Family of Queen Katherine: Lady Cecily, Duchess of Warwick

Detail of the magnificent tomb chest that bears the effigy of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick in the chapel he founded at St Mary's, Warwick. This effigy is that of his daughter-in-law, Lady Cecily Neville.
Detail of the magnificent tomb chest that bears the effigy of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick in the chapel he founded at St Mary’s, Warwick. This effigy is that of his daughter-in-law, Lady Cecily Neville.
Lady Cecily Neville, Duchess of Warwick, Countess of Worcester (c.1425[2][5] – 26 July 1450[3]) was the second child and daughter of Sir Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury and Lady Alice Montacute, suo jure 5th Countess of Salisbury.[2] Her nine siblings included Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick; John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu; George Neville, (Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England); Sir Thomas Neville; Lady Joan, Countess of Arundel; Lady Katherine, Baroness Hastings; Lady Alice, Baroness FitzHugh; Lady Eleanor, Countess of Derby; and Lady Margaret, Countess of Oxford.[2]

She was most likely named after her paternal aunt, Lady Cecily Neville, later Duchess of York.[2] Her first cousins by the Duchess of York included Anne of York; Edmund, Earl of Rutland; Elizabeth of York; Margaret of York; George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence; and Kings Edward IV and Richard III. Other cousins included John Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk; Lord Humphrey Stafford, 7th Earl of Stafford [father of 2nd Duke of Buckingham]; Lady Katherine Stafford, Countess of Shrewsbury [wife of the 3rd Earl]; Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland; Ralph, 2nd Earl of Westmorland; George Neville, 4th and 2nd Baron of Abergavenny; Thomas Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre of Gillesland; and Ralph Greystoke, 5th Baron.

In 1436, it was decided that Cecily would marry Henry de Beauchamp, Lord Despenser (later 1st Duke of Warwick and King of the Isle of Wight, as well as of Jersey and Guernsey).[2] Henry was the son and heir of son of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and Lady Isabel le Despenser, the sole heiress of Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester (d.1399) by his wife, Constance of York. At the same time, it was decided that her elder brother, Richard, would marry Beauchamp’s younger sister, Lady Anne.[2] The marriage negotiations were not easy or inexpensive; Salisbury had to promise to pay Warwick a large sum of 4, 700 marks (£3, 233.66).[2] In 1436, the two couples married in a double marriage ceremony.[2]

After the death of the Duke of Warwick in 11 June 1446, the Dowager Duchess married to Sir John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester. They had no children.

By the Duke of Warwick, Cecily gave birth to a daughter and their heiress, Lady Anne, who was most likely named after her aunt, who had married Cecily’s brother Richard [later known as “Warwick the Kingmaker”]. Richard’s wife, Lady Anne, would inherit the Beauchamp fortunes and became Countess of Warwick in “her own right” after the death of her niece in 1449.

The Warwick Inheritance

The advantage of this marriage, which came in the form of Cecily’s husband being created Duke of Warwick on 14 April 1445, was short lived as her husband died on 11 June 1446 and the couple’s only daughter, Lady Anne Beauchamp, was allowed to succeed only as suo jure 15th Countess of Warwick. Upon the death of Cecily’s daughter in 1449, the title was inherited by her paternal aunt, also named Lady Anne Beauchamp. Lady Anne, who had married Cecily’s brother Sir Richard Neville, became suo jure 16th Countess of Warwick thus making Neville jure uxoris 16th Earl of Warwick. There were no objections as the elder half-sisters from the 13th Earl of Warwick’s marriage to his first wife, Elizabeth Berkeley; their husband’s, John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, were off defending Normandy.[2] The third half-sister had been married to George Neville, 1st Baron Latimer who had been declared insane and his brother Salisbury already possessed his lands.[2] The three sisters had to settle for nine manors, while the Despenser lands were preserved for George Neville, later 4th Baron Bergavenny, the heir of the 16th Countess of Warwick’s maternal sister, Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp, suo jure Baroness Bergavenny.[2] Cecily and her second husband, the Earl of Worcester, however had custody of the land up until two months before Cecily died in July 1540.[2] Upon that time, the lands were handed over to Cecily’s brother, Warwick.[2] However in 1457, when Bergavenny became of age — the rights were ignored and Warwick’s wife, Anne, became the sole heiress of her mother’s inheritance in the first parliament of Edward IV in 1461.[2] Both Warwick and Bergavenny were cousins to the King, however Warwick was the older brother of Bergavenny’s father. Warwick’s wife was also the daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick, who was senior to his cousin, Richard Beauchamp, 1st Earl of Worcester — first husband of Lady Isabel le Despenser.

The Future of the Warwick Inheritance

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick was a supporter of the House of York as cousin to the King and his siblings. However, at the Battle of Barnet, Warwick and his brother-in-law, Oxford, both sided with the Lancastrian King.[2] Warwick’s allegiance to the House of York was damaged after Edward IV married the Lancastrian widow, Lady Elizabeth Grey [born Woodville]. As Lady Elizabeth’s large family followed her to court, so did the titles, marriages, and grants. The Woodvilles were of common descent, but their fortunes improved when a Woodville squire married the Dowager Duchess of Bedford [widow of John of Lancaster, son of Henry IV]. The marriage was not favored by the nobles at court and the favors granted to the Woodvilles did not stop–in that, the nobility became extremely frustrated and resentful. Warwick rebelled and paid the price with his life. His only children were two daughters. Warwick had no male heir. However, his two daughters both married a brother of King Edward IV and became Royal Duchesses. After the Battle of Barnet, Warwick’s wife Anne [the holder of the title Countess of Warwick and inheritance], forfeited her right to all of her inheritance due to being the wife of the traitor, Warwick. The inheritance was eventually divided between Warwick’s eldest daughter, Isabel, the Duchess of Clarence and Anne, who would become the Duchess of Gloucester [later queen consort]. The Duke of Clarence forfeited his right to any of the inheritance after his execution [his wife was already dead]. Their son, Edward, was imprisoned in The Tower and was executed by order of Henry VII in 1499.[7]

An ironic twist to the history of this Abbey came during the reign of the Tudor King Edward VI; the Manor of Tewkesbury, a possession of the Beauchamps, was granted to Lord Seymour of Sudeley. Sudeley was non other than the husband of the Dowager Queen Katherine Parr. Parr, herself, was a descendant of Warwick’s sister, Lady Alice; her paternal great-grandmother.[7]

A map of Tewksbury Abbey.
A map of Tewksbury Abbey.
Lady Cecily, the Dowager Duchess of Warwick and Countess of Worcester died on 26 July 1450. She was buried with her first husband, the Duke of Warwick, at Tewkesbury Abbey; with no monument.[1] Warwick was buried at his own request between the stalls in the choir upon his death in 1446. At the time the choir was repaved in 1875, a grave of stone filled with rubble was found together with some bones of a man of herculean size. These, no doubt, were those of the Duke who was buried here. The large marble slab that formerly covered the grave disappeared early in this century but the brasses that were originally in it had been taken away long before, Cecily, the Dowager Duchess of Warwick was buried in the same place on 31 July 1450.[3][4]

Effigy of John Tiptoft and his two wives which included Cecily, Dowager Duchess of Warwick.
Effigy of John Tiptoft and his second and third wives, Elizabeth Greyndour and Elizabeth Hopton at Ely Cathedral
Cecily is portrayed on the tomb of her father-in-law, Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, within the Chapel. The Purbeck Marble tomb chest is decorated with a superb and complete set of 14 gilt bronze mourners (all male to the south, all female to the north) complimented by 18 smaller figures of angels. The mourners are identified by their enamelled coats of arms which survive beneath them. English medieval bronze sculpture of this kind (c.1460), of this quality and in such excellent preservation is extremely rare! (Aidan McRae Thomson)

Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick. Also buried near this monument is Katherine Parr's brother, the Marquess of Northampton whose funeral and burial was paid for by Elizabeth I.
Beauchamp Chapel, Warwick. Also buried near this monument is Katherine Parr’s brother, the Marquess of Northampton whose funeral and burial was paid for by Elizabeth I.
The 1448 contract for making this tomb survives: it indicates that it is not a portrait and refers to the following who were involved in its making: John Bourde of Corfe supplied the Purbeck Marble, William Austen of London cast the metal, John Massingham, carver, made the model, Bartholomew Lambespring, goldsmith, polished and gilded the effigy; one Roger Webb is also referred to in this contract but it is not known what his role was in the construction. A separate contract of the following year with William Austen to cast the effigy. A third contract of 1453 is for brass plates for the lid, sides and the hearse; in this contract John Essex of London, marbler and Thomas Stevyns of London, coppersmith, also appear with William Austen.
Cast gilt bronze effigy in armour on a Purbeck marble tomb chest. The Earl’s hands are held in a curious separated position. Head on helmet with crest of a swan and his feet on both a bear and griffin. The details of the armour are very fine. Charles Stothard lifted the effigy down from the tomb chest to draw its dorsal surface where the armour is again shown in very fine detail. Over the whole is a hooped framework – the ‘hearse’ referred to above; this would have supported a fabric cover and only be removed when masses were said for his soul. Around the tomb chest are gilt bronze ‘mourners’ – seven male and seven female. The mourners include the 13th Earl’s children and in-laws. They include [among others] his son Henry who became Duke of Warwick, his daughter-in-law Duchess Cecily [daughter of the 5th Earl of Salisbury], the 5th Earl and Countess of Salisbury [Richard Neville and Lady Alice Montacute], his daughter Lady Anne [sister of the Duke] and her husband Richard Neville [brother of Duchess Cecily], who inherited the Beauchamp estates to become Earl and Countess of Warwick.[6]
Richard Beauchamp fought with Henry IV and Henry V and was guardian of the infant Henry VI. At the time of his death he was Governor of Normandy.

Ancestry of Cecily, Duchess of Warwick
Ancestry of Cecily, Duchess of Warwick


  1. Henri Jean Louis Joseph Massé. “The Abbey Church of Tewkesbury:with some account of the Priory Church of Deerhurst, Gloucestershire,” G. Bell. 1906. pg 79.
  2. David Baldwin. “The Kingmaker’s Sisters: Six Powerful Women in the Wars of the Roses,” The History Press; First Edition edition, 1 August 2009.
  3. Michael Hicks. “Warwick, the Kingmaker,” John Wiley & Sons, 15 April 2008. pg 47.
  4. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XII/2, page 845.
  5. The eldest child of the Salisbury’s, Lady Joan (later Countess of Arundel) was born before 2 November 1424. Lady Cecily, the second child, was followed by Richard Neville (later 16th Earl of Warwick) in 1428. Cecily is noted to be born shortly after Joan in Baldwin’s “The Kingmaker’s Sisters.
  6. Anne MacGee Morganstern, John A. A. Goodall. “Gothic Tombs of Kinship in France, the Low Countries, and England,” Penn State Press, Jan 1, 2000. pg 137.
  7. H.J.L.J. Masse. The Project Gutenberg Ebook of Bell’s Cathedrals: The Abbey Church of Tewksbury, [1906] Public Domain: 2007. Gutenberg eBook

Queen Katherine Parr: “The Jersey Portrait”

The portrait known as “The Jersey Portrait,” was once thought to depict Lady Jane Grey. Through thorough research however, the conclusion is that this is a portrait of Queen Katherine Parr.

“Parr is known to have commissioned numerous portraits of herself while married to Henry VIII, and this portrait was no doubt one of the many produced and given to friends and family.” (Susan James)

From Dr. Edwards, author of the site “Some Grey Matter“: “The Earl of Jersey informed me via email on 12 November 2012 that an unnamed friend of his mother had previously conducted an unpublished study of the painting. That friend concluded independently that the sitter was Katherine Parr. The friend’s findings were reviewed by experts at Sotheby’s auction house, and Sotheby’s “concurred” with the findings. None of this was known to me prior to 12 November, and neither the friend nor Sotheby’s have published that independent report.”

Little is known about the painting. It is oil on wood panel, consistent with sixteenth-century practices. It is about three-quarter life-size, according to the current Earl of Jersey, measuring 34 inches high by 24 inches wide. The frame bears a label of unknown age and origin identifying the sitter as Queen Mary. No detailed provenance information has ever been published, so that it is not possible to know when or how it came into the Jersey collection at Osterley House. It is worth noting that the original Tudor-era Osterley House had been built in the 1570s by Sir Thomas Gresham, who held Lady Jane’s sister Lady Mary Keyes [Grey] in custody from 1569 to 1572. The Osterley House built by Gresham fell into ruin in the eighteenth century, however, making it unlikely that the portrait originated there. Osterley was acquired and rebuilt in the 1760s by Sir Francis Child, ancestor of the 9th Earl of Jersey. The painting almost certainly entered the Jersey collection after 1760 as decoration for the new house. The painting survives and is now owned by The Earldom of Jersey Trust and held at Radier Manor in the Isle of Jersey. (Edwards)

For more information on the portrait: “Some Grey Matter: THE JERSEY PORTRAIT

COAT OF ARMS: Anne Boleyn vs. the other English Queens

The English Queens of Henry VIII: Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr.
The English Queens of Henry VIII: Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr.


4 English Queens; the royal coats of arms of Queen Anne, Queen Jane, Queen Katherine Howard, and Queen Katherine Parr.
4 English Queens; the royal coats of arms of Queen Anne, Queen Jane, Queen Katherine Howard, and Queen Katherine Parr.

The coat of arms of Queen Anne Boleyn do not include that of her Boleyn ancestors. Anne was a great-granddaughter of a Geoffrey Boleyn, who started his dazzling career as a hatter. He became one of the wealthiest merchants in London, later Lord Mayor. People tend to forget that even if Anne was related to the Dukes of Norfolk and Earls of Ormond, it was only through her mother and paternal grandmother — this did not make her “royal” or “noble” at court. The most important factor of anyone’s genealogy was paternal line. And in such, Anne came from the family of merchants. She avoided her paternal coat of arms and used her mother’s and grandmother’s arms against the hereditary rules. Anne was the only one of Henry’s English wives who avoided her paternal coat of arms. Katherine Parr, Katherine Howard, and Jane Seymour all displayed their paternal coats of arms because that was the rule which Anne contradicted. (from Ecclesiastical biography, ed. Christopher Wordsworth, p. 590.)

“In the arms which she bore as marchioness of Pembroke, her paternal coat of Bullen (being that alluded to in the prophecy, argent a chevron gules between three bulls’ heads couped sable), is wholly omitted. Her arms as marchioness consisted of four quarters, viz., Butler of Ormond; Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk; Rochford; and Warren and Surrey. As queen she bore the same, with three additional quarters, granted to her as augmentations by Henry, viz. Lancaster, Angouleme, and Guienne; still omitting the coat of Bullen. To Katherine Howard, Jane Seymour, and Katherine Parr, Henry also granted augmentations, but in their several achievements the coats of Howard, Seymour, and Parr formed the second quarter. Anne Bullen’s is the exception.” (Zupanec)

Simplified: Quarterly of six, 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter, were Augmentations,

  1. 1st; Gules, three lions passant guardant Or, a label Azure, with three fleur-de-lis on each point Or (Duchy of Lancaster),
  2. 2nd; Azure, semé-de-lys Or, a label of three points Gules (Anjou-Naples),
  3. 3rd; Gules, a lion passant guardant Or (Aquitaine/Guyenne).
  4. 4th; Quarterly, I and IV, Or, a chief indented Azure (Butler), II and III, Argent, a lion rampant Sable crowned Gules (Rochford).
  5. 5th; Gules, three lions passant guardant Or, a label of three point Argent (Thomas of Brotherton).
  6. 6th; Chequy Or and Azure (Warenne).
2nd to 4th Duke of Norfolk by European Heraldry.
2nd to 4th Duke of Norfolk by European Heraldry. Look familiar?

