Family of Queen Katherine: Sir William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Kendal

Impaled arms of Parr and FitzHugh, Hampton Court Palace Pedigree window of Katherine Parr.

Impaled arms of Parr and FitzHugh, Hampton Court Palace Pedigree window of Katherine Parr.

Sir William Parr, Baron Parr of Kendal (1434-bef. 26 February 1484[2, see notes]/Autumn 1483[1]) KG was a courtier and soldier best known for being the grandfather of Queen Katherine Parr, Lady Anne Herbert, and William, 1st Marquess of Northampton. His granddaughter would become the sixth and final queen of King Henry VIII and his grandson would become one the most powerful men during the reigns of Edward VI (as the king’s “beloved uncle”) and Elizabeth I.

Family

Parr was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Parr and Alice Tunstall, daughter of Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland. His paternal grandparents were Sir John Parr of Kendal Castle and the heiress Agnes Crophull of Weobley, widow of Sir Walter Devereux. Her family owned Weobley Castle in Herefordshire which passed to her children by Devereux. By his mother Agnes, Thomas Parr was a half-brother of Walter Devereux Esq. Parr’s grand-nieces and nephews included Sir Walter, 1st Baron Ferrers of Chartley and Lady Elizabeth (Devereux), Countess of Pembroke [wife to William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke] which would give the Parr’s connections to some of the most important nobility at court. Thomas Parr’s other brother, Bryan, became Lord of Parr Manor from which a branch of the Parr family, which still resides in England, descends.  His maternal grandparents were Sir Thomas Tunstall of Thurland Castle and Isabel Harrington, daughter of Sir Nicholas and Isabel English. Sir Thomas Tunstall would go on to marry Hon. Joan Mowbray, daughter of Lord Mowbray and Lady Segrave and thus become the step-father of her children by Sir Thomas Grey which included the 1st Earl of Tankerville.

Kendal Castle was acquired through the marriage of Sir William de Parr to the heiress and only child of Sir John de Ros of Kendal, Elizabeth de Ros in 1383.

Kendal Castle was acquired through the marriage of Sir William de Parr to the heiress and only child of Sir John de Ros of Kendal, Elizabeth de Ros in 1383. Lord Parr was the last to reside at Kendal.

Life

Lancaster_vs_York

The Parr family had been long established in Parr, Lancashire. Parr’s family resided in Kendal. By marriage they inherited Kendal Castle and 1/4 of the Barony of Kendal which would come to be known as the “Marquis Fee.” Parr’s father, Thomas, was part of the War of the Roses and fought on the Yorkist side. He was attained in 1459 with the other Yorkists’, but the attainder was reversed in 1461 as he died in 1464. All of Parr’s siblings married into prominent families. His brother, Sir John, also a Yorkist, was rewarded in 1462 by being made Sheriff of Westmorland for life. Sir John would marry a daughter of Sir John Yonge, Lord Mayor of London. Parr’s other brother, Sir Thomas, was killed at Barnet. His sister, Mabel, married to Sir Humphrey Dacre, Baron Dacre of the North. Another sister, Agnes, would marry to Sir Thomas Strickland of Sizergh Castle. And Margaret married Sir Thomas Radcliffe.

Lord Parr was high in favor and a close friend with King Edward IV and repaid it with great fidelity. In 1469, he was on the side of the Nevilles during the battle of Banbury. In 1470, before the battle of Lose-coat-Fields he was sent by Clarence (the King’s brother) and Warwick (his wife’s uncle) and was entrusted with his answer. In 1471, Parr was one of the commissioners appointed to adjust with James III of Scotland of some alleged violations of the truce, which including a marriage treaty. On the return of King Edward again to contest his right to the crown, with Margaret Anjou supported by Warwick, Parr met him at Northampton with a considerable force and thence inarched to Barnet field where he was decided in favour of his royal master. Also in 1471, Sir Henry Stafford and his wife, Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of King Henry VII), conveyed to him two parts of the lordships of Grasmere, Loghrigge, Longdon, Casterton, Hamelsett, and Troutbeck with their members, the hamlets of Applethwaite, Undermilbeck, and all lands in them; the close or park of Calgarth, the herbage and pannage of the same, the fishery in and of the water in Windermere, etc. Westmorland.

For his loyalty and part at Barnet, Parr was rewarded with the office of Comptroller of the Household which he held from 1471 to 1475 and again in 1481 till Edward’s death in 1483.[1][2][3]  Lord Parr was created a knight barrenet and was one of only two courtiers to become a Knight of the Garter in the second reign of Edward IV.  He was MP for Westmoreland in the 6th and 12th Edward IV and served as sheriff of Cumberland in 1473. in 1475, he travelled with the King on his expedition to France. In 1483, he was constituted chief commissioner for exercising the office of constable of England and was made ambassador to treat with the embassy from Alexander, Duke of Albany (son of James II of Scotland and uncle to James IV). Upon the death of King Edward, he was part of the funeral.

