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Portrait of Queen Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville (1437-1492)

        Excerpted from:

        Strickland, Agnes. Lives of the Queens of England.
        London: Bell and Daldy, 1867. 154-165.

Jacquetta of Luxemburg, the fair young widow of the old warlike Duke of Bedford, took for her second spouse his favourite knight, the brave and handsome Sir Richard Woodville, when she came to England in 1435 to claim her dower.  The time of the birth of her eldest child Elizabeth, the issue of marriage kept secret for fear of parliament, probably occurred in 1436.  The matter burst out with great scandal the year after.  Sir Richard was arrested and imprisoned in 1437; but as the king's mother had married in lower degree to Owen Tudor, the young king was glad to pardon the second lady in his realm, as an excuse for showing mercy to his dying queen-mother.  Jacquetta's knight was therefore pardoned and sent home.  They settled very happily at Grafton Castle, where they became the parents of a large family of handsome sons and beautiful daughters, among whom Elizabeth was fairest of the fair.

      The Duchess of Bedford kept the rank of the King's aunt.  His royal mother had died miserably in 1437, as shown in her life.  Duchess Jacquetta, on occasions of ceremony, was the first lady in the land until the marriage of the king.  Her daughter Elizabeth, took high rank among the maids of honour of Margaret of Anjou, and was the belle of her court, as two letters extant from Richard Duke of York and his friend the Earl of Warwick prove, recommending a Welsh hero, one of their knights-marshal, sir Hugh Johns, as a husband, they dwell on his great love inspired by her beauty and sweet manners; the letters show familiar acquaintance with Elizabeth, but they were of no avail.  The court beauty had no fortune but her face, the Welsh champion none but his sword.  She made a better match the same year with the heir of lord Ferrers of Groby, John Gray, rich, valiant, and years younger than the rejected Sir Hugh.  Lord Ferrers was possessor of the ancient domain of Bradgate, which was afterwards to derive lustre as the birthplace of his descendant, lady Jane Grey.  Elizabeth was appointed one of the four ladies of the bedchamber to Margaret of Anjou.  John Gray held military command in the queen's army.  His death left Elizabeth with two infant sons, in 1460.

      Rancour so deep pursued the memory of John lord Gray, that his harmless infants, Thomas and Richard, were deprived of their inheritance of Bradgate.  Elizabeth herself remained mourning and destitute at Grafton the two first years of Edward IV's reign.  Hearing that the young king was hunting in the neighbourhood of her mother's dower castle at Grafton, Elizabeth waited for him beneath a noble tree known in the traditions of Northamptonshire, as "the queen's oak," hold a fatherless boy in either hand; and when Edward, who must have been well acquainted with her previously at the English court, paused to listen to her, she threw herself at his feet, and pleaded for the restoration of her children's lands.  Her downcast looks and mournful beauty not only gained her suit, but the heart of the conqueror.  He was unwilling to make her his queen, but she left him to settle the question; knowing that he had betrayed others, her affections still clave to the memory of the husband of her youth.  Her indifference increased the love of the young king.  The struggle ended in his offering her marriage, which took place May 1, 1464.  The marriage gave great offence to the mother of Edward IV.  This lady, who, before the fall of her husband, Richard duke of York, at Wakefield, had assumed the state of a queen, had to give place to the daughter of a knight.  It was on Michaelmas day, 1464, that Edward IV finally declared to Elizabeth to be his wedded wife, at Reading palace.

      The queen's eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was born at Westminster palace about five months afterwards.  The royal physicians, by means of their foolish studies of astrology, had assured king Edward that his expected child by his queen would prove a prince.  The king, who was deep in the same kind of lore, had persuaded himself that his expected infant would wear the crown of England.  One of these physicians, Dr.  Dominic, obtained leave to station himself in the queen's withdrawing-room, leading to her bed-chamber, in order that he might be the first to carry the tidings of the heir to Edward IV.  Hearing the child cry, he called to one of the queen's ladies, asking, "What her grace had?"  The ladies were not in the best humour, being unwilling to answer "only a girl."  So one of them replied, "Whatsoever the queen's grace hath here within, sure 'tis a fool that standeth there without."  Poor Dr.  Dominic, being much confounded by this sharp answer, dared not enter the king's presence.

