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EDWARD IV, KING OF ENGLAND
EDWARD IV, King of England. [CHART A1].
Born 28 April 1442 at Rouen, Normandy, France; son of Richard PLANTAGENET, Duke of York, and Cecily NEVILLE.
Edward was born in 1442, at Rouen in France, the eldest son of Richard, Duke of York, a leading claimant to the throne of England. York's challenge to the ruling family marked the beginning of the conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. When Richard was killed in 1460, at the Battle of Wakefield, pressing his claim against the Lancastrian king, Henry VI of England, Edward became his heir.
With the support of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick ("The Kingmaker"), Edward, already showing great promise as a leader of men, defeated the Lancastrians in a succession of battles. While Henry and his militant queen, Margaret of Anjou, were campaigning in the north, Warwick gained control of the capital and had Edward declared king in London in 1461. Edward strengthened his claim with a decisive victory at the Battle of Towton in the same year, in the course of which the Lancastrian army was virtually wiped out.
Edward had numerous mistresses, the most well-known of whom is Jane Shore.
Edward was tall, strong, handsome, and popular (and his grandson Henry VIII of England was much like him in these qualities). Warwick, believing that he could continue to rule through him, pressed him to enter into a marital alliance with a major European power. Edward, who had appeared to go along with the wishes of his mentor, then alienated Warwick by secretly marrying a widow, Elizabeth Woodville (having previously married the widow Eleanor Talbot even more secretly). With Elizabeth had a large group of relatively poor but very ambitious relations, who soon became powerful at Warwick's expense. The Earl changed sides and led an army against Edward.
The king's army was defeated at the Battle of Edgecote, and Edward was captured. Warwick attempted to rule in the Edward's name, but the nobility, many of whom owed the preferments to the king, were restive. Warwick was forced to release Edward. Neither Warwick nor the king were powerful enough to subdue the other, until after a failed rebellion in 1470 Warwick was forced to flee to France. There he joined forces with the Lancastrians, invaded again, and this time Edward was forced to flee.
Henry VI was briefly restored to the throne, and Edward took refuge in Burgundy, where he raised an army to win back his kingdom. Philippe de Commines spent time with Edward while he was the guest of Louis de Bruges, sieur de la Gruthuyse, in 1470-1471. Later Commines said of King Edward:
"He had been during the last twelve years more accustomed to his ease and pleasure than any other prince who lived in his time. He had nothing in his thoughts but les dames, and of them more than was reasonable; and hunting-matches, good eating, and great care of his person. . . [I]t is not surprising that his person was as jolly as any one I ever saw. He was then young, and as handsome as any man of his age; but he has since become enormously fat."
Returning to England, he defeated Warwick at the Battle of Barnet. With Warwick dead, he eliminated the remaining Lancastrian resistance at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, in the course of which the Lancastrian heir, Edward, Prince of Wales, was killed. Edward's two younger brothers, George, Duke of Clarence, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III of England), who were married to Warwick's two daughters, were at loggerheads for much of the rest of his reign. Clarence was eventually imprisoned and executed in the Tower of London.
Commines explained that it was how much Edward owed them that had made Londoners eager to put him back on the throne, along with the fact that he was very popular with the women of that city, and they so nagged their husbands that the menfolk welcomed Edward back just "for the tranquility of their lives."
He married Elizabeth LUCY [F243559].
In 1474 received an embassy from Scotland, one member of which was our ancestor (Sir) John COLQUHOUN [F565248], Lord of Colquhoun and Luss, that was sent to negotiate a marriage between the Scottish Royal Prince and Princess Cecilia, daughter of King Edward IV. Apparently the negotiations were not successful.
Was Edward illegitimate?
Questions about the paternity of Edward IV had been raised by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick in 1469 and repeated by George, Duke of Clarence shortly before his death in 1478, but with no evidence. Parliament seems to have addressed this rumour in Titulus Regius (the text of which is believed to come word-for-word from the petition presented by Buckingham to the assembly which met on June 25, 1483, to decide on the future of the monarchy). It describes Edward's brother Richard III as "the undoubted son and heir" of Richard, Duke of York and "born in this land" -- an oblique reference to his brother's birth at Rouen and baptism in circumstances which could have been considered questionable. Dominic Mancini says that Cecily Neville, King Edward's and King Richard's mother, was herself the basis for the story: When she found out about Edward's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, in 1464, "Proud Cis" flew into a rage. One of the things she said then was that she was of a good mind to declare he was illegitimate and so have him kicked off the throne for his foolishness.
As historical novelist Sharon Kay Penman explains, paid propagandists for Henry Tudor, after he became Henry VII (and King Richard was dead), concocted out of whole cloth the story that Richard III had said his brother Edward was illegitimate: "Tudor's official historian, Polydore Vergil, . . . contend[ed] that Richard based his claim to the crown upon his brother Edward's illegitimacy. This was, of course, an out-and-out lie."
