The House of Yorks
The House of Yorks
Izmail State Liberal Arts University
Ukrainian ministry of Higher education
The chair of English Philology
The House of York
2nd year student
Of Faculty of Foreighn
House of York royal house of England, deriving its name from the creation
of Edmund of Langley, fifth son of Edward III, as duke of York in 1385. The
claims to the throne of Edmund's grandson, Richard, duke of York, in
opposition to Henry VI of the house of Lancaster (see Lancaster, house of),
resulted in the Wars of the Roses (see Roses, Wars of the), so called
because the badge of the house of York was a white rose, and a red rose was
later attributed to the house of Lancaster. Richard's claim to the throne
came not only from direct male descent from Edmund, but also through his
mother Anne Mortimer, great-granddaughter of Lionel, duke of Clarence, who
was the third son of Edward III. The royal members of the house of York
were Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III. The marriage of the Lancastrian
Henry VII to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV, united the houses of
York and Lancaster. Henry was the first of the Tudor kings.
The representatives of the House of York
The House of York
Edmund, 1st Duke of York, 1341–1402
Named Edmund of Langley after the manor where he was born, he was the
fifth son of Edward III and Queen Philippa. Created Earl of Cambridge in
1362, he joined his brother John, Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt) in his
wars against Castile. In 1372, he married his first wife, Isobel, younger
daughter of Peter, King of Castile and Léon, while her elder sister married
John. They had three children: Edward Plantagenet, 2nd Duke of York;
Constance of York, Countess of Gloucester, and Richard, Earl of Cambridge.
Created Duke of York by Richard II in 1385, he retired from public life
after Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, seized the crown from Richard
II. After the death of Isobel in 1394, he married Joan, daughter of Thomas
Holland, Earl of Kent.
His arms were: Quarterly, France ancient and England, over all a label of
three points argent each point charged with three torteaux; and his crest
on a cap of maintenance gules turned up ermine, a lion statant guardant
crowned or, gorged with a label as in the arms; on his seal, the arms are
supported by two falcons, each holding with beak and claw a long scroll,
which extends backward over body, inscribed with the motto "None other".
Edward Plantagenet, 2nd Duke of York, 1373–1415
The elder son of Edmund of Langley, he was created Earl of Rutland in
1391. Richard II made him Lord High Admiral and Warden of the Cinque Ports
and in 1397, Duke of Albemarle. In the first year of the reign of Henry IV
he became involved in a plot to assassinate the king at a tournament at
Oxford. His father went to warn the king, but Edward forestalled him by
confessing to the king himself. He lost the dukedom but was pardoned,
becoming Duke of York on his father’s death. He was killed at the battle of
Agincourt, where he led the vanguard. He died without issue and was
succeeded by his nephew Richard.
His arms were: as Lord High Admiral, Per pale, dexter, the attributed
arms of Edward the Confessor, charged overall with a label of three points;
sinister, Quarterly, France ancient and England, over all a label of five
points argent, each charged with three torteaux. After he became Duke of
Albemarle, his arms were: Quarterly, France ancient and England, over all a
label of three points gules each charged with three castles gold. As Duke
of York, they were: Quarterly France modern and England, over all a label
Constance of York, Countess of Gloucester, 1374–1416
The only daughter of Edmund of Langley, Constance was the mistress of
Edmund Holland, Earl of Kent, by whom she had a daughter named Eleanor. She
later married Thomas le Despencer, Earl of Gloucester. Two children,
Richard, Lord le Despencer, and Elizabeth le Despencer, died without issue,
but their daughter Isabel le Despencer married twice, her second husband
being Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Their daughter, Anne Beauchamp,
married Richard Neville (The Kingmaker), who thus became Earl of Warwick.
Constance bore the arms of her father, Edmund of Langley, impaled by
those of her husband, which were: Quarterly, first and fourth, or, three
chevronels gules; second and third, Quarterly, argent and gules, a fret or,
overall a bendlet sable.
Richard, Earl of Cambridge, 1376–1415
Named Richard of Coningsburgh, after the place in Yorkshire where he was
born, the younger son of Edmund of Langley was created Earl of Cambridge in
1414. In the following year, however, he conspired with Henry, Lord Scrope,
and Sir Thomas Gray to assassinate the king, Henry V. He may have been
bribed by the French king, Charles VI, or it may have been because, in the
event of his brother-in-law Edmund, Earl of March, dying without issue, his
own son would have been next in line for the throne. The Earl of March
revealed the plot to the king, and Richard was executed.
Richard’s first wife, Anne Mortimer, was sister and afterwards heiress to
the Earl of March and to the claims of her great-grandfather, Lionel, Duke
of Clarence, second son of Edward I, thus giving her Yorkist successors a
superior claim to the throne over the House of Lancaster. Richard of
Coningsburgh’s second wife was Matilda, daughter of Thomas, Lord Clifford.
His arms were: Quarterly, France first ancient, later modern, and
England, over all a label of three points argent each charged with as many
torteaux, within a bordure argent charged with lions rampant.
Anne’s arms were: Quarterly, first and fourth, barry of six, or and
azure, on a chief of the first two pallets between two base esquires of the
second, over all an escutcheon argent; second and third, or a cross gules,
impaled with those of her husband.
Isabel, Countess of Essex, 1409–1484
Isabel was the oldest child of Richard of Coningsburgh and Anne Mortimer.
Her husband Henry Bourchier, second Earl of Eu in Normandy was created
Viscount Bourchier by Henry VI and Lord Treasurer of England. William, the
eldest of their ten children, married Anne, sister of Elizabeth Woodville.
The Bourchier arms: Quarterly, first and fourth, argent, a cross
engrailed gules, between four water bougets sable; second and third, gules,
billety and a fess or, and their crest A man’s head in profile with sable
hair and beard, ducally crowned or, with a pointed cap gules.
Richard, 3rd Duke of York, 1411–1460
Richard was the only son of Richard of Coningsburgh, and the only male,
apart from Henry IV, with an unbroken male descent from Henry III. Although
his father had been executed for treason, Henry VI restored to him the
titles Duke of York, Earl of Cambridge and Rutland. An honorable man, his
superior claim to the throne and obvious capability compared with the weak
and mentally afflicted Henry VI earned him the hatred of the Queen,
Margaret of Anjou. His wise and just rule in Ireland during 1449–1450 laid
the foundation for an Irish–Yorkist alliance which survived until after the
defeat of Richard III at Bosworth.
Made Protector of England in 1454 during Henry’s temporary insanity, he
defeated an attempt by the Queen and the Earl of Somerset to regain control
when, in 1455, along with the earls of Warwick and Salisbury, he defeated
the king’s forces at St Albans. He was made Constable of England, but the
Queen’s party regained power the following year. In 1459 the Queen felt
strong enough to to crush the Yorkist party and in October the Yorkist
forces, surrounded at Ludlow, were forced to flee. The Duke and his second
son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, fled to Ireland while Warwick and his party
went to Calais. Within a year, Warwick was back in England and in control
of London. The Duke of York returned and on October 10 laid his hand on the
empty throne in the chamber of the Lords in parliament, claiming the crown.
His bid for the throne was premature, but the Duke was eventually
recognized as heir to the throne, Prince of Wales and Protector of England.
The Queen’s party rallied once again, however, and on 30 December 1460
the Duke’s forces, issuing from Sandal Castle clashed with the Lancastrians
at Wakefield. The Duke was killed, along with his son Edmund, and their
heads were exposed on the walls of York. They were later buried at
Pontefract and then at Fotheringhay.
His arms were: Quarterly, France modern and England, over all a label of
three points each charged with three torteaux, and upon his helmet his
crest was On a chapeau gules doubled ermine, a lion statant guardant
crowned or, gorged with a label as in the arms.; the badge with which he is
particularly associated is the silver falcon and gold fetterlock, the
fetterlock open to symbolise the release of the falcon and the aspiring
hopes of gaining the crown.
Cicely Neville, Duchess of York, 1415–1495
The wife of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, Cicely Neville was the daughter of
Joan Beaufort, the youngest child of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford.
Her father was Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland. Known in her youth as
the Rose of Raby, after her birthplace, Raby Castle, she was a staunch
supporter of her husband, spending as much time with him as was possible in
that troubled age. They had eight sons and four daughters, of whom four
sons and one daughter died young.
After the tragic death of her husband and second son, Edmund, in 1460,
Cicely shortly witnessed the triumph of her eldest son Edward. She is
reported to have been outraged by his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.
Further tragedy followed when, in 1478, Edward tired of the treacherous
behaviour of his brother Clarence and the latter died, or was killed, in
the Tower. In 1483, Edward died, and then, in 1485 her last surviving son
Richard III was killed at Bosworth. Outliving all her sons, the unfortunate
duchess lived to see many of their progeny murdered by Henry VII and the
House of York destroyed. In 1480, she became a Benedictine nun at
Berkhamsted, where she lived until her death.
Her arms were: a falcon rising, ducally gorged, bearing on its breast a
shield of arms, Per pale, dexter, Quarterly, France modern and England;
sinister, gules, a saltire argent, supported by Dexter, an antelope gorged
with a coronet; sinister a lion.
Children of Richard, Duke of York and Cicely Neville
Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter, 1439–1476
Eldest daughter of Richard, Duke of York, she was first married to the
Lancastrian Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter and Lord High Admiral. She
divorced her Lancastrian husband in 1472 and married Sir Thomas St Leger,
K.G., by whom she had a daughter, Anne, whose descendants became the earls
and later dukes of Rutland.
Her arms were: Per pale, dexter, Quarterly, France modern and England;
sinister, per fess, de Burgh and Mortimer.
Edmund of York, Earl of Rutland, 1443–1460
Edmund was born in Rouen, France, while his father was serving as
Lieutenant of France. At the age of seven, Edmund received his education at
Ludlow Castle, along with his brother Edward. When his father’s Yorkist
party fell out of favor in 1459, Edmund accompanied his father to Ireland,
where he was created Earl of Cork.
After the Yorkist victory at Northampton September 1460, he returned to
England and headed north to Sandal Castle with his father to help quell
disturbances there. Edmund was killed at the battle of Wakefield on 30
December 1460, by Lord Clifford, whose father had been killed at the battle
of St Albans. As he struck the fatal blow, Clifford allegedly cried ‘By
God’s blood, thy father slew mine and so will I do thee and all thy kin.
His arms were: Quarterly, first, Quarterly France modern and England, a
label of five points argent the two dexter points charged with lions
rampant purpure and the three sinister points each with three torteaux;
second and third, Burgh; fourth, Mortimer.
Elizabeth, Duchess of Suffolk, 1444–1503
The second daughter of Richard, Duke of York, and Cicely Neville married
John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, whose father, William, had arranged the
marriage between Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. John de la Pole, whose
mother, Alice, was the grand-daughter of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, took
little part in politics. The couple had seven sons, of whom the eldest was
also named John (see below). Edmund de la Pole was beheaded by Henry VIII
and the last de la Pole heir, Richard, was killed at the battle of Pavia in
1524, fighting for the French.
The arms of John de la Pole were: Quarterly, first and fourth, azure a
fess between three leopards’ faces or; second and third, argent, a chief
gules, over all a lion rampant double queued or; and his crest was An old
man’s head gules, beard and hair gold, with a jewelled fillet about the
John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln 1464?-1487
The eldest son of Elizabeth and John, Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, was
created Earl of Lincoln in 1468. He was also made a Knight of the Bath in
1475 and attended his uncle Edward IV’s funeral in April 1483. He bore the
orb at the coronation of another uncle, Richard III, in July 1483 and
became the president of the Council of the North. He was declared heir to
the throne by Richard III in the event of the death of his own son, Prince
Edward. At this time, he was also created Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and
was given the reversion to the estates of Lady Margaret Beaufort, subject
to the life interest of her third husband, Lord Stanley.