      Elizabeth was crowned May 16, 1465, with great solemnity, in Westminster abbey, the young duke of Clarence officiating as high-steward.  Elizabeth and Warwick were on friendly terms, as he stood godfather to her eldest daughter.  The baptism of this princess for a while conciliated her two grandmothers, Cicely duchess of York, and Jacquetta duchess of Bedford, who were likewise her sponsors.  The christening was performend with royal pomp, and the babe received her mother's name of Elizabeth,—a proof that Edward was more inclined to pay a compliment to his wife than to his haughty mother.  As prime-minister, relative, and general of Edward IV, the earl of Warwick had, from 1460 to 1465, borne absolute sway in England; yet Edward at that time so far forgot gratitude and propriety as to offer some personal insult to Isabel, his eldest daughter, who had grown up a beauty.  Warwick had certainly been in hopes that, as soon as Isabel was old enough, he would have made her his queen, a speculation for ever disappointed by the exaltation of Elizabeth; so he gave his daughter Isabel in marriage to the duke of Clarence, and England was soon after in a state of insurrection.  As popular fury was especially directed against the queen's family, the Woodvilles were advised to retire for a time.

      The first outbreak of the muttering storm was a rebellion in 1468, in Yorkshire, under a freebooter called Robin of Redesdale, declared by some to have been a noble, outlawed for the cause of the Red rose.  The murder of the queen's father and brother followed in 1469.  When the king advanced to suppress these outrages, he was seized by Warwick and his brother Montague, and kept at Warwick castle, where an experiment was tried to shake his affection to Elizabeth by the insinuation that her whole indluence over him proceeded from her mother's skill in witchcraft.  The Yorkist king escaped speedily to Windsor, and was soon once more in his metropolis, which was perfectly devoted to him, and where, it appears, his queen had remained in security during these alarming events.  Again England was his own; for Warwick and Clarence, in alarm at his escape, betook themselves to their fleet, and fled.  Then the queen's brother, Anthony Woodville, intercepted and captured the rebel ships, but not that in which Warwick and Clarence, with their families, were embarked, which escaped with difficulty to the coast of France.  The queen was placed by the king in safety in the Tower, before he marched to give battle to the insurgents.  She was the mother of three girls but had not borne heirs-male to the house of York.  Edward IV narrowly escaped being once more thrown into the power of Warwick, who had returned to England; but being warned by his faithful sergeant of minstrels.  Alexander Carlile, he fled half-dressed from his revolting troops in the dead of night, and embarked at Lynn with a few faithful friends.  Elizabeth was thus left alone, with her mother, to bide the storm.  She was resident at the Tower, where her party still held Henry VI prisoner.  While danger was yet at a distance, the queen's resolutions were remarkably valiant; yet the very day that Warwick and Clarence entered London, she betook herself to her barge, and fled up the Thames to Westminster,—not to her own palace, but to a strong, gloomy building called the Sanctuary, which occupied a space at the end of St.  Margaret's churchyard.  Here she registered herself, her mother, her three little daughters,—Elizabeth, Mary, and Cicely, with the faithful lady Scrope, her attendant, as sanctuary-women; and in this dismal place, November 1, 1470, the long-hoped-for heir of York was born.  The queen was most destitute; but Thomas Milling, abbot of Westminster, sent various conveniences from the abbey close by.  Mother Cobb, resident in the Sanctuary, charitably assisted the distressed queen, and acted as nurse to the little prince.  Nor did Elizabeth, in this fearful crisis, want friends; for master Serigo, her physician, attended herself and her son; while a faithful butcher, John Gould, prevented the whole Sanctuary party from being starved into surrender.  The little prince was baptized, soon after his birth, in the abbey, with no more ceremony than if he had been a poor man's son.

      Early in March the queen was cheered by the news that her husband had landed, and soon after, that his brother Clarence had forsaken Warwick.  The metropolis opened its gates to Edward IV, who hurried to the Sanctuary to embrace his wife and new-born son.  The very morning of this joyful meeting, Elizabeth, accompanied by her royal lord, left Westminster palace, but soon after retired to the Tower of London, while her husband gained the battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury.  The news of his success had scarcely reached her, before the Tower was threatened with storm by Falconbridge; but her valiant brother, Anthony Woodville being there, she, relying on his aid, stood the danger this time without running away.

      After Edward IV had crushed rebellion by almost exterminating his opponents, he turned his attention to rewarding the friends to whom he owed his restoration, and bestowed princely gratuities on those humble friends who had aided "his Elizabeth," as he calls her, in that fearful crisis.