Apparently it didn’t matter how remote the ancestors, which are represented on Anne’s coats of arms, were. The Duchy of Lancaster as one of her quarters eluded to perhaps her descent from Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, son of Prince Edmund, 1st Earl of Lancaster, son of Henry III of England [the 3rd Earl was a 6x great-grandfather via the Howard’s and her great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Beauchamp, Countess of Ormonde]. The Anjou-Naples doesn’t even apply to her ancestry [the House of Anjou-Naples started with Charles I of Naples]; at the very least, Anne only descended from Margaret of France [7x great-grandmother], daughter of Philip III of the House of Capet! As for Aquitaine, the most recent ancestor would have been Eleanor of Aquitaine [10x great-grandmother]. The Butler/Rochford arms are that of her father’s maternal grandfather, the 7th Earl of Ormonde [which went against the law of heraldry]. Something interesting to point out here is her 5th and 6th quarterings which can be found as the 3rd and 4th quarterings of the 2-4th Dukes of Norfolk (her maternal grandfather, the 2nd Duke of Norfolk’s arms). As for Warren and Surrey, the closest ancestress being her 6x great-grandmother, Lady Alice Warenn, Countess of Arundel. So we see that Anne most likely took those two quarterings from the Howard family. All of these coat of arms were part of Katherine Parr’s ancestry, but she was not granted these elaborate arms. In fact, Katherine actually descended from Charles I, King of Naples of the House of Anjou-Naples — as did Jane Seymour.

Arms of Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard.
Arms of Sir Thomas Boleyn and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Howard.

Anne’s supporter creature, a bird like creature, is that which apparently descended from the Earls of Ormonde which apparently ended up on the Boleyn arms — the Boleyn arms had been using the bull BEFORE and after Anne.

Coat of arms of Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and his wife Elizabeth Tilney.
Coat of arms of Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and his wife Elizabeth Tilney.

The creature looks very much like the creature on the arms of Elizabeth Tilney, Countess of Surrey, NOT the Boleyn’s!

The other English wives were not ashamed of their paternal roots.

Jane Seymour’s descent from Edward III was in fact by her mother; a trickle down from Lionel of Antwerp, yet you do not see any reference to this lineage. Her quarters included some valid claims while others were not. Jane received:

  • Quarterly of six, 1st; an Augmentation, Or, on a pile Gules, between six fleur-de-lis Azure, three lions passant guardant Or. [augmentation granted by King Henry]
  • 2nd; Gules, two wings conjoined in lure Or (Seymour).
  • 3rd; Vair Azure and Argent (Beauchamp). Jane was not descended from the Beauchamp family for at least five generations and the quarter differs from the Beauchamp family; they were most likely put in due to her brother’s elevation, a subsidiary title of Viscount Beauchamp of Hache was created for him on 5 June 1536.
  • 4th; Argent, three demi-lions rampant, Gules (Stiny).
  • 5th; Per bend, Argent and Gules, three roses, bendwise countercharged (MacWilliams). Most likely pertaining to her Williams ancestors, her paternal great-great-grandmother, Isabella Williams, wife of John Seymour.
  • 6th; Argent, on a bend Gules, three leopard’s head Or. Another augmentation that does not relate to her family.

Katherine Howard by right had the option to use her father’s arms. As a son of the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, Lord Edmund Howard, bore the arms of the Dukes. However, several other quarters were granted much like Anne Boleyn.

  • Quarterly of four, 1st and 4th were Augmentations, 1st; Azure, three Fleurs-de-lys, in pale Or, between two flasches Ermine, each charged with a Rose Gules. [augmentation granted by King Henry]
  • 2nd; Gules, three lions passant guardant Or, a label of three point Argent (Thomas of Brotherton). Again, like Anne Boleyn, this was a very distant ancestor, her 6x great-grandfather, who was the son of Edward I and an ancestor of the Dukes of Norfolk.
  • 3rd; Gules, a bend between six cross-crosslets fitchy Argent, for augmentation to be charged on the bend, the Royal Shield of Scotland having a demi-lion only, which is pierced through the mouth with an arrow (Howard).
  • 4th; Azure, two Lions of England, the verge of the escutcheon charged with four half fleurs-de-lys Or. Like Jane Seymour, another augmentation not relating to her family.

Katherine Parr out of all four actually received the correct arms which represented her family and the baronies her father was heir to but never received due to his early death in 1517. The arms allude to those of her family and the titles of her father Sir Thomas Parr.

  • Quarterly of six, 1st; an Augmentation, Argent, on a Pile Gules, between six Roses Gules, three other Roses Argent. [augmentation granted by King Henry]
  • 2nd; Argent, two bars Azure, within a bordure engrailed Sable (Parr).
  • 3rd; Or, three water-bougets Sable (Ross of Kendal).
  • 4th; Vairy, a fesse Gules (Marmion).
  • 5th; Azure, three chevrons interlaced in base, a chief Or (FitzHugh).
  • 6th; Vert, three harts at gaze Or (Green).

3rd quarter Ros of Kendal: The Parr’s received their title, lands, and inheritance of Kendal due to the marriage of her 3x great-grandfather, Sir William of Kendal Parr and Elizabeth de Ros, heiress of Sir John of Kendal and Hon. Katherine Latimer.
4th quarterMarmion: The 3rd Baron FitzHugh married Eleanor Grey, granddaughter and heiress of Avice Marmion, the daughter of the 2nd Baron Marmion; the barony of Marmion thus went into the FitzHugh family.
5th quarterFitzHugh of Ravensworth: the FitzHugh quarter was due to the fact that Katherine’s father, through his mother the Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, was in fact in line for the Barony of FitzHugh [baronies could be inherited and passed by females] because it died out and went into abeyance after the death of Parr’s cousin, George, the 7th Baron. The barony is still in abeyance today between the descendants of Thomas Parr’s aunt, Alice Fiennes, and that of his daughter, Anne, Countess of Pembroke.
6th quarter Green of Greens Norton: Katherine’s mother, Maud, was co-heiress with her sister Anne to the Green inheritance being the last children of that line.

Two stall plates of Sir William Parr, Marquess of Northampton.
Two stall plates of Sir William Parr, Marquess of Northampton, 1552 and 1559.

LEFT: Garter stall plate of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, 1552. The plate was in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, among other Garter plates, but upon the ascension of Queen Mary, Parr was stripped of his titles. His stall plate was taken down and broken apart. Parr had been part of the conspiracy which put Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary Tudor.

Dv, tres noble, havlt ettre

savissant Prince Gvillmim arovys de Northampton, conte Dessex, Baron de Kendal, Seigr de Marmyon, saint Qvyntyn et dv Parre, Chlr de Lordre de la iarritie re grant chamberleyn dangleterre et capitanie des gentil homines pencion aires de la maison dv roy dre sovereyn seigr et connestable dv chastean de wyndesor; anno dni 1552.

RIGHT: Restored Knight of the Garter stall plate of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton and Earl of Essex, 1559. Upon the ascension of Queen Elizabeth I, William Parr was restored to his titles and lands. Elizabeth also honored William’s separation from his adulterous first wife, Lady Anne Bourchier, which Queen Mary had proclaimed was null and void. William was allowed to continue his “common law marriage” with Elisabeth and she was treated as Marchioness of Northampton within the court and elsewhere. ROYAL COLLECTION.

DV tresnoble havlt et trespvissant prince cvillm, marqvys de northampton conte dessex baron de kendall seignevr de marmion saint qvintyn et dv parre chlr dv tresnoble order de la iarritiere fvst estalle 3 10yr de ivne 1559.


  1. Christopher Wordsworth. “Ecclesiastical biography or, Lives of eminent men, connected with the history of religion in England: from the commencement of the Reformation to the Revolution,” 3d edition, London: J.G. & F. Rivington, 1839.
  2. Sylwia S. Zupanec. “The daring truth about Anne Boleyn: cutting through the myth,” 8 November 2012.
  3. David Starkey. “Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII,” Chapter: Catherine Parr, HarperCollins, May 4, 2004.
  4. Thomas Willement. “Regal Heraldry: The Armorial Insignia of the Kings and Queen of England,” London: W. Wilson. 1821.

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.]

Ancestral Lineage: Boleyn vs. other English Queens?

Katherine Parr and Anne Boleyn, both were of equal birth -- Katherine's lineage, especially that of her father however, was better and more established at court than the Boleyn's. [David Starkey]
Katherine Parr and Anne Boleyn, both were of equal birth — Katherine’s lineage, especially that of her father however, was better and more established at court than the Boleyn’s. [David Starkey]
We have had this discussion before; who has the better lineage, who’s family was more “noble”, who was born “higher”, etc. Online, in the Wikipedia article for Anne Boleyn, it states that:

“According to Eric Ives, she was certainly of more noble birth than Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s three other English wives.”[19]

When you look at the actual source listed on Wikipedia, [19], it states Eric Ives’s opinion that “She [Anne] was better born than Henry VIII’s three other English wives.”