A staunch supporter of Richard III, he fought at Bosworth and survived.
The new king, Henry VII, had no wish to alienate the de la Pole family and
appointed John a justice of oyer and terminer the following year. In 1487,
he fled to Brabant and then to Ireland, where he joined the army of the
pretender Lambert Simnel. He was killed at the Battle of Stoke in June
1487. Shortly afterward, he was attainted.
He was married twice: (1) Margaret Fitzalan, daughter of Thomas, twelfth
Earl of Arundel; and (2) the daugher and heiress of Sir John Golafre. He
left no children from either marriage.
Arms of John de la Pole: Same as above during his father’s lifetime,
differenced with a label argent – or his father’s and mother’s impaled.
Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, 1472?-1513
Edmund de la Pole was born about 1472, the second son of John de la Pole,
2nd Duke of Suffolk, and Elizabeth, sister of Edward IV. In 1481 Edward IV
sent Edmund to Oxford. He was created a Knight Baronet at Richard III's
coronation. He was also present, with his father, at the coronation of
Elizabeth of York on 25 November 1487 and was frequently seen at Henry
His father died in 1491, and as eldest surviving son, should have
inherited the dukedom but did not, due to an Act of Attainder against his
brother John, Earl of Lincoln. By an indenture date 26 February 1493,
Edmund agreed to forego the title of duke and was created an earl. He also
had to pay £5,000 for the restoration of some of his lands.
In October 1492 Edmund was at the siege of Boulogne. On 9 November 1494
he was leading challenger at Westminster in a tournament which created
Henry (later Henry VIII) Duke of York.
In 1495 Edmund was appointed trier of petitions from Gascony and other
parts. He was created a Knight of the Garter in 1496. In February 1496 he
was one of the English noblemen who stood surety to Archduke Philip for the
observance of new treaties with Burgundy.
On 22 June 1496 he led a company against Cornish rebels at Blackheath.
Two years later, he was indicted at the King's Bench for murder and
received a pardon. Although he resented being arraigned (as one of royal
blood) he attended a Chapter of the Garter at Windsor in April 1499.
In July or August 1499 Edmund fled to Guisnes and then to St. Omer. Henry
VII instructed Sir Richard Guldford and Richard Hatton to return him by any
means. However, he returned to England voluntarily and was restored to
Edmund was a witness at the marriage of Arthur to Catherine of Aragon in
May 1500 and then went with Henry VII to Calis where he stayed until August
1501. He fled to Emperor Maximilian in the Tryol. Maximilian had promised
support to anyone of Edward IV's blood.
On 7 November 1501 Edmund and his supporters were proclamimed traiors at
St. Pauls Cross and was outlawed at Ipswich on 26 December 1502. He
reclaimed his dukedom. Maximilian then promised not to aid any traitors to
England (he was paid 10,000) and Edmund remained at Aix le Chappelle until
Easter 1504. In January 1504 Edmund and his brother, William and Richard,
were attainted by Parliament. He left Aix fro Gilderland and was
immediately thrown in jail.
On 24 January 1506 Edmund commissioned two servants to treat with Henry
VII and in March 1506 was conveyed to the Tower. Henry had given Archduke
Philip his written promise not to execute Edmund.
Upon the accession of Henry VIII in 1509 Edmund was not among those
included in the general pardon. He went to the block in 1513.
Edmund married Margaret, daughter of Richard, Lord Scrope and had one
daughter Anne, who became a nun at Minories within Aldgate. He had no male
Richard de la Pole, 14?-1525
Richard was the fifth son of John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, and
Elizabeth, sister of Edward IV. His brothers Humphrey and Edward took
orders in the Church, Edward becoming the Archdeacon of Richmond. In 1501
Richard fled abroad with his brother Edmund. Three years later he was
attainted along with his brother. Eventually he fled to Hungary, where
Henry VII requested that King Ladislaus VI surrender Richard to him. The
Hungarian king refused and gave Richard a pension.
Richard’s name is not mentioned in the general pardon issued by Henry
VIII upon his accession in 1509. Louis XII of France recognized Richard as
king of England, giving him a pension of six thousand crowns. After the
execution of his brother Edmund in 1513, Richard assumed the title of Duke
of Suffolk and became a claimant to the English throne.
When Louis XII died in 1515, his successor Francis I continued Richard’s
allowance. As a further sign of favor, he was sent him on several missions,
including Lombardy and Bohemia. In 1522, Francis seriously thought of
sending Richard to invade England, but the invasion did not take place.
On 25 February 1525, Richard was killed, fighting in the French army at
the Battle of Pavia. The Duke of Bourbon was one of the chief mourners at
Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy, 1446–1503
Born at Fotheringhay, Margaret, the third daughter of Richard, Duke of
York, and Cicely Neville, was an intelligent, charming, and accomplished
woman. Prior to the announcement of Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth
Woodville, she had acted as the first lady of the court.
A prestigious marriage was arranged for her to Charles the Bold, Duke of
Burgundy, who was many years her senior. She had no children by him and
survived him by many years. After Charles’ death, Margaret maintained a
close friendship with her Charles’ only daughter Mary. The respect in which
she was held in her adopted country enabled her to play an active
supporting role for the Yorkist cause on many occasions. After the death of
her brother Richard III, she continued her efforts, backing both Lambert
Simnel and later Perkin Warbeck. She died at Malines and is buried in the
church of Cordéliers.
