murreyandblue

A great WordPress.com site

Uncle Richard?

richard-iii-huffington

A long time ago, I posted a short article about one of my ancestors, Thomas Snellgrove, who was a portrait artist and painted an actor portraying Richard III. Here is the link.

Portrait of actor playing Richard by Snellgrove

George Frederick Cooke playing Richard III by T.W. Snellgrove

I have been researching my family history for over thirty years and it used to be a very slow and painstaking process. The internet has obviously made things easier and quicker in many ways and I now have some other interesting Ricardian links to report.

I found a probable direct ancestor called Sir Henry Vane, the Younger – I had not heard of him, but discovered that he was a Parliamentarian in the Civil War and was beheaded on Tower Hill after Charles II returned to the throne. Interesting, so I started tracing his family back further and came upon a Vane who had married a lady called Joan Haute. As you probably know, there was a Katherine Haute to whom Richard gave an annuity of £5 and this was considered suggestive of her having been his mistress and mother of one or both of his illegitimate children. I did find a Katherine, married to a James Haute, brother of my ancestor.

I carried on further and found that Joan Haute’s grandfather, Richard, was married to an Elizabeth Tyrrell, brother of James Tyrrell, one of Richard’s henchmen, accused of murdering the ‘Princes in the Tower’ on his orders. It was odd to think I had recently visited the Tyrrell chapel at Gipping and seen the memorials for the Tyrrell family in the church at Stowmarket – how strange that these could be my relatives!  James was executed at the Tower too, by Henry VII.

And Richard Haute’s mother was a Woodville, sister to Richard Woodville, Elizabeth Woodville’s father. Elizabeth, as we know, was Richard’s sister-in-law (or at least was thought to be until it was found the marriage was invalid).

Sir Henry Vane’s wife was Frances Wray, and I next followed her line back. Her father married Albinia Cecil, great granddaughter to William Cecil, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. One of his sons (half-brother to my presumed ancestor, Thomas Cecil) was Robert Cecil, who was thought to be the ‘model’ for Shakespeare’s Richard III; he was an unpopular politician of the time and also a hunchback.

Pic of Robert Cecil

Robert Cecil

Thomas Cecil meanwhile was married to a Neville! This was Lady Dorothy Neville, descended from George Neville, brother to Cecily Neville, Richard’s mother! This would make Richard my 1st cousin 17 times removed.

It’s not all good though; there are four connections to the Stafford family, two of which are direct lines to Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, who betrayed Richard and was called by him ‘the most untrue creature living’ – another executed ancestor.  And, of course, via the Nevilles, I would also be related to Margaret Beaufort and Henry Tudor through the John of Gaunt line. ☹

Another not-so-good link is to the Percy family and thence to Henry Percy, who was lynched by a mob when he tried to raise taxes in Yorkshire, for not supporting Richard at Bosworth.

Yet another is to the Brandon family via the sister of William Brandon, Henry Tudor’s Standard Bearer, whom Richard personally killed at Bosworth. He would be my 16 x great uncle.

Other significant names that I haven’t fully explored yet are: Howard, Harrington, De Vere, Zouche, Somerset, Bourchier and  Clifford.  I haven’t found any Stanleys yet!

One of the Stafford links also leads to Margaret, daughter of George of Clarence and there is another to Margaret Courtenay, whose mother could be Katherine of York, the daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville (her father married twice and it isn’t known which wife Margaret was born to – the second one was descended from John Neville, brother of Warwick the Kingmaker). These connections would make Richard also my 16 x great uncle. This would mean that one 16 x great uncle (Richard III) killed the other (William Brandon)!

Graham Turner painting of Richard III at Bosworth killing William Brandon

The Battle of Bosworth (Richard III killing William Brandon) by artist Graham Turner, copyright Graham Turner. N.B. Prints and cards of this and many other Ricardian scenes are available – click on the picture above to see.

How convoluted and complicated were the relationships in those days. But it just reveals how, if you can just find one key link into the nobility, you are basically related to them all!! It is also said that nearly all English people are descended from Edward III, so going by my experience (and Danny Dyer’s!) it could be true. I encourage anyone to have a go at researching their family – it is fascinating.

One caveat if you use the internet to do your research though – you have to be careful not to replicate others’ mistakes – I have found Cecily Neville given as the mother of Elizabeth Woodville and someone getting married before they were born – I know they married young in those days, but really!

 

 

Cecil image credit: John de Critz the Elder [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

11 thoughts on “Uncle Richard?

  1. viscountessw on said:

    Wow! What a wonderful voyage through time. I’m envious. Thank you so much for letting us share your truly interesting family history.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well done on your intriguing research Joanne. I’ve been doing my family tree since the early 80s, but haven’t got anywhere near as far back as you have! It is a really fascinating thing to do, there just might be that snippet you’re waiting for on the next page! I’m afraid my research has lapsed a little recently, due to some health problems, etc, but I have every intention of getting back to it as soon as I can. I’m amazed by the links you’ve found, but like they say, if you go back far enough, we’re all related! Congrats on your results so far, and keep on keeping on! x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dianne Penn on said:

    Marvellous Joanne! How exciting! How do you do it though when records stop at about 1750 or thereabouts? I can’t get past this date as there is hardly anything online 😞.

    Like

    • I found quite a few records (parish church records, I think) that go back as far as the early – mid 1500s, but the only time I’ve managed to get further back was this line, because it linked to nobility – there are more records and also stories, which can be really interesting, about them. You need to get that ‘key’ relative and you’re away!

      Like

  4. Pingback: A Family Connection to my Main Protagonist! | My Writing Blog

  5. What a fantastic journey through time and history. I can see how that one “key relative” opens so many more doors. Fascinating! Thank you for sharing and best wishes for more intriguing results.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. There are loads of interesting connections (e.g. Sir John Hawkwood, Thomas Wyatt of the Wyatt rebellion and Sir Walter Tyrell, who is thought to have fired the arrow that killed William Rufus)

      Like

  6. Kim Harding on said:

    Henry Vane the Elder (his father) bought the estates of Barnard Castle and Raby Castle from the Crown in 1626, after they had been confiscated in the C16th when the last Raby Neville, Charles (6th Earl Westmorland) took part in the Rising of the North. The Vane family still live in Raby Castle, as Lords Barnard.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The Richard III Connection | murreyandblue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: