no indication, however, that the will was probated. Richard did later order the tenants of Mary Fitzlewis, Anthony's widow, to make the payments to her that she was entitled to under her jointure (Harleian Manuscript 433), but as Mary was legally entitled to her jointure regardless of whether her husband had been attainted as a traitor, he was doing no more than enforcing the law.

Anthony has been criticized for not including his illegitimate daughter, Margaret, in his will, but he had already provided for his daughter by marrying her to Robert Poyntz. Notably, Anthony was on good enough terms with Poyntz to name him as one of his executors.

The "Lord Richard" Anthony asks to be buried alongside is his nephew Richard Grey, who like Anthony was executed at Pontefract.


In the name of our Lord, Amen. I, Antony Widevile, &c. in hole mynd and fressh' memory, in the Castell of Shiryfhoton' the xxiij day of Juyn, and the vigill of Seint Joh'n Baptyst, the yere of our Lord M1 cccclxxxiij, make my testament and last will in the forme folowyng. Furst I bequeith my soule unto the grete m'cy of Ih'u Crist, and to his dere moder our Lady Seint Mary, and to the glorious company of hevyn; and my hert to be had to our' Lady of Pewe beside Seint Stephyns College at Westmynster, there to be buried by thadvyse of the Deane and his brethern'; and if I dy be yend Trent, than to be buried before our' Lady of Pewe aforseid. Also I will that all such land as was my lord my faders, remayne holy to his right heyres; wt my cupp of gold of columbyne, which was lefte me by bequest to that entent it shuld' remayne to the right heires of my seid lord my faders: and such londes as were the Lady Scalis my fyrst wyfe, be unto my brother Syr Edward and to his heyris male ; for faut of such heyres male, unto the right heyres of my seid lord my fadre. This is my will and entent therin, to take effecte as ferre as consciens and law will, and that to be sene and determyned by ij doctours of London and ij of Oxford and of Cambrigge, or doctors at the lest, wt ij of the chefe Juges and ij of theldest s’jauntes of the lawe: and if they fynde that this myn entent may not with conscience and lawe, and any part therof, that it be guydid after their' demyng: and if they think that my seid brother may have it all, or for fawt of hym ony of my seid lord my fadre heires, he that shal have the lond to pay or he have possession v. c. marcas, that to be employed for the soules of my last wyfe Lady Scalys and Thomas hyr brother, and the soules of all the Scales blode, in helping and refresshing hospitalles and other dedes charitable: and if all the land may not be so had, than to pay but aft' the rate of such lond as I may bequeith. Also I will that all my goodes goo to the paying of my dettes. And all my fee simpill lond, that is to sey the maner of Tyrington hall in Middylton' with the hundreth of Frebrigge, the man' of Wolv'ton' wt thadvowson' in the counte of Norfolke, the maner of Rokey in Barway in the counte of Hertford; to be sold to the same entent, and for to make an hospitall at Rowchestyr for xiij pou' folkes, and other dedes of charite, as to pay prisoners fees and small dettes, to visett the prisones of London', and help to bury the dede, wt other werkes of mercy. And as for my dettes I knowlege I owe to the bisshop of Worcester lx li. which I will he be truely paid. Also I knowlege that I owe a somme of mony to Lomner mercer of London, as it wele apperith both by his billes and by my boke in my closett at London', which I wyll be content after consciens. Also I knowlege that I owe abowght xl li. to Ocles Mayce goldsmyth, as Butsyde of London' and Griffith my servaunt can' tell, which Coles I wilbe truely content. Also I knowlege that I owe to the Mayo' of Lynne, and to divers creditours in Norfolk, and to Abrey drap of Norwich, s'teyn' sommes of money, as apperith by warauntes signid by my hand to Fyncham myn' receyvor, which shuld pay theym of my lyvelode and fees in Norfolk and Suffolk growing from Mychelmas last passid; which warantes I wilbe paid in any wyse. Also I remembre there was a preest claymid to be executor to a boucheer of London' callid Lamye, as Andrew Dymmok knowith, and that I shuld owe the same bocheer money, which I will in any wyse be paid; and that therbe a preest founde a yere at our' Lady of Pewe, to pray for the sowle of the seid brocherer and all Cristen soules; and an other for the sowles of Syr Henry Lowes; and a preest to be fowde to syng at the Chapell of the Rodes in Grenewich, to pray for my soule and all Xp'en sowlys: and that my wyfe have all such plate as was the same Henry Lowes, and other of my plate to the valure of asmoche thing as I hadd of his; also that she have all such plate as was geven hyr at our' mariage, and the sparver of white sylke wt iiij peyre of shetes, ij payre of fustians, a federbed, j chambring of gresylde; and (except that stuffe) all