Family of Queen Katherine: Parentage of Margaret Parr, Lady Radcliffe

Sir Richard Radcliffe/Ratcliffe (d.1485)
Sir Richard Radcliffe/Ratcliffe (d.1485)

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to the parentage of Margaret Parr, Lady Radcliffe. Several sources state that she was the daughter of Sir William Parr of Kendal Castle, an ancestor of Queen Katherine Parr. Others state that she was the daughter of Sir William Parr, Baron Parr of Kendal, grandfather of Queen Katherine Parr. This cannot be despite an entry in the D.N.B. stating that she is the aunt of Queen Katherine!

“His maternal grandfather’s connection with the court as comptroller of the household to Edward IV will no doubt explain the origin of Radcliffe’s intimacy with Richard of Gloucester. He and his uncle, John Parr, were knighted by the king on the field of Tewkesbury, and Gloucester made him a knight-banneret during the siege of Berwick in August 1482 (Paston Letters, iii. 9; Davies, p. 48).”

The author, Sidney Lee, seems to be making a broad assumption here about a connection to William Parr, comptroller of the household of Edward IV. For in his article about William Parr he states that Parr only had one daughter, Anne.

Margaret Parr’s parents are in fact Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal (1407-1464) and Alice Tunstall. Her brother, Sir William Parr (grandfather of Queen Katherine), whom several sources have confused her as being the daughter of, wasn’t born until 1439. Margaret is stated as being born c.1440. Margaret and William both had a brother named John Parr [he was knighted and was made Sheriff of Westmoreland for life]. Margaret’s nephew, son of William, was ALSO named John Parr, Esq. He was not born until AFT 1483 [after the Battle of Tewskesbury on 4 May 1471 AND after the siege of Berwick]. He was never knighted.

Margaret’s husband, Thomas Radcliffe, was born on 28 November 1422; his son, Nicholas, would have born shortly after.

Possibly Thomas Radcliffe and Margaret Parr; Great Crosthwaite, Cumberland
Possibly Thomas Radcliffe and Margaret Parr; Great Crosthwaite, Cumberland

William Parr and Elizabeth FitzHugh [grandparents of Queen Katherine] had two daughters and three sons; Anne Cheney, Alice Parr (d. young), Sir Thomas, Sir William, and John, Esq. D.N.B ENTRY ON SIR WILLIAM PARR

Sources for Margaret Parr (c.1440) being the sister of William Parr (born 1439; grandfather of Queen Katherine Parr); both children of Sir Thomas Parr and Alice Tunstall:

  1. Edward Baines, William Robert Whatton, Brooke Herford, James Croston. “The history of the county palatine and duchy of Lancaster,” Volume 5, J. Heywood, 1893. pg 20.
  2. Douglas Richardson. “Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families“2nd Edition, 2011. pg 298.
  3. Sir Bernard Burke. “A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire,” Harrison, 1866. pg 418.
  4. Linda Porter. “Katherine the Queen: The Remarkable Life of Katherine Parr, the Last Wife of Henry VIII,” Macmillan, Nov 23, 2010.
  5. Susan James. “Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love,” History Press, Jan 1, 2009.

Through their son Sir Edward Radcliffe, they were ancestors to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, mother of HM Queen Elizabeth II. [Source: John Burke, George Ormerod. ”A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank, but uninvested with heritable honours,” Volume 2, Genealogical Pub. Co., 1977.]


Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

3 thoughts on “Family of Queen Katherine: Parentage of Margaret Parr, Lady Radcliffe”

  1. You make no mention of Parr, Baron Horton, and his issue. He had a daughter born circa 1520 also named Margaret, or Marjorie, who wed one of my ancestors, according to several sources.

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