Ives’s statement is preceded by who Anne Boleyn’s great-grandparents were, “[apart from Geoffrey Boleyn], a duke, an earl, and the granddaughter of an earl, the daughter of one baron, the daughter of another, and and an esquire [on the path to becoming a knight] and wife.” However, when Boleyn was born, her grandfather was not a Duke. He was only Earl of Surrey.  In fact, up until a few days ago, the wife of the eventual 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Princess Anne of York (daughter of Edward IV) was labeled incorrectly on Wikipedia as “Countess of Surrey.” See below, “Dukedom of Norfolk“.

I think what is in the Wikipedia article is rather misleading and a false statement. If they are going to quote Ives, they should use the actual quote. However, both historians Agnes Strickland and Dr. David Starkey have a different view on Katherine Parr’s lineage and “lower birth than Anne Boleyn.” Agnes Strickland quotes that Katherine Parr’s paternal ancestry was more distinguished than that of Thomas Boleyn and John Seymour. According to David Starkey, Katherine Parr’s lineage,

“unlike that of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was better and more established at Court.”[4]

The Wiltshire Archeological and Natural History Magazine (Vol. 18, 1879), also states,

“She was of more distinguished ancestry than either Anne Boleyn or Jane Seymour.” (pg 85)

The “noble” birth I suppose refers to the fact that her mother was a “Lady” as a daughter of a Duke? That was her maternal lineage and Boleyn’s mother, at the time of her birth, was not the daughter of a Duke, but the daughter of an Earl. Anne Boleyn’s cousin Queen Katherine Howard, was the daughter of Lord Edmund Howard (as styled after 1514), a male line of the Dukes of Norfolk. In 1480, (Elizabeth Howard’s birth date that I have) the Howard family was not Duke of Norfolk; not even Earl of Surrey. After John Howard’s (great-grandfather of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard) elevation to Duke on 28 June 1483, his son, Thomas (later 2nd Duke and father to Elizabeth Howard), was created Earl of Surrey on the same date. However, the titles were forfeited and attained after the Battle of Bosworth field and the death of King Richard III (1485). The “2nd Duke” (grandfather to Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard) was restored as Earl of Surrey in 1489 (under Henry VII); and restored/created the (2nd) Duke of Norfolk in 1514 (under Henry VIII), and resigned the Earldom of Surrey to his son (also named Thomas, future 3rd Duke) on the same day; the future “3rd Duke” wouldn’t become Duke until the death of his father in 1524. Boleyn and Howard were married c.1500 while Elizabeth’s father was still Earl of Surrey. The Howard family had no idea if Surrey would be granted the Dukedom again (1489-1514 is a big gap and there were two different monarchs reigning, Henry VII and then Henry VIII in 1509). Therefore, when Anne was born — she was not the granddaughter of a Duke.

2nd to 4th Duke of Norfolk by European Heraldry.
2nd to 4th Duke of Norfolk by European Heraldry.

Duke of Norfolk

History lesson on the Howard’s — the Howard’s were not always the Dukes of Norfolk and in fact, the title was forfeited several times; in 1485, 1546, and 1572.[1] The title was inherited by Anne and Katherine’s ancestor Sir John Howard, the son of Thomas Mowbray’s [created Duke of Norfolk in 1397] elder daughter Lady Margaret Mowbray, Lady Howard (wife of Sir Robert Howard). Sir John Howard was created 1st Duke of Norfolk on 28 June 1483, in the title’s third creation. However, two years later, the title, along with the courtesy title of Earl of Surrey, was forfeit and attained upon his death at the Battle of Bosworth, 22 August 1485.[2]

When the title Duke of Norfolk was created for Thomas Mowbray on 1397, it was most likely bestowed upon him due to his mother, Elizabeth Segrave (1338-1399), eldest surviving daughter of Princess Margaret of England, suo jure 2nd Countess of Norfolk.

Interesting fact, Katherine Parr’s great-great-grandfather, Sir Thomas Tunstall, would re-marry to Hon. Joan Mowbray (Parr’s 2nd cousin, 5x removed), sister of the 1st Mowbray Duke of Norfolk. Although they had no issue the Tunstalls’ and the children of Joan by her first husband Sir Thomas Grey grew up together.

The title would descend from Mowbray’s eldest son, John Mowbray, the 2nd Duke of Norfolk [not an ancestor to the Howard Dukes of Norfolk]. The title would hold in the Mowbray family until the death of Mowbray’s great-great-granddaughter, Lady Anne Mowbray, 8th Countess of Norfolk (d.1481); who died without issue. Upon her death, her heirs normally would have been her cousins William, Viscount Berkeley (descendant of the 2nd Duke’s sister, Lady Isabel Mowbray) and John, Lord Howard (descendant of the 2nd Duke’s other sister, Lady Margaret Mowbray), but by an act of Parliament in January 1483 the rights were given to her husband Richard of Shrewsbury [Prince in The Tower], with reversion to his descendants, and, failing that, to the descendants of his father Edward IV.[8] This action may be a motivation for Lord Howard’s support of the accession of Richard III. He was created Duke of Norfolk and given his half of the Mowbray estates after Richard’s coronation on 28 June 1483.

After John Howard’s elevation to Duke, his son, Thomas, was created Earl of Surrey on 28 June 1483.[3] The titles were forfeited and attained after the Battle of Bosworth field. The “2nd Duke” (grandfather to Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Katherine Howard) was restored as Earl of Surrey in 1489; and restored as the 2nd Duke of Norfolk in 1514, and resigned the Earldom to his son (also named Thomas) on the same day. Howard (later 3rd Duke of Norfolk) had been previously married to Anne of York, daughter of King Edward IV. As a sign of closeness between King Richard III and the Howard family, Anne was betrothed to Thomas Howard in 1484.[10] At the time of their marriage in 1494/95, Howard had no titles and wasn’t even knighted (knt. 1497) which was very unusual for a marriage to a Princess. As Princess of England, Anne had been previously contracted to marry Philip “the handsome”, future Duke of Burgundy (later Philip I of Castile as husband to Juana I of Castile, sister of Katherine of Aragon). On the death of her father in 1483, the marriage however, never took place. Therefore, Anne who died in 1511, was never Countess, but technically Anne of York, Lady Howard (Lady Anne Howard).[11]

As stated above, the former Earl of Surrey (later 2nd Duke) wasn’t created Duke of Norfolk until 1 Febraury 1513/14, 4/5 years after the death of Henry VII.[3] The title would again be forfeited after the arrest of the 3rd Howard Duke of Norfolk and his son Henry, Earl of Surrey during Queen Katherine Parr’s reign, 1546.[3] At this point in time, the Parr’s and Seymour’s thrived while the Howard’s fell from favor. The title was restored to Henry Surrey’s son who became the 4th Duke in 1554 under the Catholic Queen Mary [his father predeceased him] who’s title was also forfeited upon his execution on 2 June 1572. The most interesting thing here being that Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey had been brought up in the house of Henry Fitzroy, natural son of Henry VIII with Katherine’s brother, William Parr. The two were obviously more than acquainted and most likely good friend’s. There must have been some mixed feelings with the execution of Surrey.

“although she be a simple maid, having but a knight to her father, yet she is descended of right noble blood and parentage. As for her mother, she is nigh of the Norfolk’s blood, and as for her father, he is descended of the Earl of Ormonde, being one of the Earl’s heirs general.” (A letter from Lord Percy declaring Anne’s family was on the “same” level as his; from Ecclesiastical biography, ed. Christopher Wordsworth, p. 590. [5])

Butler of Ormonde
Butler, Earl of Ormonde. The 1st and 4th quarters were used “illegally” in the arms of Anne Boleyn as Marquess of Pembroke and Queen of England. European Heraldry

One can only conclude that Lord Percy was so in love with Anne that he would have done anything to help her succeed. Wordsworth online at Open Library also tells the story put forth about Anne and how she was styled Anne Rochford on her papers for Marquess of Pembroke. It seems that Anne Boleyn was doing everything against the rules of the society she lived in. Anne couldn’t use ‘Rochford’ as a surname – her mother should have used this title, as Jane Parker did when George Boleyn became ‘Viscount of Rochford’.

Anne’s paternal GRANDMOTHER, Lady Margaret Butler, was not an heiress to the Earldom of Ormonde being a female; therefore Thomas Boleyn [NOT Butler] was not “the Earl’s heirs general.” Earldom’s DID NOT pass through women; a woman could be created a Countess, but that title would have been created solely for that woman and her male heirs, like the “Marquess of Pembroke.” Perhaps if Lady Margaret had been the only child of the 7th Earl, the title would have passed to her and through her, but she was not the only child and according to law her male Butler relatives [cousins] would have inherited that title BEFORE her as Piers Butler did. After the death of the 7th Earl in 1515, Piers assumed the title as it was only heirs MALE that could inherit the title, not women (unless under special circumstances by orders of Parliament)!

Tomb of Sir Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormonde and Lady Margaret Fitzgerald. Saint Canices Cemetery, Kilkenny County, Kilkenny, Ireland.
Tomb of Sir Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormonde and Lady Margaret Fitzgerald, parents to the 9th Earl. Saint Canices Cemetery, Kilkenny County, Kilkenny, Ireland.

Concerning Thomas Boleyn’s claim to the Earldom of Ormonde:

In 1529, Piers Butler was forced to give up the title of 8th Earl of Ormond, which he assumed in 1515 and the title was granted to Sir Thomas Boleyn. In place of the Earldom of Ormonde, Piers received the title of Earl of Ossory instead; the subsidiary title held by the Earls of Ormond.
Why would the King force Piers to give his title up? At that time, Henry VIII was already romantically involved with Anne Boleyn and the answer is clear – Thomas received Earldom of Ormond due to Anne’s relationship with Henry VIII. That Boleyn owned the title of Earl of Ormond to his daughter’s influence, is proved by him losing the title after Anne’s execution – in May 1536 the Irish Parliament passed the act that reverted Butler lands and the title of Earl of Ormond to the Crown. Henry VIII finally granted the Earldom of Ormond to Piers Butler in October 1537 (Starkey states early February 1538 [9]), before Boleyn’s death. The Earldom of Ormond was bestowed upon Thomas Boleyn without lawful claim in 1529 according to common law.

What about the Earldom of Wiltshire that Thomas received the same year?

The title of 1st Earl of Wiltshire was held by Henry Stafford, a brother of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, executed in 1521, and an uncle of Elizabeth Stafford who married Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in 1513. Henry Stafford died without a male issue in 1523 and the title of Earl of Wiltshire expired with his death. The title was vacant until 1529 when Thomas Boleyn received both titles – the Earl of Ormond and Wiltshire. Why would Henry VIII bestow the title of Earl of Wiltshire upon Thomas Boleyn?
In the past, the title of Earl of Wiltshire was held by James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond. Thomas Boleyn’s claim to the Earldom of Wiltshire was the result of his claim to the Earldom of Ormond due to his affinity with the Butler family from his mother’s side. This raises a question – if the title of the Earl of Wiltshire was vacant from 1523, why did Thomas Boleyn receive it as late as in 1529? It is reasonable to assume that Anne Boleyn influenced the King to elevate her father to such honour.
(p.62,63 [6])

Sir James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormonde, son and heir of Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormonde [the rightful heir to the Earldom]

Sir James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormonde, son and heir of Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormonde [the rightful heir to the Earldom]. The identification comes after a study by David Starkey.[9]

There were very few women who inherited Earldoms in their own right; such as the only daughter and child of the 4th Earl of Salisbury, Lady Alice Montacute, suo jure 5th Countess of Salisbury (great-great-grandmother to Queen Katherine Parr). So Anne descended from the 7 Earls of Ormonde, but they go back to Edward I at the highest. Even Katherine Parr descends from the 1st Earl of Ormonde via his daughter Lady Petronilla Butler, Lady Talbot [and that’s from Maud Green’s ancestry]. The title Earl of Ormonde was actually forfeited in 1513 [the 7th Earl] and Earl of Wiltshire in 1460.[1] The wife of the 7th Earl, Anne Hankford, was the granddaughter of Sir John, 3rd Earl of Salisbury who descended from Edward I, but Katherine Parr descended from the 5th Countess of Salisbury, Lady Alice Montacute and her husband Sir Richard Neville, who by right of his wife became the 5th Earl of Salisbury.

Anne Bullen, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Wiltshire [Stained Glass from Hampton Court]
Anne Bullen, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Wiltshire [Stained Glass from Hampton Court]
I’m also finding that she WAS known as Bullen, but at some point, the name was changed to Boleyn. The Parr family did that I think — but just dropped the “E”; their surname has been written as such; Parre. Bullen and Boleyn are completely different.

Queen Jane Seymour, wife no. 3.
Queen Jane Seymour, wife no. 3.

Jane Seymour descended from Edward III, but her paternal lineage is lacking in “royal” or “nobles”. Like the Boleyns, the Seymour family couldn’t trace their paternal lineage much further than a few generations; John Seymour was the first Seymour to pop up (b. 1400). The paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Darrell’s lineage (through her mother), had some interesting connections back to several illegitimate children; one from King John and a few from Henry I of England. It’s the maternal lineage that gave Jane her “royal” connection to Edward III by the wife of Sir Philip Wentworth (maternal great-grandmother of Queen Jane). Hon. Mary Clifford gave Queen Jane descent from the 1st Baron Neville of Raby Castle, William Montacute 1st Earl of Salisbury, Lady Elizabeth suo jure 4th Countess of Ulster (wife of Lionel of Antwerp and mother to Philippa of Clarence). The Countess of Ulster descended from Joan of Acre (daughter of Edward I) and Lady Maud of Lancaster, daughter of Henry 3rd Earl of Lancaster (nephew of Edward I of England). Lancaster’s other daughter, Lady Mary of Lancaster was an ancestor to Clifford. Clifford also descended from several illegitimate children by John I and Henry I of England.

Queen Katherine Howard, wife no. 5.
Queen Katherine Howard, wife no. 5.

As for Katherine Howard, she had the same ancestry as Anne Boleyn through her father Lord Edmund Howard. Her paternal lineage was “more noble” and of “better birth”. Looking at Howard’s mother (Jocasa Culpepper) however, she was of common stock. But Lady Howard did happen to descend from King Edward I by her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth of Groby Ferrers. By her, Lady Howard was a descendant of Princess Joan of Acre (second surviving daughter of Edward I by his first wife) and her first husband Sir Robert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester. Elizabeth of Groby Ferrer’s mother, Philippa Clifford was a descendant of Hon. Maud Fiennes, wife to Lord Mortimer of Wigmore — she had the amazing pedigree that went back to Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine’s daughter, Queen Eleanor of Castile. Philippa Clifford also descended from several illegitimate children of the early “Plantagenet” kings; twice by John I and several of Henry I of England. She even descended from David I of Scotland a few times. By this lineage Lady Howard also descended from Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March and Joan Geneville.

Queen Katherine Parr, wife no. 6.
Queen Katherine Parr, wife no. 6.

So who were Katherine Parr’s great-grandparents? Some of the most important figures in history! A baron or Lord who was Sheriff of Northamptonshire among other high offices, an heiress of a prominent knight, a Baron, a daughter of an Earl (uncle to the Kings of England) and suo jure Countess (both of royal blood), a Lord/Baron, a daughter of a knight, a prominent knight (among other positions), and a daughter of an aunt to the royal family.

Sir Thomas Parr, Lord Parr of Kendal’s mother was the niece of Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, also known as “Warwick, the Kingmaker,” one of ”the” most important figures in the War of the Roses. Parr was also a great-grandniece, however many times removed of King Richard II as they shared the same mother/grandmother, Princess Joan of Kent, suo jure Countess of Kent, Baroness Wake of Liddell, and Princess of Wales. Katherine was just about related to every noble and royal at court who came before or during her time; Edward IV and Richard III were first cousins, thrice removed of Katherine Parr. Their wives, Anne Neville and Elizabeth Woodville, were also a first cousins, twice removed. In fact, husband two, Lord Latimer, and three, King Henry, were within the “forbidden” fourth degree of consanguinity as 3rd cousins.