other stuffe of howsehold in the Mote and at my place in the Vyntree, to be to my seid lord my faders heyres, advising theym on Goddes behalve that thabbot of Seint Jamys beside Northampton', and the Nonnes beside Caunturbury, be allwey dewley answerd of their' claymes, and Syr Joh'n Gilford to [be] contentet, as it apperith by the evidences that Richard Haute hath. Also I will that Seint Mary of York have my grete gilt basons, and such a somme of money as myn executours shall think goode, to pray for my soule. Also I owe to Syr Thomas Vaughan cc marc' wherof I have paid xx" marc' here in the north, and he hath to plegge my balys in colombyne with v. perles. Also I will that all my household serv'ntes in the chekyr roll' have trewly ther wages for Mydsom' quarter, and every one a blak gowne. And as I remembyr I owe Willam Butler xx.s' which I will he be paid. And as for myn evidences, Andrewe Dvmmok knowyth them, and canne shewe how all my lond standith: and if Will'm Aubrey, which was Coferer to the Kyng which now is whan he was Prince, Thomas Wytman, the seid Andrew Dymmok, Butsyde, and Joh'n Gryffyth, know any moo dettes that I shuld owe, I require them for to shew it : and I will myn executours in any wyse to pay to whom it be owyng; and I desire on Goddes behalve that no man int'rupt my seid executours in fulrilling this my will', as they will answere at the dredefull day of dome: geving to my seid executours power by this my seid will, to take a rekenyng and levy all such sommes of money as is owyng me, of my lyvelod, fees, annuitees, or otherwyse; and they to employe such goodes as shall come to their' handes, after this will and moost consciens, for the wele of my soule. And I will that all myn aray for my body and my horse harnes, be sold, and with the money therof be bought shyrtes and smokkes to pouer folkes: and my gowhe of tawney cloth of gold I geve to the Priour' of Royston', my trapper of blakk cloth of gold I geve to our' Lady of Walsingham. Also I desire and charge on Goddes behalve and upon' payne of damnacion', that my feeffes make none astate nor relese, ne my tenauntes make no retorne but acording to theffect of this my last will. Also I will that all such lond as I purchasid by the meane of Syr Jamys Molaynes preest, remayn' still wt the man' of Grafton' tovvard the fynding of the preest of tharmitage: also the londes that I purchased beside the Mote, to remayne to my lord my faders heyres. Also I will that my Lady Willoughby, late the wyfe of Syr Gerveis Clyfton', be comond w' all by myne executours, towching such stuffes as Syr Ewan pson' of Wolverton' and other my servantes had awey from hyr place; and she to be delt wt therin and answerid acording to goode right and conscience. And I will in no wyse that the Nonnes of Blakborough' be hurt in such londes of theires as lieth w'in the Roche Fenne of Myddylton', which I late closid. Also I will that Syr Jamys Molaynes, and Emson late Attorney of the Duchrie of Lancastre be comond w', and that it be sene if so be that I have occupied Bradon' w’out good right, that myn executours se the contentacion' and reformyng therof acording to right and conscience. And I will that thadvowson' of the parissh church of Bewdeley remayne the patronacion' therof to the right heires of my lord my fadre; theym to present to the benefice, whan it shall fawle voyde, an able preest to pray for the sowles of my seid lord my fadre, my lady my modre, my brother S' Joh'n, me, and all Cristen sowles. Also I wull that Wyttyngton' College of London' have a somme of money to pray for my soule: and myn executours see that such tythes as I owt to have made, be answerid in the moost behofefull wyse for my sowle. Also I will that Tybold my barbor have v mark. And I will my s'vant Jamys have xl. s. Also I make myn executours, the Bisshop' of Lincoln' Chaunceler of Englond, the Bisshopp of Worcestyr, Husy the Chefe Juge of the Kinges Benche, Bryan the Chefe Juge of the Comyn Place, Will’m Tunstall, Robert Poynz, Richard Hawte, Wil’m Catesby, Andrew Dymmok, and Thomas Thorysby; to which all, and at the lest to thre of them, I geve full auctorite and power, and prey them at the reverence of Ih'u, to see this my will may be fulfillid. Over this, I besech humbly my Lord of Gloucestvr, in the worshipp of Cristes passhion' and for the meryte and wele of his sowle, to comfort help and assist, as supvisor (for very trust) of this testament, that myn executours may w' his pleasur' fulfill this my last will, which I have made the day aboveseid. In wittenes, Syr Thomas Gower knyght, Wil’m Tunstall, Doctor Lovell, Syr John' Esingwold vicar of Shyryfhoton', Syr Wil’m Teysedale, Thomas Wawer, preestes, and Richard Lexton' gentylman'. My will is now to be buried before an Image of our' blissid Lady Mary, w' my Lord Richard, in Pomfrete; and Ih'u have mercy of my soule, &c.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some June Reading