The arms of Burgundy, shown impaling France modern and England quarterly
on her arms were: Quarterly, first and fourth, azure, three fleurs de lys
or within a bordure gobony argent and gules; second, per pale, Bendy of six
or and azure within a bordure gules and sable, a lion rampant or; third,
per pale, Bendy of six or and azure, within a bordure gules and argent, a
lion rampant gules crowned or; over all an inescutcheon, or, a lion rampant
George of York, Duke of Clarence, 1449–1478
Born in Dublin, George was the sixth son of Richard, Duke of York, and
Cicely Neville. He was created Duke of Clarence in the first year of Edward
IV’sreign. Until Elizabeth Woodville finally bore Edward a son in 1470,
Clarence was the heir presumptive ,and it was soon clear to the Earl of
Warwick that he was discontented and ambitious. On 11 July 1469, George
married Isobel Neville, Warwick’s elder daughter, against the wishes of his
brother, cementing an alliance against the king. When Warwick reconciled
with Margaret of Anjou, however, and his younger daughter, Anne, was
betrothed to the Lancastrian heir, George realized that he was not to be
made king in Edward’s place. At the last minute, he returned to the Yorkist
fold and was reconciled with Edward and his younger brother Richard. After
Warwick’s death at the Battle of Barnet in 1471, George laid claim to his
vast estates, and although eventually forced to share them when Richard of
Gloucester married the now-widowed Anne Neville, he remained a rich and
powerful prince. He continued to flout Edward’s authority, however, and was
put in the Tower. In 1478 a Bill of Attainder passed the death sentence on
Clarence and he died in the Tower, the exact manner of his death being
unknown. Clarence and Isobel had four children, of whom two, Margaret and
Clarence’s arms were: Quarterly, France modern and England, over all a
label of three points argent each charged with a canton gules; his crest
was On a chapeau gules turned up ermine, a lion statant guardant crowned
or, charged on the breast with a label as in the arms; his badges were A
bull passant sable armed unguled and membered or, gorged with a label of
three points argent each charged with a canton gules, and A silver gorget
of chain, edged and clasped with gold and lined with red.
Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury, 1473–1541
Margaret was the eldest child of George, Duke of Clarence and Isobel
Neville, she married Sir Richard Pole, K.G. in 1491. They had four sons and
a daughter. During the fifth year of the reign of Henry VIII, Margaret, as
heiress to the titles of Warwick and Salisbury, petitioned the king and was
restored to the title of Countess of Salisbury. She was appointed governess
to the Princess Mary and remained in favor until Anne Boleyn became the
Queen. Her loyalty to Princess Mary caused her to be dismissed from court.
After the downfall of Anne Boleyn, Margaret returned to court. She did
not remain in favor for long. Because of the letter her son, Cardinal
Reginal Pole, wrote to the King, and of the betrayal of her son Geoffrey,
the Countess was arrested and put into the Tower in March 1539. She was
kept in the Tower under close confinement for two years and was executed
without trial. She was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1886.
Her arms were: Quarterly, first, Quarterly, France modern and England, a
label of three points argent each charged with a canton gules; second,
gules, a saltire argent, a label of three points gobony argent and azure
impaling Gules, a fess between six crosses crosslet or; third, Chequy or
and azure, a chevron ermine impaling Argent, three lozenges conjoined in
fess gules; fourth, Or, an eagle displayed vert impaling Quarterly, I and
IV, Or, three chevrons gules; II and III, Quarterly, Argent, and gules, a
fret or, overall a bendlet sable.
Henry Pole, Lord Montagu, 1492–1539
The eldest son of Margaret Plantagenet, he was knighted by Henry VIII in
1513 during Henry’s French campaign. He was a ember of the royal household
and was allowed his own livery. In 1520, he attended Henry VIII at the
Field of the Cloth of Gold. He was one of the peers who convicted Anne
As a Roman Catholic, Pole did not approve of Henry’s destroying Church
property and the anti-Catholic feeling in England. Henry was fully of
Montagu’s feelings, and through his betrayal of his brother Geoffrey Pole,
the king now had the evidence he needed to have Montagu arrested in put
into the Tower. Pole was tried and found guilty by a jury of his peers. He
went to the block on December 9 1539.
He married Jane, daughter of George Neville, Lord Bergavenny, in 1513.
They had three children. His only son may have been attainted with his
father and died in the Tower.
Geoffrey Pole, 1502?-1558
The second son of Margaret Plantagenet, little is known of his early
life. In 1529, he was knighted by Henry VIII at York Place. A devout Roman
Catholic, he greatly disapproved of Henry VIII’s divorce proceedings from
Katherine of Aragon. Although he was appointeed one of the servitors at
Anne Boleyn’s coronation, his loyalties were with Princess Mary and the
former Queen Katherine. He then visited the imprial ambassador Chapuys and
assured him that if the Holy Roman Emperor were to invade England to
redress the wrong that had been done to Queen Katherine, that the English
people would favor him.
Unfortunately, his words reached the ears of the king and he was arrested
and sent to the Tower on August 1538. He was persuaded to talk and he
revelaed the names of secret Papists at court, including his own brother,
Henry Lord Montagu. Geoffrey was pardoned as a result of his betrayal and
the others he mention, including his brother, were executed.
Having felt guilty at betraying his brother and friends, Geoffrey tried
to commit suicide while he was in the Tower. In 1540, he left his family
behind and fled to Europe, where he remained until the reign of Queen Mary.
He returned to England and died in 1558.
He married Constance, the elder of two daughter and heirs of Sir John
Pakenham. They had five sons and six daughters.
Arthur Pole, 1502-1535
Third son of Margaret Plantagenet, he was sentenced to death in the reign
of Elizabeth I, being implicated in a plot to release Mary, Queen of Scots.
Because of his royal blood, the Queen spared him from execution but not
In 1526, he married Jane Lewknor. It is not known if there were any
children from this marriage.