Katherine Parr’s family has a pretty “noble” back round and her family was actually high up in the court scene [at this time, my recorded research of Parr’s at court traces back to Sir William Parr (c.1356-1405), a close confidant of Henry IV of England]. We just don’t see this because Parr is always seen as this “nobody who came from nowhere” when in actuality she was the daughter of a substantial knight [just like Thomas Boleyn would become].[4] Starkey even quotes, “like the family of King Henry’s second wife, the Boleyns, the Parr family had gone up in the world as a result of royal favor and successful marriages.”[4]

The “lowly” marriage of Mary Boleyn to Sir William Stafford — unlike “The Tudors” insistence that he was a “nothing” — Stafford was actually the grandson of Sir John Fogge and Alice Haute (cousin to Queen Elizabeth Woodville). This connection made Stafford a cousin to Parr’s mother, Maud Green (her aunt was Stafford’s mother, Margaret).

The notion that Anne Boleyn and Katherine Parr were not on equal ground at birth is ridiculous. Katherine was of even “higher birth” than Anne. In fact, Sir Thomas Boleyn and Sir Thomas Parr [Lord Parr of Kendal according to Bernard Burke and other sources] shared the same circle around Henry VIII and were knighted at the same time [1509]. If not for his early death in 1517, he would have been given the title settled upon his brother or that of which he was heir or co-heir to, i.e. Lord FitzHugh of Ravensworth, which to this day, FitzHugh and the others, are still in abeyance between his daughter’s descendants [the Earls of Pembroke] and that of his aunt, Alice, Lady Fiennes. We all know that those in favor, especially relatives of the King’s wives were favored, and if not for Henry’s want and need to marry Anne, her father and brother would not have been elevated so high; and she would not have been created Marquess/Marchioness of Pembroke. We clearly see this with the Parr family as well. Parr’s brother (created Baron Parr of Kendal and Earl of Essex), uncle (1st Baron Parr of Horton), brother-in-law (Lord Herbert), and other family members were also elevated when Henry married Katherine.

Fact: Katherine Parr descends from Edward I of England more than any other wife, including Anne Boleyn. It would be nice if the quote was changed and perhaps the sentences from Agnes Strickland and David Starkey could be put in. It is not entirely fair to Katherine Parr and it would be nice if for once we took a look at her family’s history which if you look at it — it’s full of nobility and royalty.

More info: Ancestral Lineage of Queen Katherine Parr


This is not a blatant attempt to attack or trash any queen. This has been an on going issue on Wikipedia to which people refuse to look at — therefore a blog is being written. This genealogy blog was done due to editors on Wikipedia who keep inserting that “Anne was of more noble blood than the other English wives.” The blog is simply to show that both women were born on equal grounds, BOTH daughters of courtiers who were knighted at the SAME time in 1509. Katherine’s father, however, died in 1517 — preventing any further advancement which Thomas Boleyn enjoyed later on. The lineage of the Parrs’, however, simply shows that Katherine’s ancestral lineage was better and more established at court. I chose to compare these two because it is obvious with Jane Seymour that her pedigree, even though it includes Edward III, is pretty far removed from the nobility and royalty at court when she became queen. As for Katherine Howard, one could argue that she was just as noble or more than Anne and Katherine as her father was the son of the Duke of Norfolk and thus styled “Lord”. The Howard’s were somewhat “removed” by the time Katherine Howard became queen though, but had been previously close to the crown. Howard’s female side, the Culpepers’, was however much like Jane Seymour’s lineage. The boost of lineage for the Boleyns’ is probably due to the fact that Anne caused much controversy on the way to becoming queen. Parr is often overshadowed due to not having any surviving children among other factors. Anne of course, was the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, who is known today as “Gloriana”.


  1. John Debrett. “Debrett’s Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland,” [Another], Volume 2. 1825.
  2. Paul Murray Kendall. “Richard The Third,” pp. 193-6, 365.
  3. Douglas Richardson. “Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families,” 2nd edition, 2011. pg 273-78.
  4. David Starkey. “Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII,” Chapter: Catherine Parr, HarperCollins, May 4, 2004.
  5. Christopher Wordsworth. “Ecclesiastical biography or, Lives of eminent men, connected with the history of religion in England: from the commencement of the Reformation to the Revolution,” 3d edition, London: J.G. & F. Rivington, 1839.
  6. Sylwia S. Zupanec. “The daring truth about Anne Boleyn: cutting through the myth,” 8 November 2012.
  7. Crofts Peerage, Ormonde, Earl of (I, 1328-dormant 1997)
  8. Charles Ross. “Edward IV,” (second ed.) New Haven: Yale University Press. 1997.
  9. David Starkey. “Holbein’s Irish Sitter?,” The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 123, No. 938 (May, 1981), pp. 300-301+303.
  10. Sidney Lee. Dictionary of national biography, Volume XXVIII: From HOWARD to INGLETHORP, Macmillan, Smith, Elder & Co. in New York, London, 1891. pg 64-67.
  11. Sidney Lee. Dictionary of national biography, Volume XXVIII: From HOWARD to INGLETHORP, Macmillan, Smith, Elder & Co. in New York, London, 1891. pg 1.

Family of Queen Katherine: Thomas Dacre, 2nd Lord of Gilsland

Coat of arms of the Barons of Dacre showing their heraldic charges, the Bull. European Heraldry

SIR THOMAS DACRE, 2nd Lord (Baron) Dacre of Gillesland (25 November 1467 – 24 October 1525) was the eldest son and heir of Sir Humphrey Dacre, 1st Lord Dacre and his wife, Mabel Parr (great-aunt of Queen Katherine Parr).[1]

Dacre was summoned to parliament from 17th October 1509 to 12th November 1515. This nobleman in the 9th Henry VII, served under Thomas, Earl of Surrey (later the 2nd Duke of Norfolk), at the siege of Norham Castle, and his lordship obtained great celebrity in the command of a body of horse reserve at the famous fight of Floddin in the 4th Henry VIII under the same gallant leader. He was subsequently, at different times, engaged in Scotland and he filled the important office of warden of the West Marches from the 1st year of King Henry VIII.

Naworth Castle, home to the Dacre family from 1335-1601.

Naworth Castle, also known as, or recorded in historical documents as “Naward”, is a castle in Cumbria (formally Westmorland), England near the town of Brampton. It is on the opposite side of the River Irthing to, and just within sight of, Lanercost Priory. It was the seat of the Barons Dacre. The castle is thought to have late 13th-century origins, in the form of a square keep and bailey. It was first mentioned in 1323, and in 1335 a licence to crenellate was granted to Ralph Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre (ca. 1290 – April 1339). Residential quarters were added in the early 16th century by Thomas, 2nd Lord Dacre. He built the whole of the south and east wings including the 100ft Great Hall, and what is now known as Lord William’s Tower. Unfortunately for the Dacre family, in 1560 the then Lord Dacre died, leaving a widow, three daughters and a young son called George. Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, married the widowed Lady Dacre, and arranged to marry his three sons to her three daughters. Young George was killed in a fall from a vaulting horse and the vast Dacre estates which covered great tracts of the north of England- including 70,000 acres of the Barony of Gilsland, lands in Cumberland including Greystoke and Dacre, 20,000 acres around Morpeth and 30,000 acres in Yorkshire – now part of Castle Howard estate, all came under the control of the Howard family.The castle is currently occupied by Philip Howard, brother and heir presumptive of the 13th Earl of Carlisle.[2]

Two of the four two metre-high Dacre Heraldic Beasts (a bull and a gryphon), which used to stand in the hall of Naworth Castle in Cumbria, now the seat of the Howard family, the Earls of Carlisle, from whom they were recently purchased. They date from 1519-21.