While I'm pondering my next blog topic, I thought I'd stop by to mention a couple of books I've recently read. (As I haven't started writing my T-novel yet and am awaiting edits for my Margaret of Anjou novel, I've had some more leisure reading time lately.)

First, I just finished G. W. Bernard's Anne Boleyn: Fatal Attractions. Bernard, as many probably know, takes the tack that Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery with some of the men who were accused with her. Though I still have my doubts, I thought the author presented his case well and considered alternative explanations, and he didn't presume to regard his thesis as definitively proven.

Although the book has garnered the most attention for its stance on the allegations of adultery, Bernard also examines such issues as the treatment of Mary Tudor and Anne's religious beliefs. I thought the latter chapter was particularly interesting. All in all, I found this to be a thought-provoking book, and certainly a worthy contribution to the Anne Boleyn shelf. (For a couple of reviews by those more knowledgeable about these matters than me, see here and here.)

I also picked up C. W. Gortner's The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. Having read my fair share of historical fiction that caricatures Catherine as a villainess, I enjoyed this novel, which is told in the first person by Catherine. I did find myself wishing that some of the supporting characters were portrayed in more depth, and there were matters about which I was curious, such as the historical nature of Catherine's relationship with Gaspard de Coligny, that I wish the author had discussed in his author's note. Still, I thought Gortner did a good job of portraying the complex issues of the time without oversimplifying them or boring the reader, and I recommend the book. (It will be the July book of the month over at Historical Fiction Online, and since the author is a member there, I'm sure he'll be up for answering questions.)

FTC disclosure: both of these books were purchased on my own dime. (Actually, I batted my eyes at my husband and sighed longingly to get him to buy me the Gortner book at Barnes and Noble. Yup, I'm a book 'ho.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

William Hastings' Last Will and Testament

On June 13, 1483, as most readers of this blog know, William Hastings was seized at a council meeting, dragged out to Tower Green, and executed without trial, or as the Crowland Chronicler put it, "without justice or judgement," by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, soon to be Richard III. I've written about Hastings' execution here and here, so I'll spare you my rant on the subject today and stick to the title topic.

Hastings might have died without a trial, but he did not die without a will. Hastings' lengthy will, made two years before his death, is printed in full in volume 1 of The Logge Register of PCC Wills, 1479 to 1486, edited by Lesley Boatwright, Moira Habberjam, and Peter Hammond; an abstract can be found here at Testamenta Vetusta (page 368).

Hastings, who was about 53 when he died, made his will in London on either June 26 or 27, 1481 (the Logge transcription of it contains both dates). Most people at the time did not make their wills far in advance, but waited until they were seriously ill, old, or getting ready to undertake a hazardous enterprise, such as going to war. Hastings' will makes no mention of an illness. At the time, however, Edward IV was preparing to lead an army against the Scots; indeed, on June 22, a few days before the date of Hastings' will, Edward IV had adjourned the courts in order to deal with the Scottish threat. Perhaps, therefore, Hastings was anticipating going to battle, though in the event he did not participate in the Scottish campaign, which was led by Gloucester. It may be, however, as the editors of the Logge Register suggest, that Hastings simply "was the sort of man who liked to do things well in advance."

Hastings was certainly not in a hurry when he wrote his will: it takes up eight and a half pages in the Logge Register, so I'll just point out some of the highlights here.

Famously, Hastings started his will by noting that Edward IV had allowed him to be buried "in a place by his grace assignid" in the Chapel of St. George at Windsor, where Edward IV himself was "disposid to be buryed." He bequeathed 100 marks for the cost of his tomb and asked that on the day of his burial, 20 pounds be given to the ministers of divine service, to the poor knights present at his burial, and for other alms. Hastings also requested that a jewel of gold or silver to the value of 20 pounds be given by his executors to the dean and canons of the chapel.