Life under Richard III

Richard III with his queen Anne and son, Edward, Prince of Wales.

Richard III with his queen Anne and son, Edward, Prince of Wales.

Neville arms

Arms of the heirs of Sir Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, eldest son of Sir Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland by his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Katherine Swynford.

Sometime after 1475, Parr married secondly to Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh, daughter of Lord FitzHugh and Lady Alice Neville (sister of Warwick and cousin to Edward IV and Richard III). Lord FitzHugh was the associate of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury (Elizabeth’s grandfather). Lord FitzHugh had been a long-standing supporter of the Neville family; he supported the Earl of Salisbury in his dispute with the Percy family in the 1450s. FitzHugh also served with the earl on the first protectorate council. Lord FitzHugh would go on to become a close ally of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick [“Warwick, the Kingmaker”] during the War of the Roses. In about 1452, FitzHugh would marry into the Neville family, marrying a sister of Warwick, Alice.

Due to the affiliation of Parr’s second wife to the Royal family, Parr was pressured by his mother-in-law, Lady FitzHugh, to follow the rule of her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III), while he was serving as Lord Protector of the Realm.[1] Parr, however, was not persuaded that Richard’s determination for the throne was justified. The murder of William, Lord Hastings on 13 June 1483 was the tipping point.[1] Hastings had been a close friend and adviser of the late King Edward IV.[1] Parr was no doubt a friend as well as a relation (Hastings was Parr’s uncle by marriage; Hastings was married to Lady Katherine Neville, another sister of Warwick). Parr was loyal to the institution of the monarchy, but deserted the idea of usurpation, however justified it was in political terms.[1] When Richard became King, Lord Parr chose not attend the coronation.[1] Parr had even been given a position in the coronation as canopy bearer.[1] Lady Parr and her mother, however, were present.[1] Both were dressed in fine dresses made by cloth that the new King himself had given them. Elizabeth received seven yards of gold and silk; her mother received material for two gowns, one of blue velvet and crimson satin as well as one of crimson and velvet with white damask. It is not known which gown Elizabeth wore as she rode behind Queen Anne (Neville); but she was one of the seven noble ladies given this honour. After the coronation, Lady Parr was personally appointed by the new Queen and served as lady-in-waiting to her cousin, whom she was close to. Queen Anne was the younger daughter of Lady Parr’s uncle, Lord Warwick.

Tomb of William Parr, Kendal Parish Church.

Tomb of William Parr, Kendal Parish Church.

Lord Parr is thought to be buried in Kendal Parish Church in Kendal, Cumbria, England. The tomb is not majestic and is tucked away behind chairs. His coat of arms can be seen on his tomb. The Church also features the famous “Parr Chapel.”

Marriages and Issue

Before July 1468, Lord Parr was married firstly to Joan Trusbut (d.1475).[2] The marriage produced no known children, however, Joan left a son, John, from her previous marriage to Thomas Colt Esq. of Roydon (d.1467). After Joan’s death, her son’s wardship was granted to Lord Parr. (The Manors of Suffolk) Colt most likely grew up with the children of Parr’s second marriage. Colt would marry and have a daughter, Jane, the first wife of Sir Thomas More.

After Joan’s death in 1475, Lord Parr married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Henry FitzHugh, 5th Baron FitzHugh of Ravensworth and his wife Lady Alice Neville by whom he had three sons and two daughters. After Parr’s death, his widow would remarry to Sir Nicholas Vaux (later 1st Baron) and by him she had further issue. (Plantagenet Ancestry)

  1. Anne Parr, Lady Cheney (AFT 1475–4 November 1513), who married Sir Thomas Cheney of Irthlingborough. Their daughter Elizabeth, would go on to marry the son of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (Elizabeth FitzHugh’s second husband) by his second marriage to Anne Green; maternal aunt to Katherine Parr. When Elizabeth Cheney married Lord Vaux, she was age 18 and he was age 14. While there were no blood relations,  Lord Vaux’s father had issue by his marriage to his first wife (see below); thus making Hon. Katherine, Hon. Alice, and Hon. Anne Vaux her maternal aunts. Through these relations, Elizabeth Cheney and her husband, the 2nd Lord Vaux, would have Throckmorton cousins in common.[2]

    Elizabeth_Cheney_Lady_Vaux

    Elizabeth Cheney (or Cheyne), Lady Vaux of Harrowden; daughter of Anne Parr and Sir Thomas Cheney. Sketch by Holbein.