Marriage and issue

He married c. 1488 to Elizabeth, suo jure 6th Baroness Greystock, daughter and heiress of Sir Robert de Greystoke by Lady Elizabeth Grey, daughter of Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent [descendant of Lady Elizabeth of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster] and Lady Katherine Percy [descendant of Edward III’s granddaughter, Lady Joan Beaufort and also his son, Lionel of Antwerp]. Elizabeth was the granddaughter and sole heiress of Ralph de Greystock, 5th Baron Greystock KG [descendant of Edward III by his granddaughter, Lady Joan Beaufort’s, first marriage to Lord Ferrers].[1]

They had eight children:

  1. William Dacre, 3rd Baron Dacre of Gilsland, who married Lady Elizabeth Talbot, 5th daughter of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and Lady Anne  Hastings.[1]
  2. Hon. Mary Dacre who married Francis, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, brother of the above Lady Elizabeth Talbot. Had issue.[1]
  3. Hon. Anne Dacre, wife of Christopher Conyers, 2nd Baron Conyers. Had issue.[1]
  4. Hon. Mabel Dacre who married Henry Scrope, 7th Baron Scrope of Bolton. Had issue which included their son, John, 8th Baron. The 7th Lord Scrope would enter into marriage negotiations with Lady Maud Parr for the hand of his eldest son and heir, Henry. If everything had gone according to plan, Katherine would have married her 2nd cousin [twice removed, closest relation out of several shared ancestors]. Luckily for Katherine the marriage was rejected as Henry died a few years later. His brother John succeeded their father in the barony.[1]
  5. Hon. Jane Dacre, wife of Lord Tailboys.[1]
  6. Hon. Philippa Dacre, most likely named after her paternal grandmother, Lady Philippa Neville.[1]
  7. Hon. Humphrey Dacre.[1]
  8. Hon. Jane Dacre, of the second name.[1]

His lordship died on 24 October 1525 due to a fall from his horse.[1] He had his wife, who had died in August of 1516, were buried in Lanercost Priory, Cumberland, England.[1] He  was succeeded by his elder son William.


  1. Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 16-18.
  2. Naworth Castle History

Family of Queen Katherine Parr: Sir John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer

Coat of Arms of the Neville Barons Latimer of Snape.

Sir John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer of Snape Castle (17 November 1493–2 March 1543) was an English nobleman of the House of Neville. Latimer was Katherine Parr’s second husband and Latimer’s third and final wife. His family was one of the oldest and most powerful families of the North. They had a long standing tradition of military service and a reputation for seeking power at the cost of the loyalty to the crown as shown by Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick [Warwick, the Kingmaker], John’s 1st cousin, twice removed.[2]

Latimer’s branch of the Neville family was in line for the Earldom of Warwick; his great-grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp was a daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick by his first wife. The 13th Earl’s heir was his only son, Henry, by his second marriage Lady Isabel le Despenser [granddaughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York]; he was created Duke of Warwick. Warwick married to the future “Warwick, the Kingmaker’s” sister, Lady Cecily Neville. The Duke’s only child and heir by Cecily was a daughter, Lady Anne, who became Countess in her own right. After her early death the Earldom and inheritance became an issue.[see note 1] Due to the affiliation, Lord Latimer dealt with quite a bit of sibling rivalry. Legal actions were taken by his younger brothers and Latimer, at the time of his marriage to Katherine in 1534, was having financial difficulties. He lived chiefly at Snape Castle, Yorkshire, but sometimes at Wyke in Worcestershire.

Born about 17 November 1493,[1] he was eldest son of Sir Richard Neville, 2nd Baron Latimer by Anne, daughter of Sir Humphrey Stafford. His grandfather and heir to the Barony, Sir Henry, had been involved in the War of the Roses and in 1469 was killed at the battle of Edgecote fighting for Henry VI [the last Lancastrian king]. The fortunes of this branch of Nevilles were saved by Neville’s sympathetic granduncle, Cardinal Thomas Bourchier [uncle of Neville’s paternal grandmother Joan], who procured the wardship of the 2nd Baron and preserved his inheritance.

He came to court where he was one of the gentlemen-pensioners. Neville doesn’t really enter into history until 1513 when he accompanied Henry VIII to Northern France and was knighted after the taking of Tournai. He had taken part in about 1517 in the investigation of the case of the Holy Maid of Leominster. He was knight of the shire (MP) for Yorkshire in 1529 which was a step in progress even if he owed it to his father. The representation of the county was somewhat of a family affair as his fellow knight was Sir Marmaduke Constable, whom Neville took precedence over most likely due to his noble inheritance. He was not a member of the Commons for long as his father died before the end of 1530 and he had livery of his lands and succeeded to the House of Lords as the 3rd Baron on 17 March 1531.

Tomb of Queen Katherine at Sudeley features the her family arms impaled with that of her four husbands [Latimer & Parr]. Copyright Meg McGath
Tomb of Queen Katherine at Sudeley features the her family arms impaled with that of her four husbands [Latimer & Parr]. © Meg McGath [2012]
In the summer of 1534, Latimer married the widowed Lady Borough, Katherine Parr. At age 40, Lord Latimer was twice Katherine’s age. Latimer was a 2nd cousin to Katherine’s paternal grandmother, Elizabeth [at the time of Latimer’s birth, she had become Lady Vaux after re-marrying]. The match was credited to several family members which included Katherine’s uncle, Sir William, who had taken over as a father figure when her father died in 1517. From the beginning of the marriage, Katherine tried to be a good wife. Her affection for her husband would grow deep enough to cherish a remembrance of him, his New Testament with his name inscribed inside, which she kept until her death. Katherine would also prove to be a good step-mother to her step-children; a trait which she would again show after her marriage to the King. Her “teenage” step-son, John, proved to be difficult. There is some indication that Margaret, his sister, was the couple’s favorite. Never the less, Katherine would continue a relationship with the two after her marriage to King Henry, bringing Margaret to court as her maid-in-waiting and securing a position for John’s wife, Lucy, the new Lady Latimer in her household.[10]

The Pilgrimage of Grace

Latimer was a supporter of the old religion and bitterly opposed the king’s divorce and remarriage and it’s religious ramifications. In 1536, within two weeks of the riot in Louth, a mob appeared before the Latimer’s home threatening violence if Lord Latimer did not join their cause. Katherine watched as her husband was dragged away by the rebels. As prisoner of the rebels, conflicting stories of which side Latimer was truly on began to reach Cromwell and the King in London. The rebellion in Yorkshire put him in a terrible dilemma. If he was found guilty of any kind of treason his estates would be forfeited leaving Katherine and her step-children penniless. The King himself, wrote to the Duke of Norfolk pressing him to make sure Latimer would ‘condemn that villain Aske and submit [himself] to our clemency’.[11] Latimer was more than happy to comply. Both Katherine’s brother, William Parr and uncle, William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton fought with the Duke of Norfolk and the Duke of Suffolk against the rebellion. Katherine’s brother, Sir William Parr, who had been in the service of the Duke of Richmond [natural son of King Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount], blocked the Great North Road at Stamford, with a large force of armed men, they were in the way of anyone coming up from London. The only substantial Lincolnshire landowner that the King could depend on was his friend and brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk.It is to most likely to Katherine’s credit that Lord Latimer survived; both her brother and uncle probably intervened at one point and saved Lord Latimer’s life.[10] Never the less, Latimer represented the insurgents at the conferences with the royal leaders in November 1536, and helped to secure amnesty.[12]

Ruins of Snape Castle.