Hastings devoted much time in his will to the welfare of his soul, providing for daily masses and yearly obits and giving many bequests to places of religion. He asked that a priest be found to pray daily for his soul, his wife's soul, for the king's prosperous estate during his life and for his soul after his death, and for all Christian souls. (The king in question, of course, was Edward IV.) On the anniversary of his death, 20 shillings in alms were to be distributed. Hastings also asked that 100 pounds be dispersed to the friars of Notthingham, Northampton, Leicester, and Derby and to other prisoners and poor folks of those shires.

Lord Hastings was generous toward his family. His sister, Elizabeth Donne, received 100 marks; he gave 300 marks toward the marriages of various nieces. Much of his will is taken up with arrangements for the marriage of his daughter Anne, who Hastings intended to marry his ward George, Earl of Shrewsbury.

Hastings' eldest son was named, not surprisingly, Edward. He had three other sons: Richard, George, and William, though George was probably dead by 1481, since he is not mentioned in the will. Hastings made arrangements for both of his younger sons to receive lands when they reached the age of 18. He assigned certain manors to his widow and arranged for plate, jewels, and "stuff" to be divided between his daughter, his two younger sons, his wife, and his heir, Edward Hastings.

Touchingly, Hastings charged his heir to be "feythfull and trewe to the kinges grace, to my lord prince, and there heiris." He named "Kateryn my enterly belovid wiff," his eldest son, Sir William Husee, Chief Judge of the King's Bench, and Richard Pygot, one of the king's sergeants at law, as his executors. For "the more parfite and sure execution" of his will, Hastings also made John Morton, Bishop of Ely (arrested along with Hastings in 1483) and John, Lord Dynham (Hastings' lieutenant at Calais), surveyors of the will. He closed his will by beseeching Edward IV to be a good and gracious lord to his wife, his heir, and to all of his children, who in turn he charged to be "tru sogettes and servaunts" to the king and to all of his issue. Loyalty might have been Gloucester's motto, but as Hastings' will shows, it was the guiding principle of Hastings' life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grave Matters

While checking something for my author's note for The Queen of Last Hopes, I stumbled across a reference to this entry in Materials for a History of the Reign of Henry VII, dated December 15, 1488, showing the expenditures for pall cloths to be laid upon the hearses of Edmund, Duke of Somerset, his brother John, and Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales:

The king to the treasurer and chamberlains of the Exchequer. Whereas we be endetted vnto Lewys Bouvys marchaunt of Luke in the somme of xxxvii £. x. s. ix. d. for xxii. yerdes and di. of blak veluet, price the yerde xi. s. vi. d.; summe xii. £. xviii. s. ix. d. Item for xxii. yerdes and di. of blak veluet, price the yerde x. s. iiii. d.; somme xi. £. xii. s. vi. d. Item for xxii. yerdes and di. of blak damaske, price the yerde vii. s. viii. d. ; summe viii. £. xii. s. vi. d. Item for fower yerdes of white damaske at viii. s. the yerde ; summe xxxii. s. Item for v. peeces of blak bokeram, price the pece v. s.; summe xxv. s., by hym deluered vnto oure warderobe of the robes for paleclothes whiche we haue doon to be made and set vppon the herses of prince Edward in hys lyf son vnto our good vncle of blissed memorie king Henry the Sext, our cousinges Edmund late due of Somerset and lord John of Somerset, and xxx. s. for making of the same paleclothes, which amounteth in al to the said somme of xxxvii. £. x. s. ix. d.:—Mandate to the said treasurer and chamberlains to pay the said total sum forthwith to the said Lewys Bouvys, without prest or other charge. Given at the palaice of Westminster. P. S.

Incidentally, in 1502, Henry VII's queen, Elizabeth of York, gave her chaplain 5 shillings to be offered at Prince Edward's tomb, a sum larger than that he was given to offer at Henry VI's tomb (2 shillings and sixpence). N.J. Rogers, in an article entitled, "The Cult of Prince Edward at Tewkesbury," notes that in 1513, a Richard Kokkes willed that his wife should undertake several pilgrimages for him, including one to "Prince Edward at Tewkesbury." Rogers also notes that an antiquary, Thomas Dingley, sketched what he identified as Edward of Lancaster's tomb, which has long since disappeared. You can find the sketch here (page cccxlvii) in History from Marble, complete with a description of "Richard Crookback" stabbing the prince with a dagger, but be prepared for eyestrain. You'll also find some sketches of Despenser tombs.