Reginald Pole, 1500-1558
The youngest son of Margaret Plantagenet, he graduated from Magdelan
College, Oxford. He was sent to Italy to complete his education and lived
there for five years. Reginald was another Pole family member who did not
approve of Henry’s divorce from Queen katherine. The King was well aware of
this and several times tried to get Pole on his side. At the urging of the
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Pole wrote Henry a letter, in which he
attacked Henry’s policy of royal supremacy and defended the spiritual
authority of the Pope. It was at this time that he was created a cardinal
by Pope Paul III. Henry then put a price on the new cardinal’s head and
arrested and executed many members of the pole family, including his mother
and his oldest brother Henry Lord Montagu.
When Henry’s daughter Mary became Queen, he was commission as a papal
Legate. He landed in England in 1554 and began to reorganize the country
back into the Church of Rome. Two years later he was ordained as a priest
and the following year became the Archbishop of Canterbury.
For the next two years, Cardinal Pole help Queen Mary with her
persecution of English Protestants. Disapproving of Pole’s methods, Pope
Paul IV cancelled his legatine authority and denounced him as a heretic.
Shortly afterwards, he fell ill and died twelve hours after Queen Mary on
November 17 1558.
Ursula Pole, ? -1570
Ursula was the only daughter of Margaret Plantagenet. In 1518, she
married Henry Stafford, first Baron Stafford. Very little is known of her.
It is believed that she had at least thrteen children before her death in
Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, 1474–1499
The son of George, Duke of Clarence, and Isobel Neville, he may have
suffered from some form of mental impairment. He lived in the royal
apartments in the Tower under the reign of his uncle Richard III. Henry VII
kept him in the Tower, but as a prisoner. When Perkin Warbeck was
imprisoned in the Tower, the two attempted to escape (possibly at the
instigation of Henry’s agents) and both were executed in 1499.
Edward IV, King of England, 1442–1483
By the Grace of God, King of England and France and Lord of Ireland
The eldest son of Richard, Duke of York and Cecily Neville, Edward was
born in Rouen, France, on April 28, 1442. He was educated at Ludlow Castle,
along with his younger brother Edmund, Earl of Rutland. He inherited the
title of Earl of March. Edward. was raising forces in the Welsh borders for
the Yorkist cause when his father and younger brother Edmund were killed at
the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. Acting speedily and decisively, Edward
routed the Lancastrians at the battles of Mortimer’s Cross and Towton, and
claimed the throne. Henry VI was then acclaimed a usurper and a traitor.
Edward was crowned in June 1461. He was an extremely popular ruler,
although well-known for his licentious behaviour. During his reign,
printing and silk manufacturing were introduced into England.
Edward’s secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, a widow of a Lancastrian
knight, angeed the old nobility and alienated his cousin Richard Neville,
Earl of Warwick (also known as "The Kingmaker"), who had previously been a
major power during the early days of Edward’s reign. In 1469, Edward was
deposed by Warwick, and was drien out of England and to Burgundy. Warwick
reinstated Henry VI. Two years later, backed by his brother-in-law, Charles
("The Bold"), Duke of Burgundy, returned to England with a large army and
defeated the Lancastrians at the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury.
The remaining years of his reign were, for the most part, peaceful. There
was, however, a short war with France in 1475, after which Louis XI agreed
to pay Edward a yearly subsidy. Edward died on April 8 1483 and was buried
at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.
As King, Edward’s arms were: Quarterly, France modern and England, and
his crest On a chapeau gules turned up ermine, a lion statant guardant
crowned or. As badges, he used the white rose of York, the sun in
splendour, and the white rose en soliel, as well as the lion, the bull and
the hart, the falcon and fetterlock of the dukes of York, and a white rose
incorporating red petals, a forerunner of the Tudor rose.
Elizabeth Woodville, 1437–1492, Queen of England
Elizabeth was the eldest child of Sir Richard Woodville and Jacquetta of
Luxembourg. She was maid of honor to Margaret of Anjou. She was married to
Sir John Grey of Groby, who was killed in battle in 1461, leaving her with
two small sons. Elizabeth married Edward IV secretly in April 1464 and was
crowned Queen in May 1465. She was also a patroness of Queens’ College,
Cambridge and gave the College its first Statues in 1475. Her ten brothers
and sisters, who were as avaricious and unpopular as herself, were raised
to high rank by the king. Elizabeth and Edward had three sons and seven
Following her husband’s death in 1483, their marriage was declared
invalid by Parliament and their children illegitimate. In 1485, however,
Elizabeth’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, married Henry VII and
became Queen of England. Elizabeth Woodville was subsequently banished to
Bermondsey Abbey, where she died in 1492.
Elizabeth Woodville’s seal displayed a shield of her husband’s arms
impaling her own, which were Quartlerly, first argent, a lion rampant
double queued gules, crowned or (Luxemburg, her mother’s family), second
quarterly, I and IV, gules a star if eight points argent; II and III,
azure, semée of fleurs de lys or; third, barry argent and azure, overall a
lion rampant gules; fourth, gules, three bendlets argent, on a chief of the
first, charged with a fillet in base or, a rose of the second; fifth, three
pallets vairy, on a chief or a label of five points azure, and sixth, a
fess and a canton conjoined gules (Woodville).
Children of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville
Elizabeth of York, 1466–1503, Queen of England
Born 11 February, 1466 at Westminster Palace, Elizabeth was the first
born child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. She was betrothed to
George Neville, Duke of Bedford, and then engaged to the Charles, the
Dauphin of France (later Charles VIII). Elizabeth married Henry Tudor in
1486 and became Queen of England, thus uniting the Houses of York and
Lancaster. As. Queen, she was completely dominated by Henry VII and his
mother Margaret Beaufort.
She bore Henry eight children: (1) Arthur, Prince of Wales, b. 1486; (2)
Margaret (later Queen of Scotland) b. 1489; (3) Henry (later Henry VII) b.
1491; (4) Elizabeth b.1492; (5) Mary (later Queen of France and Duchess of
Suffolk) b. 1496; (6) Edmund (died young) 1499; (7) Edward (died young);
and (8) Katherine (died young) b. 1503. Elizabeth died in childbirth in on
her birthday in 1503, at the age of 37 years. She is buried beside her
husband in the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey.
Mary of York, 1467-1482
Mary was the second daughter, born 11 August, 1467 at Windsor Castle. She
was promised in marriage to the King of Denmark, but died in 1482 before
the marriage could take place. She is buried in St. George’s Chapel,
Cicely of York, 1469–1507, Viscountess Welles
Cicely was born on 20 March 1469 at Westminster Palace. She was
originally promised in a marriage treaty to the heir of James III of
Scotland but instead married John, Lord Welles, by whom she had two
daughters Elizabeth and Anne, both of whom died without issue. By her
second marriage, to Thomas Kyme of Isle of Wight, she had Richard and
Margaret. She died at Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight on 24 August 1507.
Edward V, 1470–?
The eldest son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Edward was born in
sanctuary at Westminster on 4 November 1470. He was created Prince of
Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester, March and Pembroke. As Prince of
wales, Edward was educated at Ludlow Castle by his uncle Anthony, Earl
Following his father’s death, he was brought to London to be crowned.
Parliament, however, declared him to be illegitimate and Richard of
Gloucester became king. Edward and his brother Richard lived in the Tower
of London during the summer of 1483. Their fate is unknown.
Edward’s arms as king were: Quarterly, France modern and England, and his
crest on his Great Seal; on a chapeau gules turned up ermine encircled by a
royal coronet, a lion statant guardant crowned or.
Margaret of York, b. and d. 1472
This child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville (not to be confused with
her aunt of the same name) was born 10 April 1472 at Windsor Castle and
died on 11 December of the same year. She is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Richard, Duke of York, 1473–?
Born at Shrewsbury, the second son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville,
Richard was created Duke of York in 1474. In 1478, at the age of four
years, Richard was married to six-year-old Anne Mowbray, who had inherited
the estates of her father John Lord Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk in 1475. They
married at St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster, but Anne Mowbray died while
still a child. When his brother, Edward V, was deposed, young Richard, who
had been in sanctuary with his mother, was taken by the Archbishop of
Canterbury to live with his brother in the Royal Apartments in the Tower of
London. Their fate remains a mystery, but many contemporary heads of state
including (in secret correspondance, but not publicly) the Spanish King and
Queen, believed the claimant Perkin Warbeck, executed by Henry VII, to be
His arms were: Quarterly, France modern and England, a label of three
points, argent on the first point a canton gules; his crest was On a
chapeau gules turned up ermine, a lion statant guardant crowned or, gorged
with a label as in the arms, and his badge a falcon volant argent, membered
or, within a fetterlock unlocked gold.
George of York, Duke of Bedford, 1477-1479
The seventh child and third youngest son of Edward IV and Eizabeth
Woodville, he was created Duke of Bedford, but died very young. He is
buried at Windsor.
Anne of York, 1475-1510
Anne was married to Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk. She died in
1510 without surviving issue.
Catherine of York, 1479–1527
The sixth daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Catherine
married William Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and had one child, Henry, who
succeeded his father as Earl. Despite being made Marquis of Exeter, Henry’s
Yorkist blood doomed him, and he was beheaded in 1538 for being implicated
in a plot with Cardinal Pole. Henry’s only son, Edward Courtenay, died
without issue, and the descendants of this family are from the younger
brother of an earlier generation.
The arms of Catherine were her husband’s arms impaling her own:
Quarterly, first and fourth, or, three torteaux; second and third, or a
lion rampant azure; impaling quarterly, first, quarterly, France modern and
England, second and third, de Burgh, and fourth Mortimer.
The arms of Henry Courtenay were: Quarterly, first, France and England
quarterly, within a bordure quarterly of England and France, second and
third, or, three torteaux; fourth, or a lion rampant azure,; and his crest,
out of a ducal coronet or, a plume of ostrich feathers four and three
Bridget of York, 1480-1513
The tenth and last child of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, she became
a nun at Dartford and died in 1513.
Richard III 1452–1485
By the Grace of God, King of England and France and Lord of Ireland
Richard III was born on the 2 October, 1452 in Fotheringhay Castle during
the tumultuous period known as the Wars of the Roses. His personal motto of
Loyaulte Me Lie was a testament of his unswerving loyalty for his brother,
In 1461, he was sent to Middleham Castle to begin his knightly training
under his cousin, Richard Neville, known as "The Kingmaker". In 1472, he
married the Lady Anne Neville and they retired to Middleham. As Lord of the
North, Richard spent the next twelve years bringing peace and order to an
otherwise troublesome area of England. Through his hard work and diligence,
he attracted the loyalty and trust of the northern gentry. His
fairmindedness and justice became his byword. He had a good working
reputation of the law, was an able administrator and was militarily
formidable. Under his leadership, he won a brilliant campaign against the
Scots that is diminished by our lack of understanding of the region in his
He enjoyed a special relationship with the city of York and intervened on
its behalf on many occasions. Richard, known to be a pious man, was
instrumental in setting up no less than ten chantries and procured two
licenses to establish two colleges; one at Barnard Castle in County Durham
and the other at Middleham in Yorkshire. It is known that his favorite
castle was Middleham and he was especially generous to the church raising
it to the status of collegiate college. The statutes, written in English
rather than Latin, were drawn up under his supervision.