In January 1537, Katherine and her step-children were held hostage at Snape Castle during the uprising of the North; the “Bigod Rebellion” which was lead by Sir Francis Bigod of Settrington. The rebels ransacked the house and sent word to Lord Latimer, who was returning from London, that if he did not return immediately they would kill his family. When Lord Latimer returned to the castle he somehow talked the rebels into releasing his family and leaving, but the aftermath to follow with Lord Latimer would prove to be taxing on the whole family.[10] It is probable that Katherine made sure that her husband did not join the uprising.[12]

The family would later move south after the executions of the rebels which pleased Cromwell and the King. Although now charges were found, Latimer’s reputation which reflected upon Katherine, was tarnished for the rest of his life. He spent the last seven years of his life blackmailed by Cromwell. Latimer was called away frequently to do the biding of Cromwell and the King and be present during Parliament from 1537-42. With Cromwell’s fall in 1540, the Latimer’s reclaimed some dignity and as Lord Latimer attended Parliament in 1542 he and Katherine spent time in London that winter. The atmosphere of the court was much different from the rural and parochial estates. It was at court that Katherine could find the latest trends, not only in religious matters, but in frivolous matters such as fashion and jewellery which she loved.[10]

By the winter of 1542, Lord Latimer’s health had broken down after a grueling life of what some would call ‘political madness’. Katherine spent the winter of 1542-1543 nursing her husband. John Neville, Lord Latimer, died in 1543. In Lord Latimer’s will, Katherine was named guardian of his daughter, Margaret, and was put in charge of Lord Latimer’s affairs which were to be given over to his daughter at the age of her majority. Latimer left Katherine Stowe Manor, Wyke [or Wike] Manor, and other properties. He also bequeathed money for supporting his daughter and in the case that his daughter did not marry within five years, Katherine, was to take £30 per annum out of the income to support her step-daughter. Katherine was left a rich widow faced with the possibility of having to return north after Lord Latimer’s death.[10]

Wyke Manor in Wick, Worcestershire. [Wikipedia]
Wyke Manor in Wick, Worcestershire. [Wikipedia]
He died on 2 March 1543 in London, and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. In Weever’s Monuments, ed 1631, page 371, he says in speaking of old St Paul’s,

“Here in a monument broken all a pieces lieth entombed the body of John Nevill Lord Latimer whose widow Katherine Parr daughter of Sir Thomas Parre of Kendal and sister to William Lord Parre Marquesse of Northampton was the sixth and last wife to King Henry the Eight. He died in the year 1542 [incorrect date].”[9]


Latimer married three times:

1. By 1520,[3] Dorothy de Vere (d. 7 February 1527), the daughter of Sir George de Vere and Margaret Stafford. Dorothy was the sister and co-heiress of John de Vere, 14th Earl of Oxford. She is buried in Wells, North Yorkshire in St. Michael’s; which is next to Snape Castle. The couple had two children:

  • John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer (1520[4]-1577), married Lady Lucy, daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester and Anne Browne [daughter of Sir Anthony Browne and Lady Lucy, herself a daughter of John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu]  by whom he left four daughters and co-heiresses, of whom Dorothy married Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter.[2] On his death, the Barony of Latimer fell into abeyance between his four daughters and co-heirs, and so remained until 1913, when Francis Burdett Thomas Coutts-Nevill was summoned to Parliament by writ, dated 11 February 1913.[5][6] Latimer was buried near Snape Castle in St. Michael’s Church, Wells, within Nevilles’ Chapel.[7]
Effigy and tomb of the 4th Lord Latimer in Nevilles' Chapel, Wells, North Yorkshire Well Village Website © Well Parish Council 2011
Effigy and tomb of the 4th Lord Latimer in Nevilles’ Chapel, Wells, North Yorkshire Well Village Website © Well Parish Council 2011
  • Hon. Margaret Neville (1525[7]-1546), was betrothed to her cousin Ralph Bigod in 1534, before the Bigod Rebellion. Ralph was the son of the rebel Sir Francis Bigod. The betrothal was broken most likely to the Rebellion. She died at age twenty-one, unwed, and d.s.p. [no children].[2]

2. On 20 June 1528, he obtained a marriage license to Elizabeth Musgrave (d. 1530), daughter of Sir Edward Musgrave of Hartley and Joan Warde, by whom he had no issue.[1][2] Elizabeth was in fact a cousin to Katherine Parr sharing Sir Thomas Tunstall and Isabel Harrington [3rd cousins, twice removed]; the 3rd Lord FitzHugh and Elizabeth Grey [4th cousins]; and both Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and Lady Joan Beaufort — Elizabeth descended from Westmorland’s children, Sir Ralph [4th cousin, once removed] and Hon. Philippa [4th cousin], by his first wife, Lady Margaret Stafford, who married his stepmother’s (Lady Joan Beaufort) daughter, Hon. Mary Ferrers, the daughter from Lady Joan’s first marriage to of Robert, Lord Ferrers [4th cousin, once removed]. These last three connections to Westmorland, Lady Joan Beaufort, and Lady Margaret Stafford also made Elizabeth a cousin of her husband Lord Latimer.
3. In Summer 1534, Katherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal and widow of Sir Edward Borough (d. circa April 1533), son of Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh.[2]


By his father, Latimer descended from King Edward III of England twice. Latimer’s grandparents were Sir Henry Neville, heir to the barony of Latimer and Earldom of Warwick, and the Hon. Joan Bourchier. Henry Neville was the heir and eldest son of Sir George, 1st Baron Latimer of Snape and Lady Elizabeth Beauchamp [through whom the Latimer’s claimed the Earldom of Warwick; Elizabeth was a daughter of the 13th Earl of Warwick by his first wife Hon. Elizabeth Berkeley, both descendants of Edward I]. George was a younger son of Sir Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland and his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort. Lady Joan was the legitimized daughter of Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster [son of Edward III and father of Henry IV of England] by his mistress, later wife, Katherine Roet.

Joan Bourchier was a granddaughter of Sir William, 1st Count of Eu and Lady Anne of Gloucester, daughter of Prince Thomas of Woodstock [youngest son of Edward III] and his wife, Lady Eleanor de Bohun [descendant of Edward I and Henry III]. This connection to the Bourchier family made Latimer a cousin of the Earls of Bath, Lords Dacre of the South, the Lady Margaret Bryan [governess of the King’s children], Lady Anne Bourchier [husband of Katherine Parr’s brother William Parr], and even the Duchess of Somerset Anne Stanhope. Perhaps the connection to the Bourchier’s, specifically Anne, wife of Sir William Parr, brought Katherine and Latimer together. Credit is usually given to Parr’s uncle also named Sir William and her cousin Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall.

Ancestry of John Neville, 3rd Lord Latimer; Queen Katherine and Latimer shared Lady Joan Beaufort and Sir Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland as common ancestors.


  1. The earldom passed to the 13th Earl’s male heir, Henry, from his second marriage to Lady Isabel le Despenser [a granddaughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York]. Henry married Lady Cecily, a sister of the future Lord Warwick [Richard Neville] in 1436. At the same ceremony, Henry’s sister Lady Anne was married to Richard Neville, son of the 5th Earl of Salisbury. After the marriage, Henry was created Duke of Warwick in 1445. The couple had one child, a daughter Lady Anne, who inherited as suo jure 15th Countess of Warwick after the death of her father in 1446 [women could not inherit Dukedoms]. Lady Anne died young (d.1449). The title went to her her paternal aunt Lady Anne Beauchamp [whom she was most likely named after]. The title was passed to her husband, Richard Neville, who was also the maternal uncle of the last Countess. For the full story, see “Warwick Inheritance” on Lady Cecily’s page. The Warwick inheritance would be the subject of another feud after the death of Lord Warwick between his two daughters, Lady Isabel, Duchess of Clarence, and Lady Anne, Duchess of Gloucester and future queen of England. The title was bestowed upon Lady Isabel’s husband, George, Duke of Clarence (brother of King Edward IV and Richard III) and would go to his son, Edward, 17th Earl of Warwick, the last male Plantagenet.


  1. History of Parliament: a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons, ed. Stephen Bindoff ‘Neville, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.,‘ 1982.
  2. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen. Macmillan, 2010.
  3. Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume VII, page 483.
  4. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen, Macmillian, 2010. pg 65. *At the time of his father’s marriage to Katherine Parr in 1543, Neville was 14 yrs old.
  5. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1363.
  6. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume VII, page 484.
  7. History of Village of Well, North Yorkshire, St. Michael’s
  8. Linda Porter. Katherine, the Queen, MacMillian, 2010. pg 66. *At the time of her father’s marriage to Catherine Parr in 1543, Margaret was aged 9.
  9. Richard Simpson. Some Accounts of the Monuments in Hackney Church, Billing and Sons, 1881; Chapter: Lady Latimer.
  10. Susan E. James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love. The History Press, 2009 US Edition. pg 61-73.
  11. Letters and Papers, Foreign & Domestic of the Reign of Henry VIII, II, no. 1174.
  12. Sir Sidney Lee. Dictionary of the National Biography, Vol XL, Smith, Elder and Co., 1894. pg 269.


History of Parliament: Neville, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.