Speaking of Despensers (how's that for a transition), a couple of years ago, I did a short story for Amazon Shorts about Aline le Despenser, grandmother to Hugh the younger, entitled "The Justiciar's Wife." Now that Amazon has discontinued the Shorts, I have the entire story available on my website. Take a look!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset (d. 1471)

Not too long ago, I did a post on Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, who was executed in 1464 following the battle of Hexham. Henry was survived by two younger brothers, Edmund and John. This post is about his brother Edmund, the last of the legitimate male Beauforts. (Readers of The Stolen Crown will recall that Edmund, who was an uncle to Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, makes a couple of appearances there.)

Edmund Beaufort was born around 1438. At least one historical novelist has fingered him as a possible father of Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales, who was born in October 1453, but even if Margaret of Anjou was inclined to adultery (and there's no evidence other than gossip that she was), it seems unlikely that she would have picked a 15-year-old boy as her paramour.

I haven't found any evidence that Edmund was at the first battle of St. Albans, where his father was killed and his brother Henry badly injured in 1455, though at age seventeen he would have been old enough to fight there. Nor have I found any hint that he was involved in his brother Henry's feuding with the Duke of York and the Earl of Warwick in the mid-to-late 1450's, though it seems likely that he would have been in his brother's entourage.

In late 1460, Parliament disinherited Henry VI’s son, Edward of Lancaster, in favor of Richard, Duke of York. Henry, Duke of Somerset, who had been abroad, returned to England to fight on behalf of Margaret of Anjou and the disinherited Prince of Wales. Somerset left his brother Edmund in charge of the Isle of Wight as he himself headed north. Unfortunately for Edmund, he and his 61 men were captured by Geoffrey Gate, who had been made governor of the Isle of Wight in December 1460. Edmund was imprisoned, first at Carisbrooke Castle (according to Michael Jones; Cora Scofield says Calais) and then in the Tower of London. Thus, he missed the Lancastrian victories at Wakefield and the second battle of St. Albans and the massive defeat at Towton.

Edmund's brother Henry surrendered to Edward IV in December 1462 and for a time enjoyed the king's favor. Edmund Beaufort was a beneficiary of that short-lived reconciliation: he was released from the Tower around July 1463. Henry returned to the Lancastrian fold late in 1463, however, and Edmund followed suit. He was reported by the author of Hearn's Fragment to be in Scotland by early 1464. Edmund and his younger brother, John, may have been in Wales in October 1464: on October 26, 1464, Edward IV authorized Walter Devereaux, Lord Ferrers, and others to pardon all of the rebels within Harlech Castle, with the exception of "all sons of Edmund, sometime duke of Somerset." (The "Edmund, sometime duke of Somerset" referred to here is our Edmund's father.) By December 13, 1464, Edmund and his younger brother John, traveling from Brittany and through Paris, had arrived with six horses at Margaret of Anjou's court-in-exile at Koeur.

Henry Beaufort, meanwhile, had been executed in May 1464 following his defeat at Hexham. Edmund Beaufort thus became known as the Duke of Somerset, though he technically had no right to the title, as Henry had been attainted.

Somerset, as we shall call him now, did not linger long at the impoverished court of Koeur. His brother Henry had been on friendly terms with Charles, Count of Charolais, and Somerset joined Charles' League of the Public Weal against Louis XI of France. He fought for Charles at the Battle of Montlhéry on July 17, 1465. Charles, who became Duke of Burgundy in 1467, treated Edmund with great favor, bestowing a pension upon him and giving him war horses and other gifts.

Charles, Duke of Burgundy, married Edward IV's sister Margaret in 1468, and Somerset was temporarily sent from the Burgundian court back to Koeur. John Poynings and William Alford, two young men who had traveled in the Duchess of Norfolk's entourage for the Burgundian wedding, were executed in November 1468 by Edward IV's government for having "familiar communication" with Somerset, who unlike Lord Byron might not have been mad or bad, but was certainly considered very dangerous to know by the Yorkist government. Meanwhile, Somerset's absence from Charles's court was only temporary: he was campaigning for Charles by September 1468 and soon resumed his favored position at the Burgundian court. (One wonders whether he and Margaret, the new Duchess of Burgundy, had conversation with each other.)

In 1470, Margaret of Anjou came to terms with the Earl of Warwick. Their agreement was brokered by Louis XI of France, who wanted Warwick's aid in a war against Burgundy in exchange for his aid in restoring Henry VI to the throne. Somerset was not a party to this agreement, which went against his loyalties to the Duke of Burgundy and offered him little personally but the restoration of his title and lands. Somerset also bore grudges against Warwick: Warwick had played a leading role at the first battle of St. Albans, where Somerset’s father was killed, possibly through a targeted assassination rather than as a plain death in battle, and Somerset’s brother Henry had been executed at the orders of Warwick’s brother John. Nonetheless, in January 1471 at St. Pol, Somerset argued to the Duke of Burgundy that he should support Henry VI's government instead of the exiled Edward IV.

