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So wrong he could be right?

This article, by the former MP Norman Baker, appeared in the Mail on Sunday. Actually, the original version was much longer and referred to Elizabeth II as a descendant of Henry VIII. This is an egregious howler, surely, because all of his actual descendants died by 1603 (or the last day of 1602/3 in the old format), although she is a collateral descendant.

Strangely enough, Mr. Baker may just have been right, albeit unwittingly. Henry VIII did have three known illegitimate children, quite apart from the two born to marriages he subsequently annulled. Excluding the trio who reigned after him, as well as Henry Fitzroy Duke of Richmond who also died without issue, leaves us with the offspring of Mary Boleyn, the relationship with whom arguably invalidated his marriage to her sister, even before it happened. Ostensibly her children by her first husband (William Carey), they are Catherine Carey and Henry, Lord Hunsdon, who had a total of about twenty children.

Just like the Poles, the Carey family became extinct in the male line but they still exist through several mixed lines. Vol. 25 no. 9 pp. 345-52 of the Genealogists’ Magazine, through Anthony Hoskins’ article, as cited to me by John Ashdown-Hill, attributes the late Queen Mother to these lines, together with such as Charles Darwin, P.G. Wodehouse, Vita Sackville-West, Sabine Baring-Gould, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Horatio Viscount Nelson, Lady Antonia Pakenham and the second Devereux Earl of Essex (below)- presumably the easiest link to prove, being the shortest by far. His mtDNA was identical to that of Elizabeth I.

Vaughan Williams and Darwin are closely related to each other, as well as to Josiah Wedgwood.

As with all mixed lines, it is impossible to establish much of this descent by either mtDNA or Y-chromosome but who knows how genetic science may develop in the future?

Here is the evidence so far …








PS Thankyou to Peter Hammond for showing me the full article, which also names Lady Anne Somerset, J. Horace Round, William Cowper, Algernon Swinburne, “Princess Daisy of Pless” and Algernon Sidney as also being in the Carey line.

Thankyou also to Marie Barnfield.

Victoria and Flora

It is more interesting to watch a drama about a much later monarch when one is better informed than before. Lady Flora Rawdon-Hastings, the lady in waiting who appeared to be pregnant but was suffering from a cancer that proved terminal after a few months, was the sister of the 2nd Marquess of Hastings and 7th Earl of Loudoun, the senior descendant of George Duke of Clarence via Catherine Pole’s marriage to Francis Baron Hastings:

Jenna Coleman, who plays the young Queen, has been photographed with Prince Henry and some newspapers are speculating about them. An addled historian in Hampshire has suggested that any relationship would have amounted to incest, even though her character died at least eighty years before he was born,even if she obtained a dispensation before filming began.

The programme, by the way, is rather good so far.Hicksosaurus


Henry Pole the Younger rides again?

Yes, that Henry Pole. A contact asked us recently whether his mother (nee’ Jane Neville) had been arrested in November 1538 and executed with her husband (Henry Lord Montagu) and others that December or January. Online sources are confused about this. However, we do know that she was the daughter of George Baron Bergavenny and was born at about the same time as Montagu (1492), because Henry the Younger was probably under sixteen in 1542 and was not openly executed for this reason.

Pierce’s Margaret of Salisbury biography confirms that Jane’s death preceded the plot and possably pressaged Montagu’s participation in it, although her brother Sir Edward Neville was among those arrested and executed. The CP, citing the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, confirms Jane’s death by 26 October 1538 and Sir Edward’s subsequent execution.

The ODNB states that Henry the Younger, together with his exiled and yet to be ordained uncle Reginald, was being considered by the plotters as a husband for Princess Mary. This may explain why he too was arrested and disappeared, yet his married elder sisters (Catherine and Winifred) were not.

Incidentally, Jane Neville was also descended from Constance of York.

The Complete Peerage (vol. IX,pp.9-7)
Margaret Pole 1473-1541: Loyalty, Lineage and Leadership (p.64 ) (or hardback)

Of well-connected Archbishops

Before the English Reformation, Archbishops were often related to the King, a spare brother from a branch of the Royal family. There were commoners, increasingly so as the years went on. Then the Reformation ensured that the clergy were no longer required to be celibate.

Focussing particularly on the province of Canterbury, there have been three Archbishops of clear Royal descent since 1536:
1) Reginald, Cardinal Pole (1500-58) – a great-nephew of Richard III and a Catholic who wasCardinal_Reginald_Pole ordained late in life, consecrated in 1556 and died on the same day as Mary I, his cousin.
2) Charles Manners-Sutton (1755-1828) – descended220px-Charles_Manners-Sutton_(1755–1828),_Archbishop_of_Canterbury from Anne of Exeter, he was the grandson of the 3rd Duke of Rutland and served from 1805.
3) Justin Welby (1956-) – has been Archbishop since 2013 and was previously thought to be the first incumbent of partial Jewish descent. Earlier this month we learned, through a Charles Moore article following a DNA test, that his biological father was Anthony Montague Browne, a descendant of James I and Joan, traditionally surnamed Beaufort. Ironically, the paternity of Joan’s father is now at issue and she may have been a Swynford.JustinWelby

Subject to that question, this trio of primates would have Edward III as a common ancestor


To answer a visitors’ question:

We have had a few views recently, asking “why was arthur pole executed?”. Well, we don’t think he was.

There were several Arthur Poles:
1) The first (Sir Arthur, 1502-35) was probably the youngest son of the Countess of Salisbury but there are no suggestions that he died from other than natural causes.
2) The second (1531-70), son of Sir Geoffrey of Lordington and nephew of the above, was involved in plots, possibly encompassing Mary Stuart, early in Elizabeth I’s reign but was merely imprisoned in the Tower, where he died. His brother Edmund also died in the Tower that year.
3) The third (c.1575-75), Sir Geoffrey’s great-grandson was assassinated at the Orsini Palace in early 1605, as was his brother Geoffrey in 1619. These may have been the result of coincidental robberies but we cannot quite exclude security service involvement, with the “Gunpowder Plot” being planned at the time of Arthur’s death.

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?




The delayed burial of Arthur Pole?

As many of you are aware, Bisham Abbey has been a sports centre of sorts for many years now but the Priory was the burial place of the Earls of Salisbury (and later also of Warwick). There is a mystery on it’s website:

(Sir) Arthur Pole was another of Richard III’s great-nephews and managed to die of natural causes before his family became embroiled in an apparent plot that saw his brother, mother and cousin executed and his nephew disappear without trace. It is clear that he was alive in 1527, is thought to have died in 1535 and been buried in 1539. Four years between death and burial is an excessive delay in any case but there are possible explanations: he died later, was buried earlier or that the remains are those of his eldest brother Henry, Lord Montagu – who was beheaded on 9 January 1539.

Two of these cannot explain why a Pole brother was buried in a Priory about a year after it was demolished. It would seem logical to conclude that he was buried earlier.

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