      When Edward IV fled in the preceding year from England, he landed with a few friends at Sluys, the most distressed company of creatures ever seen; for he pawned his military cloak, lined with marten fur, to pay the master of his ship, and was put on shore in his waistcoat.  The lord of Grauthuse received, fed, and clothed him, lending him besides money and ships, without which he would never have been restored to his country and queen.  Edward invited his benefactor to England.  Lord Hastings received him, and led him to the far side of the quadrangle of Windsor castle, to three chambers.  These apartments were very richly hung with cloth of gold arras; and when Grauthuse had spoken with the king in the royal suite, he presented him to the queen's grace, they then ordered the lord chamberlain Hastings to conduct him to his chamber, where supper was ready for him.  After refreshment, the king had him brought immediately to the queen's own withdrawing-room, where she and her ladies were playing with little balls like marbles, and some of her ladies were playing with ninepins.  Also king Edward danced with Elizabeth, his eldest daughter.  In the morning the king came into the quadrant, the prince also, borne by his chamberlain, called master Vaughan, bade the lord Grauthuse welcome.  The innocent little prince, afterwards the unfortunate Edward V, was then only eighteen months old.  Then the queen ordered a grand banquet in her own apartments, at which her mother, her eldest daughter, the duchess of Exeter, the king, and the lord of Grauthuse all sat with her at one table.

      Elizabeth, in January, 1477, presided over the espousals of her second son, Richard duke of York, with Anne Mowbray, the infant heiress of the duchy of Norfolk.  St.  Stephen's chapel, Westminster, where the ceremony was performed, was splendidly hung with arras of gold on this occasion.  The queen led the little bridegroom, who was not five, and her brother, Earl Rivers, led the baby bride, scarcely three years old.  They afterwards all partook of a rich banquet, laid out in the Painted-chamber.  Soon after this infant marriage, all England was startled by the strange circumstances attending the death of the duke of Clarence.  The queen had been cruelly injured by Clarence.  Her father and her brother had been put to death in his name; her brother Anthony, the pride of English chivalry, had narrowly escaped a similar fate: moreover, her mother had been accused of sorcery by his party.  She did not soothe her husband's mind when Clarence gave him provocation.  In fact, on the first quarrel, his arrest, arraignment, and sentence followed.  He was condemned to death, and sent to the Tower.  In his dismal prison a butt of malmsey was introduced one night, where he could have access to it.  The duke was found dead, with his head hanging over the butt.  Gloucester was certainly absent from the scene of action, residing in the north.  On St.  George's day succeeding this grotesque but horrible tragedy, the festival of the Garter was celebrated with more than usual pomp; the queen took a decided part in it, and wore the robes as chief lady of the order.  Her vanity was inflated excessively by the engagement which the king of France had made for his son with her eldest daughter.

      In the last years of king Edward's life he gave the queen's place in his affections to the beautiful Jane Shore, a goldsmith's wife in the city, whom he had seduced from her duty.  His death was hastened by the pain of mind he felt at the conduct of Louis XI, who broke the engagement he had made to marry the dauphin to the princess Elizabeth of York, but an intermittent fever was the cause.  When expiring, he made his favourites, lords Stanley and Hastings, vow reconciliation with the queen and her family.  He died with great professions of penitence, at the early age of forty-two, April 9, 1483.  Excepting the control of the marriages of his daughters, his will gave no authority to the queen.  She was left, in reality, more unprotected in her second than in her first widowhood.

Queen Elizabeth Woodville at Westminster       The Duke of Gloucester had been very little at court since the restoration.  He was now absent in the north, and caused Edward V to be proclaimed at York, writing letters of condolence so full of kindness and submission, that Elizabeth thought she should have a most complying friend in him.  Astounding tidings were brought to the queen at midnight, May 3, that the duke of Gloucester had intercepted the young king with an armed force on his progress to London, had seized his person, and arrested her brother, Earl Rivers, and her son, lord Richard Gray.  In that moment of agony she, however, remembered, that while she could keep her second son in safety the life of the young king was secure.  With the duke of York and her daughters she left Westminster palace for the Sanctuary; and she, and all her children and company, were registered as Sanctuary persons.  Dorset, the queen's eldest son, directly he heard of the arrest of his brother, weakly forsook his trust as constable of the Tower, and came into sanctuary to his mother.  The archbishop of York brought her a cheering message, sent him by lord Hastings in the night.  "Ah!" replied Elizabeth, "it is he that goeth about to destroy us." — "Madam," said the archbishop, "be of good comfort; if they crown any other king than your eldest son, whom they have with them, we will on the morrow crown his brother, whom you have with you here.  And here is the great seal, which in like wise as your noble husband gave it to me, so I deliver it to you for the use of your son."  And therewith he handed to the queen the great seal, and departed from her in the dawning of the day.