By the end of January, Somerset was back in England, along with Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter, who had also been in exile abroad. Somerset had an audience in February with Henry VI, apparently in an attempt to dissuade England from declaring war on Burgundy, but this failed.

Somerset visited his cousin Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond (mother of Henry Tudor) at Woking on March 3, 1471, when Margaret ordered salmon, eel, and trench for him to dine upon. When Edward IV returned to England later that month, Somerset began raising troops on Henry VI's behalf. He actively courted the support of Margaret's husband, Henry Stafford, who decided at the last minute to support Edward IV.

Instead of holding London for Warwick, Somerset moved to Salisbury, where he continued to raise troops; it’s been suggested that he simply did not want to cooperate with Warwick, who probably to Somerset’s secret delight was killed at Barnet on April 14, 1471. Meanwhile, Margaret of Anjou and the Prince of Wales had finally arrived in England. Somerset and the Earl of Devon found them at Cerne Abbey and broke the news of Warwick's death. Margaret, disheartened, was all for returning to her exile in France, but Somerset encouraged her to stay and fight, telling her that with the divisive figure of Warwick dead, her cause would be strengthened.

Somerset's optimism was not unfounded, for over the next couple of weeks, Margaret, with Somerset's help, was successful in raising men for the Lancastrian cause. With the hope of meeting Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke, in Wales, the Lancastrians approached the city of Gloucester, through which they could reach the River Severn, but the city refused to open its gates. The Lancastrian army, which included Somerset's brother John, had to detour around the city to Tewkesbury, where the exhausted force camped. Edward IV's men were in the vicinity, and they joined battle the next day, May 4, 1471.

Somerset had chosen a good defensive position, but either a barrage of arrows or a prearranged plan caused him to leave it and go on the attack against Edward's forces. This backfired seriously when Somerset was attacked by the combined forces of both Edward and his brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Somerset's troops were driven back and suffered a further attack from a detachment of 200 spearmen who had been ordered by Edward IV to employ themselves when needed.

According to the sixteenth-century chronicler Hall, Somerset made his way back to the center of the forces, under the charge of Lord Wenlock, and accused him of not supporting him properly, then emphasized his point by braining Wenlock with a battle axe. This lurid story is unique to Hall, who also gives us the probably apocryphal story of Edward of Lancaster being hauled before Edward IV and murdered by his brothers, Lord Hastings, and Sir Thomas Grey. Contemporary sources, however, simply report that Wenlock was killed in the fighting. John Beaufort, Somerset's brother, was also killed.

Defeated, Somerset and a host of other Lancastrians made their way to Tewkesbury Abbey, where they were sheltered until May 6, when Edward IV ordered the Lancastrians removed by force. Somerset and others were tried before the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Norfolk and, not at all surprisingly given what had become the usual fate of defeated commanders, condemned to death. Somerset was beheaded that same day “in the mydste of the towne, upon a scaffolde therefore made.” Somerset’s execution was illustrated in the Ghent manuscript of the Arrivall of Edward IV, the authorized account of Edward IV’s triumph over his enemies. His death wiped out the legitimate male line of the Beaufort family, though his older brother Henry had fathered an illegitimate son, Charles, who was to flourish under the Tudors, eventually becoming Earl of Worcester.

Edward IV allowed Somerset, his brother John, Edward of Lancaster, and others to be buried in Tewkesbury Abbey. Somerset was buried before an image of St. James at an altar in the north transept of the abbey; his brother John was buried close to him by St. Mary Magdalene's altar. In 1500, their kinsman Henry VII granted a license to Tewkesbury Abbey for it to appropriate two churches, in part for the purpose of saying daily masses for Edward of Lancaster and for Somerset and his brother John.


Mark Ballard, “’Du sang de Lancastre je suis extrait. . .’ Did Charles the Bold remain a loyal Lancastrian?” Publications du Centre Européen d’Etudes Bourguignonnes, vol. 35 (1995).

Anthony Gross, “Lancastrians Abroad, 1461-71,” History Today (August 1992).

P.W. Hammond, The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

M. K. Jones, “Edward IV and the Beaufort Family: Conciliation in Early Yorkist Politics,” The Ricardian (December 1983).

Michael K. Jones, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry on Edmund Beaufort.