With the untimely death of his brother, Edward IV in 1483, he was
petitioned by the Lords and Commons of Parliament to accept the kingship of
England. During his brief reign, he passed the most enlightened laws on
record for the Fifteenth Century. He set up a council of advisors that
diplomatically included Lancastrian supporters, administered justice for
the poor as well as the rich, established a series of posting stations for
royal messengers between the North and London. He fostered the importation
of books, commanded laws be written in English instead of Latin so the
common people could understand their own laws. He outlawed benevolences,
started the system of bail and stopped the intimidation of juries. He re-
established the Council of the North in July of 1484 and it lasted for more
than a century and a half. He established the College of Arms that still
exists today. He donated money for the completion of St. George's Chapel at
Windsor and King's College in Cambridge. He modernized Barnard Castle,
built the great hall at Middleham and the great hall at Sudeley Castle. He
undertook extensive work at Windsor Castle and ordered the renovation of
apartments at one of the towers at Nottingham Castle.
In 1484, while Richard and Anne were at Nottingham, they received word
that their beloved son, Edward, who was at Middleham, died suddenly after a
brief illness. His wife, Anne, never recovered from the loss of her son and
died almost a year later. Her body was borne to Westminster Abbey and laid
to rest on the south side of St. Edward's Chapel. Richard wept openly at
her funeral and later shut himself off for three days.
In eighteen months, he lost brother, son and spouse. Throughout these
tragedies, he remained steadfast to his obligations. His reign showed great
promise, but amidst the intrigues and power struggles of his time, he found
himself on Bosworth Field. Richard III was 32 years old when he died at the
Battle of Bosworth and was the last English king to die in battle.
Arms as Duke of Gloucester: France and England modern, over all a 3-
pointed label ermine, on each point a conton gules.
Arms: Quarterly, France modern and England, and his crest on his Great
Seal; on a chapeau gules turned up ermine encircled by a royal coronet, a
lion statant guardant crowned or; special cognisant, a boar rampant argent,
armed and bristled or.
Anne Neville, Queen of England, 1456-1485
Anne Neville was born on 11 June 1456 at Warwick Castle, the younger
daughter of Richard Warwick ("The King Maker") and Anne Beauchamp, heiress
to the large Beauchamp estate. She spent her childhhod at warwick Castle
along with her older sister Isabel. In 1469, her father, no longer in favor
with Edward IV, fled to Calais, bringing his family with him. Shortly
afterwards, Warwick went over to the Lancastrians, and Anne was betrothed
to the Lancastrian Prince Edward, Prince of Wales. Her father and uuncle
John were killed at Barnet in April 1471. Edward of Lancaster died at
Tewkesbury a month later. She married Richard, Duke of Gloucester and they
spent most of their married life at Middleham Castle. They had only one
living child, Edward, Prince of Wales. In 1484, Prince Edward died. Anne
never recovered and died, probably of tuberculosis, in March 1485, just
five months before her husband Richard.
Her arms were: Quarterly, France modern and England, impaling gules, a
Edward, Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester and Salisbury, 1473–1484
Edward was the only surviving child of Richard III and Queen Anne. He was
born at Middleham Castle, Yorkshire and was created Prince of Wales during
the first year of his father’s reign. Edward suddenly became ill with
abdominal pain in 1484 and quickly died, possibly of appendicitis. His
parents were distraught with grief and his death may have hastened Anne’s
Arms: Quarterly, France modern and England, a label of three points
John of Gloucester
John was Richard III’s illegitimate son. His mother is unknown. He was
also called John of Pomfret, his father appointed him Captain of Calais in
1485, calling him ‘our dear son’. After his father’s death, during the
reign of Henry VII, John was beheaded on the pretext of treasonable
activities in Ireland.
Lady Catherine Plantagenet
Katherine was the illegitimate daughter of Richard III. Her mother is
unknown. In 1484, Katherine was married to William Herbert, Earl of
Huntingdon. Richard settled property worth 1,000 marks a year on the
couple. Katherine died young without producing any living children.
Some concrete facts about kings which had come frjm The House of York
Edward IV (1461-70, 1471-83 AD)
[pic]Edward IV, son of Richard, Duke of York and Cicely Neville, was born
in 1442. He married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464, the widow of the
Lancastrian Sir John Grey, who bore him ten children. He also entertained
many mistresses and had at least one illegitimate son.
Edward came to the throne through the efforts of his father; as Henry VI
became increasingly less effective, Richard pressed the claim of the York
family but was killed before he could ascend the throne: Edward deposed his
cousin Henry after defeating the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross in 1461.
Richard Neville, the Kingmaker, Earl of Warwick proclaimed Henry king once
again in 1470, but less than a year elapsed when Edward reclaimed the crown
and had Henry executed in 1471.
The rest of his reign was fairly uneventful. He revived the English claim
to the French throne and invaded the weakened France, extorting a non-
aggression treaty from Louis XI in 1475 which amounted to a lump payment of
75,000 crowns, and an annuity of 20,000. Edward had his brother, George,
Duke of Clarendon, judicially murdered in 1478 on a charge of treason. His
marriage to Elizabeth Woodville vexed his councilors, and he allowed many
of the great nobles (such as his brother Richard) to build
uncharacteristically large power bases in the provinces in return for their
Edward died suddenly in 1483, leaving behind two sons aged twelve and
nine, five daughters, and a troubled legacy.
Edward began his reign in 1461 and ruled for eight years before Henry's
brief return. His reign is marked by two distinct periods, the first in
which he was chiefly engaged in suppressing the opposition to his throne,
and the second in which he enjoyed a period of relative peace and security.
Both periods were marked also by his extreme licentiousness; it is said
that his sexual excesses were the cause of his death (it may have been
typhoid), but he was praised highly for his military skills and his
charming personality. When Edward married Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner
of great beauty, but regarded as an unfit bride for a king, even Warwick
turned against him. We can understand Warwick's switch to Margaret and to
Edward's young brother, the Duke of Clarence, when we learn that he had
hoped the king would marry one of his own daughters.
Clarence continued his activities against his brother during the second
phase of Edward's reign; his involvement in a plot to depose the king got
him banished to the Tower where he mysteriously died (drowned in his bath).
