Analysis of the families of York and Lancaster (1312 – 1543)

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Analysis of the families of York and Lancaster (1312 – 1543)

Edward III of England / londononline.coukSome detailed knowledge of both dynastic families is essential to students of English and European history. The ‘Wars of the Roses’ was not a civil war (q.v.); nor was it just a war between a red and a white rose; it was a series of conflicts paid for and manned by nobled families, leading (they hoped) to the Crown, and with it – absolute power. Wih the Wars of the Roses bloodily accomplished, an usurper who had usurped the crown of an usurper, who had taken it from a properly annointed King who was the son of a properly annointed King (who was himself an usurper) finally achieved peace. This achiever was Henry VII, first of the terrible and terrifying Tudor Dynasty.

This is roughly how it goes:

Edward III (1312 – 77) married Philippa of Hainault (1314?-69). This couple had FIVE children: Edward known as ‘The Black Prince’ (born 1330), Lionel, Duke of Clarence (born 1338), John of Gaunt (later I Duke of Lancaster born 1340), Edmund of Langley, Duke of York (born 1344) and Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (born 1355).

The children born to John of Gaunt and his first wife Blanche of Lancaster founded the House of Lancaster: the sons of John of Gaunt and his third wife (and ex-mistress Catherine Swynford) founded the House of York. Thus we know that it was John of Gaunt whose blood founded BOTH dynastical houses of Lancaster and York. Gaunt’s father was Edward III, who lost his wife Philippa to illness and married his ex-mistress.

Edward, Prince of Wales married Joan of Kent and had one son, later to become Richard II.

Lionel, Duke of Clarence married Elizabeth de Burgh and had a daughter, Philippa.

Gaunt’s first wife Blanche of Lancaster brought him the title of Duke of Lancaster, as she was Duchess in her own right; their son Henry of Bolingbroke (born 1367) became Henry IV.

Gaunt’s second wife was the Spanish princess Constance of Castilia and their issue married into the royal families of Portugal and Spain.

Gaunt’s third wife as we know was Catherine Swynford and they had two sons called Beaufort, Henry and John.

Thomas, Duke of Gloucester married Eleanor de Bohun and they had a daughter called Anne.

Philippa, daughter of Lionel married Edmund Mortimer, third Earl of March.

Henry of Bolingbroke married Mary de Bohun.

John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset married Margaret Holand.

Anne, daughter of Thomas of Woodstock married Edmund, fifth Earl of Stafford.

Roger, son of Philippa and Edmund married Eleanor Holand, while his sister Elizabeth married Sir Henry Percy of Alnwick in Northumberland, known as ‘Hotspur’, and they had issue.

Henry of Bolingbroke and his wife Mary de Bohun had a son called Henry who became Henry V (‘Prince Hal’).

John and Margaret Beaufort had three sons, Henry, John and Edmund.

Anne, daughter of Thomas and Eleanor married Edmund of Stafford as we know and produced Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham.

Anne, daughter of Roger Mortimer and Eleanor Holland married Richard, Earl of Cambridge.

Henry VI son of Henry V and Katherine of Valois married Margaret of Anjou (known as ‘The She-Wolf of France’). But Henry V died young and his bride Katherine married Owen Tudor, an unknown and illegitimate Welsh knight.

Margaret Beaufort married Edmund Tudor (one of the two sons of Owen and Katherine) first, then Henry Stafford, then Thomas, Lord Stanley.

Margaret Beaufort daughter of Edmund and Eleanor married Humphrey Earl of Stafford and they had issue.

Princess Jacquetta of Luxemburg, Duchess of Bedford married as her second husband Sir Richard Wydvil or Woodville, and their daughter Elizabeth eventually married Edward, Earl of March, Edward IV, one of the sons of Richard, Duke of York. Are you still with me?

Anne (dau. of Roger and Eleanor) and her husband Richard of Cambridge had a son, Richard, Duke of York who married Cecily Neville and they had four children, Edward, George, Richard and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth of York would eventually marry Henry of Richmond, Henry VII, founding the Royal House of Tudor, and joining the houses of York and Lancaster.

George, Duke of Clarence married Isabella Neville and had two children, Edward and Margaret.

Richard, Duke of Gloucester became Richard III, married Anne Neville, and had a son Edward, Prince of Wales who died young.

Elizabeth Plantagenet married John de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, and they had two sons John and Edmund.

The following were murdered: Thomas of Woodstock, Richard II, Henry VI (1471) Edward of Lancaster, Prince of Wales (1471), Thomas, Duke of Gloucester (1397), Edward V and his brother the Duke of York (no-one knows for certain where or when the two boys died, but the Tower of London is a clear possibility); and possibly Anne Neville (1485)

The following were executed: Owen Tudor, Richard, Earl of Cambridge (1415), Henry, Duke of Buckingham (1482), George, Duke of Clarence (1478 (knifed and drowned in a barrel of malmsey’), the mentally challenged Edward, Earl of Warwick (1499 death ordered by Henry VII), Margaret Countess of Salisbury, daughter of George and Isabella (1541) and Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk (1513 death ordered by Henry VII)).

The following were killed in battle: Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham (1460), Roger Mortimer, Earl of March (1398) ‘Hotspur’ Henry Percy (1403), Richard, Duke of York (1460), Richard III (1485 at Bosworth) and John de la Pole (1487).

The Beauforts survived everything and eventually became Dukes of Somerset and Dukes of Beaufort. They descend from John of Gaunt whose father, son, grandson and great-grandson were kings of England. The Spanish and Portuguese lines founded by daughters of his second wife Constance of Castilia have also survived in various forms. The dukedom of Buckingham became extinct. The titles York, Cambridge and Gloucester became royal dukedoms. The title ‘Duke of Lancaster’ is owned automatically by the reigning sovereign of Great Britain. The Percy family still live in Alnwick Castle. Richard III is popularly supposed to have connived at the murder of his own nephews Edward and Richard (q.v.): this is questionable because both had been declared illegitimate because of the secret first marriage of their royal father.

The only civil war in English history was the one fought between King Charles I and his supporters, and a Parliamentary force led by Oliver Cromwell in the seventeenth century (q.v.)

By | 2012-04-22T18:41:50+00:00 April 22nd, 2012|English History|0 Comments

About the Author:

‘Dean Swift’ is a pen name: the author has been a soldier; he has worked in sales, TV, the making of films, as a teacher of English and history and a journalist. He is married with three grown-up children. They live in Spain.

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