  2. Sir Thomas Parr, Lord of Kendal (AFT 1475–11 November 1517), who was the eldest son, was knighted and was sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1509; he was master of the wards and comptroller to Henry VIII. He was rich, owing to his succeeding, in 1512, to half the estates of his cousin, Lord FitzHugh, and also to his marriage with Maud Green, daughter and coheiress of Sir Thomas Green of Boughton and Greens Norton in Northamptonshire. He died on 12 November 1518, and was buried in Blackfriars Church, London. His widow died on 1 September 1532, and was buried beside him. They were parents to Queen Katherine Parr, William Parr [1st Marquess of Northampton], and Anne Parr [Countess of Pembroke].[2]
  3. Sir William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton (BEF 1483–10 September 1547), the second son, was knighted on 25 December 1513, was sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1518 and 1522, and after his niece’s Katherine Parr’s promotion became her chamberlain. On 23 December 1543 he was created Baron Parr of Horton, Northamptonshire. He died on 10 September 1547, and was buried at Horton (for his tomb, see Bridges, Northamptonshire, i. 370). By Mary, daughter of Sir William Salisbury, he left four daughters.[2]
  4. John Parr, Esq. (BEF 1483–8 September 1508), married Constance, daughter of Sir Henry Vere of Addington, Surrey. They had no issue.[2]
  5. Alice, died young (b. before 1483).[2]

After her husband Sir William Parr died in 1483, Elizabeth, who was twenty three at the time, was left with four small children. A familiar situation which Queen Katherine’s own mother would find herself in when her husband died in 1517, leaving her with three small children. Instead of choosing not to re-marry, like Maud Parr, Lady Parr made a dubious second marriage with a protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort [mother of the new King], Sir Nicholas Vaux, the future 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden, which saved the family fortunes.[3]

References

  1. Linda Porter. “Katherine, the queen,” Macmillan, 2010.
  2. Douglas Richardson. “Plantagenet Ancestry,” Genealogical Publishing Com, 2011. pg 662.
  3. James, Susan. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love. (2009), pg 15, 81.
  • Sir Leslie Stephen. “Dictionary of National Biography,” Vol 43, Smith, Elder, 1895. pg 366. Google eBook
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Family of Queen Katherine: Elizabeth FitzHugh, Lady Parr and Vaux

Impaled arms of Parr and FitzHugh, Hampton Court Palace Pedigree window of Katherine Parr.

Impaled arms of Parr and FitzHugh, Hampton Court Palace Pedigree window of Katherine Parr.

Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh Lady Parr of Kendal and Lady Vaux of Harrowden (1455/65 – 29 January 1508) was an English noblewoman and the co-heiress to her father, Hon. Sir Henry FitzHugh, 5th Baron FitzHugh of Ravensworth. Lady Parr is best known for being the grandmother of the sixth queen of Henry VIII, Katherine Parr and her siblings Lady Anne Herbert, Countess of Pembroke and William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton.

Ravensworth Castle, ancestral home to the Barons FitzHugh

Ravensworth Castle, ancestral home to the Barons FitzHugh

Elizabeth FitzHugh was born at her family’s ancestral home, Ravensworth Castle, in North Yorkshire, England. She was the daughter of Sir Henry FitzHugh, 5th Baron Fitzhugh of Ravensworth Castle. Her family was of the Northern gentry. Lady Parr’s mother was born Lady Alice Neville, daughter of Sir Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury and Lady Alice Montacute, suo jure 5th Countess of Salisbury, only daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Montague, 4th Earl of Salisbury and Lady Eleanor Holland. Her paternal grandparents were Sir William FitzHugh, 4th Baron Fitzhugh of Ravensworth and Marjory Willoughby, daughter of Sir William Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby de Eresby and his first wife, Lucy Le Strange. Through her mother Lady FitzHugh, Lady Parr descended from Edward III by his son Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and Titular King of Castile. Lady FitzHugh was sister to Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (“Warwick, the Kingmaker”). Her paternal aunts included Lady Cecily, Duchess of York making her a cousin to King Edward IV, Richard III, and his siblings. Elizabeth had nine siblings[1], including Alice FitzHugh, Lady Fiennes and Henry, 6th Baron FitzHugh who married Elizabeth Burgh, daughter of Sir Thomas Burgh, 1st Baron Burgh of Gainsborough. Their son George, the 7th Lord FitzHugh, inherited the barony but after his death in 1513, the barony fell in abeyance between Lady Parr and her older sister Alice, Lady Fiennes. This abeyance continues today between the two families.[2]

The current co-heirs to the barony are:

  • Hon. Emily Douglas-Home, suo jure 29th Baroness Dacre (b. 1983)
  • Hon. Tessa Ogilvie Thompson née Brand (b. 1934)
  • Francis Brand, 7th Viscount Hampden (b. 1970)
  • William Herbert, 18th Earl of Pembroke (b. 1978), a descendant of Lady Anne [Parr], Countess of Pembroke

Lancaster_vs_York

Life

Elizabeth FitzHugh had an easy-going and pleasure-loving disposition. As Lady Parr, she joined the household of her cousin, the Duchess of Gloucester.[7] The Duchess of Gloucester was born Lady Anne Neville, the youngest daughter of Sir Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (“Warwick, the Kingmaker”) and Lady Anne Beauchamp. Lady Parr was close to her cousin which showed in her positions under Anne as Duchess and Queen consort. Because of the family connections, Elizabeth’s mother, Lady FitzHugh pressured Lady Parr’s husband, Lord Parr, to follow the rule of the Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III) while he was serving as Lord Protector of the Realm. When the Duchess became queen in 1483, Lady Parr was appointed by the Queen herself and served as lady-in-waiting. Lady Parr and her mother were both present at the coronation on 6 July 1483. Both were dressed in fine dresses made by cloth that the King himself had given them. Elizabeth received seven yards of gold and silk; her mother received material for two gowns, one of blue velvet and crimson satin as well as one of crimson and velvet with white damask. It is not known which gown Elizabeth wore as she rode behind Queen Anne; but she was one of the seven noble ladies given this honour. Her husband who had been deeply devoted to Edward IV declined his role in the coronation and headed north where he died shortly after.[8]

After her husband Sir William Parr died in 1483, Elizabeth, who was twenty three at the time, was left with four small children. As a widow, Elizabeth’s life revolved around the court. Elizabeth would be second in a four generation span of family that would serve England’s queens which started in 1483 with her mother, the redoubtable Alice Neville, Lady Fitzhugh. Her granddaughter, Anne Parr would continue the tradition by becoming lady-in-waiting to all six of Henry VIII’s wives. Even Anne’s sister, Catherine Parr, who would later become queen served in the household of the Lady Mary until she caught the eye of King Henry.[3]
Elizabeth was lucky enough to remarry. After the overthrow of Richard III and The House of York, Elizabeth made a dubious second marriage with a protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort, Sir Nicholas Vaux, the future 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden, which saved the family fortunes.[3]

Marriages and Issue

FitzHugh was married twice. She married firstly, at the age of 12, Sir William Parr (d.1483), a man twenty eight years her senior. William was a Knight of the Garter, among other high positions at court, who was held high in favour with King Edward IV; who by marriage to Elizabeth became a cousin. He fought as a Yorkist on the side of the Neville’s at Banbury. The couple did not produce their first child until Elizabeth was sixteen years of age. Lord and Lady Parr had three sons and two daughters:
  1.  Anne Parr, Lady Cheney (AFT 1475–4 November 1513), who married Sir Thomas Cheney of Irthlingborough. Their daughter Elizabeth, would go on to marry the son of Nicholas Vaux, 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden (Elizabeth FitzHugh’s second husband) by his second marriage to Anne Green; maternal aunt to Katherine Parr. When Elizabeth Cheney married Lord Vaux, she was age 18 and he was age 14. While there were no blood relations,  Lord Vaux’s father had issue by his marriage to his first wife (see below); thus making Hon. Katherine, Hon. Alice, and Hon. Anne Vaux her maternal aunts. Through these relations, Elizabeth Cheney and her husband, the 2nd Lord Vaux, would have Throckmorton cousins in common.[4]
    Elizabeth, Lady Vaux of Harrowden, wife to the 2nd Baron Vaux.

    Elizabeth Cheney (or Cheyne), Lady Vaux of Harrowden; daughter of Anne Parr and Sir Thomas Cheney.