Edward IV died suddenly 9 APR 1483 in Westminster, London, England. He was buried in Windsor Castle. He was succeeded by his twelve-year-old son, Edward V of England. Although his son was quickly barred from the throne and succeeded by Richard of Gloucester, Edward IV's daughter, Elizabeth of York, later became the queen of Henry VII of England.
b: Bet. 1440 - 1450 in Graton Regis, Northamptonshire, ENGLAND d: June 08, 1492 in Abbey Bermondsey, ENGLAND.
Elizabeth Woodville (1437-1492) was the queen-consort of King Edward IV of England 1464-1483.
She was the daughter of Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. In about 1452, she married Sir John Grey, 2nd Baron Ferrers of Groby, who was killed at the second Battle of St Albans in 1461, fighting for the Lancastrian cause. (This was ironic, as Edward IV was the Yorkist claimant to the throne.) Elizabeth had two sons from the marriage, Thomas (later Marquess of Dorset) and Richard.
Edward had many mistresses, the most notorious being Jane Shore, but Elizabeth insisted on marriage, which took place secretly (from the public but not from their family and friends) on May 1, 1464, at her family home in Northamptonshire. At the time, Edward's adviser, the Earl of Warwick, was negotiating a marriage alliance with France. When the marriage to Elizabeth Woodville became common knowledge, it was the cause of considerable rancour on Warwick's part, and when Elizabeth's relatives, especially her brother, Earl Rivers, began to be favored over him, he changed sides. (Nor was Warwick the only one who resented the way the queen's relatives scooped up favours and lucrative opportunities; in 1480, for example, when Elizabeth's obscure brother-in-law Sir Anthony Grey died, he was interred in St Albans Cathedral with a brass marker to rival the one for that abbey's greatest archbishop. That was nothing compared to the marriages the queen arranged for her family, the most outrageous being when her 20-year-old brother John Woodville married the dowager Duchess of Norfolk, widowed three times and nearly 80 but very, very wealthy. The queen also married her 24-year-old sister Katherine (or Catherine) Woodville to Elizabeth's 12-year-old ward Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, who was quite wealthy already, too.)
Elizabeth and Edward's marriage had produced ten children, including two sons who were still living at the time of the king's sudden death in 1483. The elder, Edward, had been born in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey in 1470, during the period when Edward IV was out of power during the Wars of the Roses. Elizabeth now, briefly, became Queen Mother, but on June 25, 1483, her marriage was declared null and void by Parliament in the act Titulus Regius on the grounds that Edward had previously promised to marry Lady Eleanor Talbot Butler, which was considered a legally binding contract that rendered any other marriage contract invalid as bigamous. (Eleanor Talbot had done the same thing Elizabeth Woodville did later: A widow who caught Edward's eye, she refused to give in to him until he promised to marry her.) This information came to the fore when Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells, testified that he had carried out the ceremony. On the basis of his evidence, all Elizabeth's children by Edward, including King Edward V, were declared illegitimate, and her brother-in-law, Richard III, accepted the crown and kept the two princes in the Tower of London, where they had already been lodged to await the coronation. The exact fate of the so-called Princes in the Tower is unknown but both were dead in this or the next reign. Elizabeth and her other children were in sanctuary again, fearing for their safety. This may have been to protect themselves against jealous courtiers who wanted their own back on the entire Woodville clan.
Elizabeth then conspired with Lancastrians, promising to marry her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, to the Lancastrian claimant to the throne, Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII), if he could supplant Richard. Following Henry's accession in 1485, Elizabeth Woodville's children by Edward IV were once again legitimised (because Henry wanted his wife to be the Yorkist heir to the throne, to cement his hold on it). The former Queen Elizabeth Woodville, now simply Dame Elizabeth Grey again, died on June 8, at Bermondsey in London and was buried in the same chantry as her husband King Edward in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.
CHILDREN of Elizabeth Woodville by Sir John Grey:
- Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset
- Richard Grey
CHILDREN of Edward IV, King of England [F243558] and Elizabeth WOODVILLE:
- Elizabeth. (1466-15030. Queen of Henry VII.
- Mary Plantagenet, Princess Of England. b: August 1466-1467. d: May 23, 1482. buried in St. Geroge’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
- Cecily Plantagenet, Princess Of England. b: March 20, 1468/69. She married (1) John WELLES, the first Viscount Welles (b: Bet. 1460 - 1470 d: 1486-1558) She married (2) Thomas KYMBE. She died 24 AUG 1507.
- Edward V, King Of England. b: November 11, 1470 in Westminster Abbey, London, ENGLAND d: Abt. July 1483 Murdered in the Tower of London, Greater London, England.
- Margaret Plantagenet, Princess Of England. b: April 10, 1472 d: December 11, 1472. Buried in Westminster Abbey.
