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Royal genealogy before it happens (3)

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Seven years ago, before this blog officially began, a letter was published in the Ricardian Bulletin about the common Edward III descent of the Duke and Duchess, as she soon became, of Cambridge through the Gascoigne-Fairfax line. This, about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s mutual ancestry, followed this March.

Now it is clear that Princess Eugenie, the former scoliosis sufferer and daughter of the Duke of York, and her partner Jack Brooksbank are closely related through Edward III and James II (the Scottish one). They will marry at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor on 12 October.

Having examined the evidence, this document and shows that they have a most recent common ancestor: Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester (1822-1909).

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Coke’s simplest royal descent is from Charles II.

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Brooksbank is descended from Edward III via Robert Devereux (2nd Earl of Essex, through four of Edward III’s sons, although I have chosen the senior Mortimer line) to Coke’s second wife, Lady Georgiana Cavendish, although there is probably other Edward III ancestry. Lady Georgina’s grandmother was Lady Catherine Gordon, daughter of the Marquess of Huntly and this line descends from James IV, who is obviously more recent than his grandfather, but through his mistress not his “Tudor” wife. He, of course, was James II’s grandson.

This document shows that Lady Georgiana was descended from the first Earl of Harewood, Edward Lascelles, whose wife was descended through the Bowes and Lumley lines from Edward IV.

Furthermore, as this picture shows, Princess Eugenie wore a backless dress to show her scoliosis scar.

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THE LOST FONT OF MARLBOROUGH CASTLE

Marlborough is a quaint little town in Wiltshire. It has a rather famous College (once attended by Kate Middleton) but no buildings dating much before Tudor times other than two heavily restored churches. However, it used to have a castle, and a rather important one too.

The first castle was built by William the Conqueror in timber, and he raised it on Marlborough’s most famous landmark–a huge mound (sometimes called Merlin’s Mound) that stands in the middle of the college grounds. This mound is not the usual motte and bailey but in fact a neolithic mound that is a smaller ‘sister’ to nearby Silbury Hill, the largest artificial mound in Europe. Later the wooden castle was replaced by stone; it held out for King Stephen during the Anarchy. King John made many changes and repairs, having been presented  the castle while his brother, Richard Lionheart, was king. His second wife the infamous Isabella of Angouleme spent some time there and some of his children may have been born within its walls. It was  a strange arrangement–Isabella was under the care of Hugh de Neville, whose wife had been one of John’s many mistresses. After John died in the early 1200’s, political prisoner Eleanor of Brittany, whose claim to the throne equalled or surpassed that of Henry III, was kept there for a while before being shunted off to another stronghold. After Henry died, however, it became a Dower House, used by the Dowager Queen, Eleanor of Provence, and then was held by a series of Queen after her.

By 1370,  Marlborough was unused, and in ruins by 1403. Edward VI passed it to his relatives, the Seymours, who built a grand house that is now part of the College. All traces of the castle vanished, save for the mighty mound with had already stood for thousands of years before the Conqueror built his castle.

However there is a rumour that one item from the castle  survived–a huge ornate stone font which had come from the freestanding chapel of St Nicholas. Local legend says  several of King John’s children were  baptised in this font.

And sure enough about a mile away, a massive stone font sits, seeming slightly out of place, in  the tiny, remote church of St George at Preshute (an old name meaning Priest’s Hut.). It is an enormous block of polished black stone imported from Tournai, and would hardly be likely to have originally belonged to such a small, out of the way church. A few similar fonts of Tournai stone  do exist in England, but they are in much grander buildings that St George’s–including Worcester Cathedral.

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Marlborough castle Font

 

 

Royal genealogy before it happens (2)

Seven years ago, before this blog officially began, a letter was published in the Ricardian Bulletin about the common Edward III descent of the Duke and Duchess, as she soon became, of Cambridge through the Gascoigne-Fairfax line.

Now it has been announced that Prince Henry of Wales and the American actress Rachel (Meghan) Markle, or Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they are to become, are to marry on May 19. Tracing her royal descent has been more difficult until this genealogical outline appeared in the Mail on Sunday, back to Sir Ralph Bowes (1480-1516/7). Bowes’ wife, Elizabeth Clifford, was descended from Edward III through the same Mortimer-Percy marriage as were the Cambridges.

In this case, we can see some active participation in “Tudor” and Civil War history as well as Scottish royal descent in both lines – thus Robert I is also a significant common ancestor (twice, along with his brother Edward). The Rising of the North was, of course, in 1569.

Here is more on her lineage and here we present a more complete pedigree for them both. Hopefully, Prince Henry being a second son with red hair and a beard is not a bad omen.

