The four Geoffrey Poles
The first of these was Welsh, a potential descendant of the princes of Powys who died in c. 1479 (1). He married Edith St. John, half-sister of the younger Margaret Beaufort and they had one son (Richard) and possibly a daughter (Eleanor), although the latter could have been his daughter by Bona Danvers. Richard was a half-cousin of Henry VII and was knighted for his service during and after the battle of Stoke. He married Margaret, daughter of the Duke of Clarence, by which he had five or six children.
The second (2) was Sir Richard and Lady Margaret’s youngest son, ie the grandson of the first, who lived at Lordingham in Sussex. His elder brothers were Henry (Baron Montagu), Reginald (later Cardinal Pole) and Sir Arthur. He married Constance Pakenham, whose father previously owned Lordingham. Reginald, in exile, protested at Henry VIII’s break from Rome and self-pronounced annulment of his first “marriage”. He may have plotted with Montagu and Sir Geoffrey – either way both were arrested. Sir Geoffrey’s servants were threatened with torture and he gave evidence against Montagu, who was executed in January 1539. Sir Geoffrey, reckoned to be insane, retired to his estates and then to exile. He returned on Mary’s accession and died in November 1558, the same month as Reginald.
The third was Sir Geoffrey of Lordingham’s son (c.1546-91), one of nine children, married to Catherine Dutton. With his brother (Arthur), he was involved in the 1562 Fortescue plot against Elizabeth. Both were imprisoned and Arthur died in the Tower about a decade later. Geoffrey may have been released, to die in Antwerp.
The fourth was the son of the third. Born in c. 1577, he was assassinated in the Farnese palace in Rome during 1619 as the last of his male line (3). His brother Arthur had suffered the same fate in 1605. As members of an English Catholic family in continental exile, it is possible that Arthur’s death was connected to the Gunpowder Plot that was attempted later that year. Was there involvement of intelligence agents that James I had inherited?