- Richard Plantagenet, Duke Of York. b: August 17, 1473 d: Abt. July 1483 Murdered in the Tower of London, Greater London, ENGLAND.
- Anne Plantagenet, Princess Of England. Born 2 NOV 1475. She married Thomas HOWARD, Duke of Norfolk. (b: 1474). She died 23 NOV 1511.
- George Plantagenet, Duke Of Bedford. b: March 1476/77 d: Abt. 1481. Buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
- Katherine (Catherine) Plantagenet, Princess Of England. b: Abt. August 14, 1479. She married William Countenay, 9th Earl of Devon (b: Bet. 1470 - 1480 d: 1500-1566). She died 15 NOV 1527.
- Bridget Plantagenet, Princess Of England. b: November 10, 1480. She became a nun at Dartford Priory in Kent. she d: 1517.
Lady Eleanor Talbot was a daughter of Sir John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. Her alleged pre-contract of marriage with King Edward IV of England was of great significance to the final fate of the Plantagenet dynasty.
In 1449 or 1450, Eleanor married Sir Thomas Butler (son of Ralph Butler, Lord Sudeley), who died some time before March 1461. In the political turmoil surrounding the change of monarchs then, the widowed Eleanor's father-in-law took back one of the two manors he had settled on her and her husband when they married, but he did not complete the required paperwork by obtaining a licence for the transfer of title, and the new king, Edward IV, seized both the properties.
The exact course of events is uncertain, but it seems that Lady Eleanor went directly to King Edward to ask him to return her property. Edward (who, though barely out of his teens, already had a reputation for womanizing) was more interested in her than in her property. It is said that Edward made a legally binding contract to marry her. According to the French political analyst, Philippe de Commines, the priest who later came forward and testified to having performed the ceremony was Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells. Edward married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464, and it was later suggested that one reason the marriage was not announced publicly was the danger that Eleanor would come forward with the news of her earlier marriage to the king. Robert Stillington rose to be Chancellor of England, along with other lucrative posts.
Lady Eleanor Butler died in a convent in June 1468 and was buried in the Church of the White Carmelites, Norwich, England. Some years later, the priest in question (Commynes is the only source who identifies him as Stillington) is said to have told King Edward's unstable and untrustworthy brother, George, Duke of Clarence, about the pre-contract. Clarence was already on the verge of rebellion against his elder brother; Edward now threw both his brother and Stillington into the Tower of London. Clarence was tried before Parliament (with Edward himself as his accuser) in January 1478, convicted of treason, and sentenced to be executed.
There has been speculation that the reason Clarence was killed privately in the Tower ( whether he was really drowned in a "butt of Malmsey" wine or not) may have been that Edward wanted to ensure that he did not have an opportunity to disclose in public the secret that would make his brother's children illegitimate and himself the next in line for the throne. Stillington's imprisonment was to be a warning. Only after Edward's death did he come forward publicly with that evidence, this time offering it to the future Richard III of England, to prevent Edward IV's son from being crowned as Edward V. Richard then took the throne.
No records survive of the meeting of the Parliamentary Lords on June 9, 1483, where Stillington is said to have presented the evidence of the pre-contract, including documents and other witnesses. The Duke of Buckingham is supposed to have told Morton afterwards that he had believed that evidence when he saw it but had later changed his mind. When Henry VII of England came to the throne, he ordered all documents relating to the case to be destroyed, as well as the act of parliament by which Richard was enabled to claim the throne; so efficiently were his orders carried out that only one copy of Titulus Regius has ever been found.
Elizabeth LUCY. (WAYTE).
Born between 1440 and 1450 at Lumley, Durham, England; daughter of William LUCY and Eleanor GREY. She died about 1490 at Lumley, Durham, England.
After Richard's death, Tudor "historians" -- including Sir Thomas More in his History of Richard III -- named Elizabeth Lucy as the woman Stillington testified he had married to Edward. Elizabeth Lucy (who may also have been called Elizabeth Wayte) was probably the mother of Edward IV's bastard son Arthur (Plantagenet), Viscount Lisle
CHILDREN of Edward IV, King of England, and Elizabeth LUCY:
- [F121779]. Elizabeth PLANTAGENET. Born between 1460 and 1470. She married Thomas de LUMLEY [F121778].
- Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle. (1461-1542). Arthur was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1540 on charges of plotting to betray Calais to the French; when the verdict came in acquitting him, he had a heart attack and died.
- [S1]. Descendants of Charlemagne. http://www.isdesigners.com/Genealogy/Charlemagne/charlema4.htm
- [S2]. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_IV_of_England
- [S3]. http://www.100megsfree.com/famfound/R_html/dat12.html
- [S4]. Ancestors of William Cahoon. Research of Terri Hamblin. Correspondence of 9 OCT 2005.