      With the exception of the two beautiful and womanly maidens, Elizabeth and Cicely, the royal family were young children.  The queen took with her into sanctuary Elizabeth, seventeen years old at this time, afterwards married to Henry VII.  Cicely was in her fifteenth year.  These princesses had been the companions of their mother in 1470, when she had formerly sought sanctuary.  Richard duke of York, born at Shrewsbury in 1472, was at this time eleven years old.  Katherine, born at Eltham about August 1479, then between three and four years old.  Bridget, born at Eltham 1480, Nov.  20th, then only in her third year; she was afterwards professed a nun at Dartford.

      Gloucester's chief object was to get possession of the duke of York, then safe with the queen.  As the archbishop of Canterbury was fearful lest force should be used, he went, with a deputation of temporal peers, to persuade Elizabeth to surrender her son, urging "that the young king required the company of his brother, being melancholy without a playfellow."  To this Elizabeth replied, "Troweth the protector—ah! pray God he may prove a protector!—that the king doth lack a playfellow?  Can none be found to play with the king but only his brother, which hath no wish to play because of sickness? as though princes, so young as they be, could not play without their peers—or children could not play without their kindred, with whom (for the most part) they agree worse than with strangers!"  According to the natural weakness of her character, she nevertheless yielded to importunity, and taking young Richard by the hand, said, "I here deliver him, and his brother's life with him, and of you I shall require them before God and man.  Farewell! mine own sweet son.  God send you good keeping! God knoweth when we shall kiss together again!"  And therewith she kissed and blessed him, then turned her back and went, leaving the poor innocent child weeping as fast as herself.  When the archbishop and the lords had received the young duke, they led him to his uncle, who received him in his arms with these words: "Now welcome, my lord, with all my very heart!"  He then took him honourably through the city to the young king, then at Ely house, and the same evening to the Tower out of which they were never seen alive, though preparations went on night and day in the abbey for the coronation of Edward V.

      It is possible that Hasting's death had some influence in the imprudent surrender of young York.  If Elizabeth had any secret joy in the illegal execution of her brother's rival and enemy, very soon she had to lament a similar fate for that dear brother, and for her son, lord Richard Gray, who were beheaded by sir Richard Radcliffe, June 24th, when the northern army, commanded by that general, commenced its march to London.

      When the massacre of every friend to the rights of his brother's children was completed, and the approach of 9000 dreaded northern borderers intimidated the Londoners, the false protector entirely took off the mask.  Buckingham induced Edward IV's confessor, Dr.  Shaw, who was brother to Gloucester's partizan, the lord mayor, to preach a sermon against Edward V's title, on pretence that Edward IV's betrothment with lady Eleanor Butler had never been dissolved by the church.  Shaw likewise urged the immediate recognition of the duke of Gloucester as sovereign, putting aside the children of Clarence on pretence of his attainder by parliament.  Faint acclamations of "Long life Richard III" were raised by hired partizans, but the London citizens angrily and sullenly dispersed.  Ratcliffe's forces approached Bishopsgate on the 26th, and Richard III was proclaimed king.  The unhappy queen Elizabeth Woodville and her daughters witnessed the proclamation of the usurper from the abbot's house in the abbey.  Richard then made his state visit to the Tower and city.  Elizabeth and her daughters must perforce have been witnesses of his coronation, July 6, 1483.

      Soon after, the usurper, his wife, and son, now called Edward prince of Wales, made a grand progress to Warwick castle.  The unfortunate sons of Elizabeth meantime were closely imprisoned under the care of sir Robert Brakenbury, one of Richard III's northern commanders, who had been given the lieutenancy, under the notion that he would obey implicitly the usurper's orders.  Accordingly, Richard sent one of this gentlemen of the bedchamber, John Greene, ordering him to kill Edward IV's sons forthwith.  Brakenbury returned for answer "he would die first." A midnight consultation took place between Richard III and his master of the horse, Sir James Tyrell, who left Warwick castle August 2, with commands to Brakenbury from king Richard that he was to surrender the keys of the Tower to sir James Tyrell for one night.  On his ride from Warwickshire the master of the horse was attended by two retainers, one his squire, Miles Forrest, a northern champion of immense strength, the other his horsebreaker, John Dighton, a big, broad, square knave.  Sir James had requested his own brother, Tom Tyrell, a brave gentleman, to aid him, but met with positive refusal, by which, if he lost the usurper's favour, he gained from his country the appellation of "honest Tom Tyrell."