Edward had meanwhile set up a council with extensive judicial and military
powers to deal with Wales and to govern the Marches. His brother, the Duke
of Gloucester headed a council in the north. He levied few subsidies,
invested his own considerable fortune in improving trade; freed himself
from involvement in France by accepting a pension from the French King; and
all in all, remained a popular monarch. He left two sons, Edward and
Richard, in the protection of Richard of Gloucester, with the results that
have forever blackened their guardian's name in English history.
Edward V (1483 AD)
Edward V, eldest son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, was born in
1470. He ascended the throne upon his father's death in April 1483, but
reigned only two months before being deposed by his uncle, Richard, Duke of
Gloucester. The entire episode is still shrouded in mystery. The Duke had
Edward and his younger brother, Richard, imprisoned in the Tower and
declared illegitimate and named himself rightful heir to the crown. The two
young boys never emerged from the Tower, apparently murdered by, or at
least on the orders of, their Uncle Richard. During renovations to the
Tower in 1674, the skeletons of two children were found, possibly the
Richard III (1483-85)
[pic]Richard III, the eleventh child of Richard, Duke of York, and Cecily
Neville, was born in 1452. He was created third Duke of Gloucester at the
coronation of his brother, Edward IV. Richard had three children: one each
of an illegitimate son and daughter, and one son by his first wife, Anne
Neville, widow of Henry IV's son Edward.
Richard's reign gained an importance out of proportion to its length. He
was the last of the Plantagenet dynasty, which had ruled England since
1154; he was the last English king to die on the battlefield; his death in
1485 is generally accepted between the medieval and modern ages in England;
and he is credited with the responsibility for several murders: Henry VI ,
Henry's son Edward, his brother Clarence, and his nephews Edward and
Richard's power was immense, and upon the death of Edward IV , he
positioned himself to seize the throne from the young Edward V . He feared
a continuance of internal feuding should Edward V, under the influence of
his mother's Woodville relatives, remain on the throne (most of this feared
conflict would have undoubtedly come from Richard). The old nobility, also
fearful of a strengthened Woodville clan, assembled and declared the
succession of Edward V as illegal, due to weak evidence suggesting that
Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was bigamous, thereby rendering
his sons illegitimate and ineligible as heirs to the crown. Edward V and
his younger brother, Richard of York, were imprisoned in the Tower of
London, never to again emerge alive. Richard of Gloucester was crowned
Richard III on July 6, 1483.
Four months into his reign he crushed a rebellion led by his former
assistant Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, who sought the installation
of Henry Tudor , a diluted Lancaster, to the throne. The rebellion was
crushed, but Tudor gathered troops and attacked Richard's forces on August
22, 1485, at the battle of Bosworth Field. The last major battle of the
Wars of the Roses, Bosworth Field became the death place of Richard III.
Historians have been noticeably unkind to Richard, based on purely
circumstantial evidence; Shakespeare portrays him as a complete monster in
his play, Richard III. One thing is for certain, however: Richard's defeat
and the cessation of the Wars of the Roses allowed the stability England
required to heal, consolidate, and push into the modern era.
Richard of Gloucester had grown rich and powerful during the reign of his
brother Edward IV, who had rewarded his loyalty with many northern estates
bordering the city of York. Edward had allowed Richard to govern that part
of the country, where he was known as "Lord of the North." The new king was
a minor and England was divided over whether Richard should govern as
Protector or merely as chief member of a Council. There were also fears
that he may use his influence to avenge the death of his brother Clarence
at the hands of the Queen's supporters. And Richard was supported by the
powerful Duke of Buckingham, who had married into the Woodville family
against his will.
Richard's competence and military ability was a threat to the throne and
the legitimate heir Edward V. After a series of skirmishes with the forces
of the widowed queen, anxious to restore her influence in the north,
Richard had the young prince of Wales placed in the Tower. He was never
seen again though his uncle kept up the pretence that Edward would be
safely guarded until his upcoming coronation. The queen herself took
sanctuary in Westminster Abbey, but Richard had her brother and father
Edward's coronation was set for June, 1483. Richard planned his coup.
First he divided the ruling Council, convincing his own followers of the
need to have Lord Hastings executed for treason. (It had been Hastings who
had informed him of the late King's death and the ambitions of the Queen's
party). He then had his other young nephew Richard join Edward in the
Tower. One day after that set for Edward's coronation, Richard was able to
pressure the assembled Lords and Commons in Parliament to petition him to
assume the kingship. After his immediate acceptance, he then rode to
Westminster and was duly crowned as Richard III. His rivals had been
defeated and the prospects for a long, stable reign looked promising. Then
it all unraveled for the treacherous King.
It is one thing to kill a rival in battle but it is another matter to
have your brother's children put to death. By being suspected of this evil
deed, Richard condemned himself. Though the new king busied himself
granting amnesty and largesse to all and sundry, he could never cleanse
himself of the suspicion surrounding the murder of the young princes. He
had his own son Edward invested as Prince of Wales, and thus heir to his
throne, but revulsion soon set in to destroy what, for all intents and
purposes, could have been a well-managed, competent royal administration.
It didn't help Richard much that even before he took the throne he had
denounced the Queen "and her blood adherents," impugned the legitimacy of
his own brother and his young nephews and stigmatized Henry Tudor's royal
blood as bastard. The rebellion against him started with the defection of
the Duke of Buckingham whose open support of the Lancastrian claimant
overseas, Henry Tudor, transformed a situation which had previously favored
The king was defeated and killed at Bosworth Field in 1485, a battle that
was as momentous for the future of England as had been Hastings in 1066.
The battle ended the Wars of the Roses, and for all intents and purposes,
the victory of Henry Tudor and his accession to the throne conveniently
marks the end of the medieval and the beginning of England's modern period.