Michael K. Jones and Malcolm G. Underwood, The King’s Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

G.M. Rushforth, “The Burials of Lancastrian Notables in Tewkesbury Abbey after the Battle, A.D. 1471,” Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaelogical Society, vol. 47 (1925).

Cora Scofield, The Life and Reign of Edward the Fourth. London: Frank Cass & Co., Ltd. 1967 (reprint).

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Margaret, the Mother-in-Law From Hell?

I was planning a "Myths About Margaret of Anjou" post, but when I thought about it, I realized that it was shaping up to be a pretty long one! So we'll take one myth at a time, starting with the notion, firmly enshrined in historical fiction and encouraged by some authors of nonfiction, that Margaret was the mother-in-law from hell to little Anne Neville.

It's true that Margaret seems to have been reluctant to make an alliance with Warwick in 1470, although Anthony Gross has discussed evidence that Sir John Fortescue, Margaret's chancellor in exile, had put out feelers for just such a partnership--and a marriage between Edward and a daughter of Warwick's--as early as 1468. The Maner and Guyding of the Earl of Warwick sets forth the posturings of both Margaret and Warwick, with Margaret complaining that she saw neither "honor nor profit" in a match between her son and Anne; she even claimed that Edward IV had offered her son a match with young Elizabeth of York! Warwick had his own grudges against Margaret to trot out: "King Henry and she by their false counsel had enterprised the destruction of him and his friends in body and in goods." In the end, though, as Michael Hicks has pointed out, while both parties had to save face before their respective followers by presenting themselves as reluctant allies, and both parties no doubt profoundly mistrusted each other, there was no better solution to their respective problems than a marriage between Prince Edward and Anne.

I know I pick on Paul Murray Kendall a lot in this blog, but his biographies remain very popular and influential, and they have heavily colored novelists' portrayals of Anne and Edward of Lancaster, so I'm going to pick on him again. Kendall, treating Anne as a sacrificial victim to her father's ambition and Margaret's vengeance, paints a pathetic portrait of the fourteen-year-old Anne as bride-to-be: "Richard Neville could doubtless guess his daughter's bewilderment and fear. . . . Warwick could guess, too, the coldness with which Anne would be welcomed into the household of Margaret of Anjou." Authors have gleefully elaborated upon Kendall's depiction of Anne, portraying her as suffering outrage after outrage during her miserable stay with the vicious, depraved Lancastrian queen (one novel even has Margaret trying to murder the poor girl). The reality, however, is that we have no idea as to how Margaret treated Anne: she might have treated her coldly; she might have treated her warmly. (For that matter, we have only Kendall's word for it that Anne was fearful and bewildered about her marriage; for all we know, she might have been excited about a match that put in her line to be Queen of England if her father's attempt to restore Henry VI to the throne succeeded.)

It's often pointed out as proof of Margaret's hostility, however, that she forbade the couple to consummate their marriage. As the ubiquitous Kendall put it, "Queen Margaret, perhaps under pressure from Louis XI, fulfilled her bargain, but left herself as free as possible to disavow or annul [the marriage] later. In all probability, Anne never shared a marriage bed with the Prince." In fact, the evidence hardly bears out this confident assertion by Kendall, who perhaps simply liked the idea of leaving Anne unsullied by the hands of Lancaster for the benefit of her second husband, Kendall's much-admired Richard III. Although the agreement between Margaret and Warwick did indeed specify that the marriage would not be "perfected" until Warwick had gone to England and recovered it or most of it for King Henry, Warwick fulfilled his part of the bargain in October 1470 by restoring Henry VI to the throne. Meanwhile, King Louis was industriously obtaining papal dispensations for Edward and Anne to marry, and the marriage took place at Amboise on December 13, 1470. Nothing suggests that Margaret broke the agreement, and the dispensations that were procured hardly give the impression that anyone was trying to leave a loophole so that the marriage could be easily annulled. If Margaret had broken her part of the bargain by refusing to allow the couple to consummate their marriage, there were plenty of ways Warwick in England could have found out about it: through Anne's mother, through Anne's sister, through Anne herself, and most importantly, through King Louis, who wanted a happy Warwick so that the men could go to war against Burgundy. Sforza de' Bettini of Florence, an ambassador at the French court, gave no impression on December 19, 1470, that anything was amiss following the wedding ceremony: "The Queen of England and the Countess of Warwick, with the prince and princess their children, have left and returned to England, to the unspeakable satisfaction and content of his said Majesty." On the other side of the Channel, nothing indicates that Warwick was dissatisfied with Margaret's conduct in any way. All in all, then, it appears that the marriage was duly consummated, or if for some reason it wasn't, no one seemed particularly bothered about it.