{as published in the March 2018 Bulletin}

The Real Treasures of Harewood

Harewood House is known as one of Britain’s treasure houses, but for some of us, the older history of the estate is more interesting than the 17th c stately pile. There is a ruined castle, encroached upon by the wildwood, and a stunning medieval church, All Saints, containing the effigies of members of several important families in the area—the Redmans, the Rythers and the Gascoignes.  All of these tombs are skilfully carved in alabaster and are extremely beautiful; one of the finest collection of late medieval alabaster tombs in the country.

Edward Redman (also spelt Redeman, Redmayne and in several 1700’s sources Reedman), lies beside his wife Elizabeth Huddlestone  with a peaceful smile on his carven face; his effigy is said to be one of the first to bear a true likeness to its owner.  Redman was a supporter of Richard III and is said to have fought for him at Bosworth. He was a lawyer and Esquire of the Body to the King by 1484.  He was made sheriff of Dorset and Devon, and served on commissions to arrest and imprison Buckingham’s rebels in the west in late 1483. Richard granted him lands in Somerset and Wiltshire in 1484.

After Bosworth, Edward Redman kept a low profile but his collar with Tudor roses and ‘esses’ shows that he eventually became reconciled to Henry Tudor’s reign, although it  seems he lived quietly and never held high office again.

Edward’s elder brother was William Redman, who also served Richard when he was Duke of Gloucester.  William assisted the Duke in removing the troublesome fishgarths from various rivers, and he was made a Knight Banneret by Richard in 1482,  while on the Scottish Campaign. Unfortunately, he seems to have died suddenly later that year and is buried at Heversham.

On the opposite side of All Saints church lies William Gascoigne (there are actually 3 William Gascoignes buried in All Saints, this William being the youngest of the three. His wife  was Margaret Percy, the daughter of the 3rd earl of Northumberland. He lived in Gawthorpe Hall, now just a series of large earthworks on the edge of the Harewood estate. He served the 4th earl for a while but later served the Duke of Gloucester in Scotland in 1482, and when Richard became King,  Gascoigne was made a Knight of the Body. He also fought at Bosworth but survived, though he died just two years later.

William’s daughter Agnes (also known in some sources as Anne) married Thomas  Fairfax and had twin boys, whose descendants are rather notable today—Nicholas is an ancestor of Prince William (though his mother, Princess Diana) and William is an ancestor of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

If visiting All Saints Church, there is no need to pay to get on to the Harewood Estate. Park in Harewood village at the community hall and walk up the bridleway; the church will be found on the left after a short walk. The earthworks of Gawthorpe Hall are in the field on the right; pass over the cattle grid and you will see them on the horizon. Returning to the village hall, have a rest if you need one, then, if you wish, set out to find Harewood Castle’s haunting ruins. Go behind the community hall, walk past the picnic tables and go between 4 wooden posts. It looks like you are entering someone’s back garden but is a right of way. After a few minutes, you’ll come onto a paved cul-de-sac with houses; look left and you’ll see a green sign saying public footpath. Follow it into the woods. You should see a tunnel; go through it and you are on a direct route to Harewood Castle, founded by Sir William Aldeburgh in 1366. (Aldeburgh only had two daughters who married into the Ryther and Redman families.)

Below: Edward Redman and wife Elizabeth Huddlestone

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Below: William Gascoigne and wife Margaret Percy

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Below: Harewood Castle

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Royal Genealogy – before it happens (first published in the March 2011 Bulletin)

 

April 29 will see the marriage of Prince William of Wales to Miss Catherine Middleton. As the engagement was announced, many articles proclaimed their common descent from Edward III and I have investigated some of their assertions:
They are descended through the King’s second son, Edmund – quite apart from the uncertainty in some sources over the seniority of Edward’s sons, this is FALSE. John of Gaunt is their common ancestor.
Agnes Gascoigne, great-great-great-great-grand daughter married Sir Thomas Fairfax and the lines divide by their two sons – TRUE.
This Sir Thomas was the Civil War Parliamentary commander – FALSE. Thomas was a popular name in the Fairfax family and Agnes’ husband lived from 1476 to 1520. The soldier was descended from a cousin, had only a daughter and no grandchildren.

Catherine Middleton’s descent passes through the Meadows family of Chattisham (near Ipswich) and the Martineau family from Norwich before marrying into a Yorkshire family. Prince William’s descent passes through the Belasyse family into the Binghams (Earls of Lucan) and into his maternal line.
At the same time, I was able to view Prince William’s other maternal ancestry (his paternal family seven generations back being largely German or Scottish), including the frequently mentioned Charles II connection. Furthermore, he fits my modern definition of “Yorkist” in that he has a descent from one of Richard III’s siblings without a Tudor connection – Anne of Exeter being the matriarch of the (Manners) Earls and Dukes of Rutland, the first Duke of Rutland being progenitor of the (Russell) Earls of Bedford, eventually leading to the Spencers.

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