    Elizabeth was originally drawn by Holbein c.1536. For more on the original drawing and copies of paintings, see: The OTHER Elizabeth Cheney

  2. Sir Thomas Parr, Lord of Kendal (AFT 1475–11 November 1517), who was the eldest son, was knighted and was sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1509; he was master of the wards and comptroller to Henry VIII. He was rich, owing to his succeeding, in 1512, to half the estates of his cousin, Lord FitzHugh, and also to his marriage with Maud Green, daughter and coheiress of Sir Thomas Green of Boughton and Greens Norton in Northamptonshire. He died on 12 November 1518, and was buried in Blackfriars Church, London. His widow died on 1 September 1532, and was buried beside him. Of their children, Katherine Parr, queen of Henry VIII, and William Parr (afterwards Marquess of Northampton), are separately noticed; while a daughter, Anne, married William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke of the tenth creation. The couple also had two other children who died as infants; a son was born before their eldest, Katherine, but was stillborn. The second infant who was conceived after their fourth child, Anne; but was either miscarried, dead at birth, or died shortly after, the same year their father died, 1517. The only descendants alive today are the descendants of their youngest surviving daughter, Anne. Her descendants include the current Earls of Pembroke, Earls of Montgomery, Earls of Carnarvon, and more.[4]
  3. Sir William Parr, 1st Baron Parr of Horton (BEF 1483–10 September 1547), the second son, was knighted on 25 December 1513, was sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1518 and 1522, and after his niece’s Katherine Parr’s promotion became her chamberlain. On 23 December 1543 he was created Baron Parr of Horton, Northamptonshire. He died on 10 September 1547, and was buried at Horton (for his tomb, see Bridges, Northamptonshire, i. 370). By Mary, daughter of Sir William Salisbury, he left four daughters.[4]
  4. John Parr, Esq. (BEF 1483–8 September 1508), married Constance, daughter of Sir Henry Vere of Addington, Surrey. They had no issue.[4]
  5. Alice, died young (b. before 1483).

Second Marriage

After the death of Sir William Parr in fall of 1483, Elizabeth re-married Sir Nicholas Vaux c.1484/5 (probably right before the fall of Richard III), who later became 1st Baron Vaux of Harrowden as his first wife.[4] Vaux was the protege of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, so the marriage came at a good time, saving the family fortunes. Vaux’s mother, Katherine Peniston, had been lady to Margaret of Anjou and as such, the Vauxs’ were sympathetic to the Lancastrian cause bringing the Parr family back in to favor. Lady Katherine Vaux (Peniston) would remain with Margaret of Anjou in exile and died in her service.[6] After the accession of Henry VII, Vaux was raised by Lady Margaret Beaufort.[6] Elizabeth’s son by her first marriage, Sir Thomas Parr (father of Katherine), is thought to have been educated under Beaufort’s tutelage (Susan James) which would explain the closeness he formed with her grandson, King Henry VIII. Vaux became close to his Parr step-children. After the death of Elizabeth, Vaux would re-marry to Anne Green, sister to Lady Maud Parr and thus sister-in-law to Sir Thomas Parr.

Their issue:

  1. Hon. Katherine Vaux (abt 1490-1552/1571)[5], married the Catholic Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court. Sir George was one of those opposed to the divorce of Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon. He also opposed the break from Rome. As the divorce of Queen Katherine and the marriage of Anne Boleyn was still pending, Sir George said that the king “had meddled with both the mother and sister.” The couple had 19 children and in his life time 112 grandchildren who were mostly ardent Catholics.[4] For over 500 years now, their family has remained one of England’s oldest Catholic families.

    British English School An Unknown Lady once called Katherine Vaux, Lady Throckmorton National Trust Collections Coughton Court, Warwickshire 1576.

    British English School An Unknown Lady once called Katherine Vaux, Lady Throckmorton National Trust Collections Coughton Court, Warwickshire 1576.

  2. Hon. Alice Vaux (d. 1543), married Sir Richard Sapcott/Sapcote c. 1501. No issue; some genealogies state she was the mother of one of Sapcott’s younger sons, but that has not been proven.[4]
  3. Hon. Anne Vaux, married Sir Thomas Le Strange (1493-1545) and had issue.[4]

Sources:

  1. The Complete Peerage vol. V, pp. 428-429.
  2. Crofts Peerage Online, Baron FitzHugh
  3. Susan James. Catherine Parr: Henry VIII’s Last Love,” (2009), pg 15, 81.
  4. Douglas Richardson. “Plantagenet Ancestry,” Genealogical Publishing Com, 2004. pg 144, 561.
  5. Peter Marshall, Geoffrey Scott (OSB.) “Catholic Gentry in English Society: The Throckmortons of Coughton from Reformation to Emancipation,” Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., Nov 17, 2009. (several errors, i.e. Katherine Parr’s relation to the Throckmorton’s and Lord Throckmorton died in 1552, pretty sure his wife didn’t die in the same year.)
  6. Barbara J. Harris. “English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 : Marriage and Family, Property and Careers: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers,” Oxford University Press, Jul 26, 2002. pg 218.
  7. Michael Hicks. “Anne Neville: Queen to Richard III,” Tempus, 2006. pg 189.
  8. Linda Porter. “Katherine, the Queen,” Macmillan, 2010.

See also

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