The young couple would not, of course, actually return to England until April 1471. In the meantime, accompanied by their mothers, in December 1470 they went to Paris, where at Louis's command they received a grand welcome from a host of VIP's and passed through streets decorated with tapestries and hangings in their honor. It's difficult to square this magnificent reception for the newlyweds in France's greatest city with Kendall's comment that the marriage of Edward and Anne was "something of a hole-and-corner affair." Nor is there anything to suggest that Margaret did anything to interfere with her daughter-in-law's enjoying center stage at these festivities.

Anne's life took a tragic turn, however, when her father was killed at the Battle of Barnet. Kendall writes that Anne "was no longer regarded as any consequence" upon her father's death, but there's no indication that Margaret, who herself was initially thrown into despair when the news of Barnet was broken to her at Cerne Abbey, was insensitive to her daughter-in-law's grief, though she naturally had other preoccupations besides comforting Anne. Anne was not left behind at Cerne Abbey, as she might have been had she been considered merely an encumbrance by the Lancastrians. Instead, she traveled with her husband and Margaret to Tewkesbury, where Prince Edward was killed. Soon afterward, Margaret was taken into custody and Anne was put in the charge of her sister's husband, the Duke of Clarence. Whatever the nature of Anne and Margaret's relationship--hostile, civil, or friendly--it most likely ended at that point, as there's no indication that the women saw each other again. Margaret died in France in 1482; less than a year after her former mother-in-law's death, Anne became Queen of England when her second husband, Richard III, took the throne.

Just as there's no evidence that Margaret was hostile toward Anne, Kendall notwithstanding, there's no evidence that she was friendly to her either: it's one of those things novelists just have to guess at, though most follow convention as dictated by Kendall and make Margaret a shrew toward her daughter-in-law (at best). There's one grant that Richard III made, however, which suggests Queen Anne might have felt some residual sympathy for her companions of 1470-71: an annuity of 20 marks to Katherine Vaux, who had served Margaret of Anjou since the 1450's and who was at her deathbed in 1482. Katherine was one of the ladies captured with Margaret and Anne after Tewkesbury. While there's no indication in the grant that it was made at Anne's request, it's very unlikely that Richard would have made it had Katherine been a party to any ill-treatment of Anne during her brief time as Princess of Wales or if Anne had had nothing but unhappy memories of her sojourn with the Lancastrians. Perhaps, then, just perhaps, this gift to a lady whom Margaret of Anjou must have cherished deeply was a belated tribute to Anne's first mother-in-law.


Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts in the Archives and Collections of Milan - 1385-1618

Anthony Gross, The Dissolution of the Lancastrian Kingship

Michael Hicks, Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III

Michael Hicks, Warwick the Kingmaker

Rosemary Horrox and P. W. Hammond, eds., British Library Harleian manuscript 433

Margaret L. Kekewich, The Good King: Rene of Anjou and Fifteenth Century Europe

Margaret Lucille Kekewich, et al., eds, The Politics of Fifteenth-Century England: John Vale's Book

Paul Murray Kendall, Richard the Third

Jenny Stratford, ed., The Lancastrian Court

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Search Terms

It's the first of the month, so you know what that means! Here are some search terms that people used to reach my website and that of Historical Fiction Online:

internet sources claim that

Just fill in the blank with the looniest thing of which you can think, and you'll have it.

are there woodvilles still alive in england today?

There are, and boy, are they pissed.


This one has a sort of Zen-like quality to it.

elizabeth queen witchcraft melusine

What an original idea for a novel. I bet no one's ever thought of it before.

the stolen crow higganbotham

Coming in 2012, the sequel: The Purloined Partridge.

i have bifocals 2010 college

Well, I had bifocals too in my youth, but I see no need to brag about it.

historical fiction convent

That sounds sort of fun.

do witches think of herons as protectors

Melusine, what do you think?

how to deal with russian stress accents

Just take a deep breath, and if that doesn't work, pop a Valium.

how did they use ships in rome?

Most likely on the water.

being called an anglo-saxon is an insult

Note to self: do not call a touchy poster an Anglo-Saxon.

is elizabeth woodville bald

It's a little-known fact, but this is actually how Richard, Duke of Gloucester got her to release her younger son into his care--by threatening to reveal Elizabeth's baldness. Remember, you heard it here first.