      The three murderers reached the Tower of London after dark, August 3.  Sir James Tyrell demanded the Tower keys; and in the very dead of the night when sleep weighs heaviest on young eyelids, one of the Tower wardens who waited on the hapless princes, Will Slaughter by name, guided the assassins through the secret passages, which still may be traced, from the lieutenant's house to the portcullis gateway.  There is a little dismal bedchamber hidden in the space between that tower and the Wakefield tower, approached with winding stone stairs, and which has leads on the top and an ugly recess in the walls, reaching to the ground and even beneath it.  The leads communicated by a door to the Wakefield tower leaded roof, and thence to the water-stairs by a bricked-up doorway, still plainly to be seen.  No spot could be more convenient for secret murder.  Tradition has pertinaciously clung to it and called this fatal prison lodging the Bloody tower.

Tyrell viewing the murdered princes       Sir James Tyrell did not enter the chamber where the poor victims were sleeping, but his strong ruffians crept silently in, and oppressing the princes with their great strength and weight, stifled them with the bed-clothes and pillows.  When the murders were completed Forrest and Dighton laid out the royal corpses on the bed, and invited sir James Tyrell to view their work.  Tyrell ordered them to thrust them down the hole in the leads, which they did, and threw heavy stones upon them.  Edward IV had lately strengthened that part of the Tower, little thinking the use to be made of it, as a poet born in his time makes him say—

"I made the Tower strong; I wist not why—
Knew not for whom."

      When Tyrell returned the keys to the lieutenant Brakenbury, the latter found his young prisoners had vanished.  The murderous trio rode back to Warwick castle to report their doings to the head assassing.  Richard III approved of everything his unscrupulous favorite and master of horse had done, excepting the disposal of his nephews' corpses.  He insisted that they should be raised from that niche and buried in consecrated ground with burial service.  The averseness of sir Robert Brakenbury to have aught to do with the murders, threw great difficulty in the way of the usurper's commands, prompted by the first twinge of conscience.  It is from the confession of sir James Tyrell, put to death twenty years after for conspiring with the de la Poles, that these particulars are gathered, but he could not say where the poor children were ultimately buried: all he heard was that Richard III's orders had been issued to the priest of the Tower, who had in the dead of night taken the bodies whither no one knew, as the old man died two or three days after.

      The secret was not guessed for two centuries; but when in 1674 King Charles II altered the White tower into a record office, under the flight of stairs leading up to the beautiful Norman chapel, was discovered a chest containing the bones of two children of the age of the murdered heirs of York.  The orders of the usurper being fulfilled to the letter, the ground was consecrated as pertaining to the sacred place above; and deeply secret the interment was.  Charles II had the poor remains of the heirs of York buried among their ancestors in Westminster abbey, where our young readers may remark the monument and inscription near Henry VII's chapel.

      We must now return to the life of their unfortunate mother, Elizabeth Woodville, who being in sanctuary, early heard when and where her sons were murdered, which, says sir Thomas More, struck to her heart like the sharp dart of death: she swooned, and fell to the ground, where she lay long insensible.  After she was revived and came to her memory again, with pitiful cries she filled the whole mansion.  Her breast she beat, her fair hair she tore, and calling by name her sweet babes, accounted herself mad when she delivered her younger son out of sanctuary, for his uncle to put him to death.  She kneeled down and cried to God to take vengeance; and when Richard unexpectedly lost his only son, for whose advancement he had steeped his soul in crime, Englishmen declared that the agonized mother's prayer had been heard.  The wretched queen's health sank under the anguish inflicted by these murders, which had been preceded by the illegal execution of her son, lord Richard Gray, and of her brother, at Pontefract.  She was visited in sanctuary by a priest-physician, Dr.  Lewis, who likewise attended Margaret Beaufort, mother to Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, then an exile in Bretagne.  The plan of uniting the princess Elizabeth with this last scion of the house of Lancaster, was first suggested to the desolate queen by Dr.  Lewis.  She eagerly embraced the proposition.  The duke of Buckingham, having been disgusted by Richard, his partner in crime, rose in arms; but after the utter failure of his insurrection, Elizabeth was reduced to despair, and finally was forced to leave sanctuary, and surrender herself and daughters into the hands of the usurper, in March.  She was then closely confined, with her daughters, in obscure apartments in the palace of Westminster.  From thence she wrote to her son Dorset at Paris to put an end immediately to the treaty of marriage between Richmond and the princess Elizabeth.  The friends who had projected the marriage were greatly incensed; but these steps were the evident result of the personal restraing the queen was then enduring.

      The successful termination of the expedition undertaken by the earl of Richmond, to obtain his promised bride and the crown of England, at once avenged the widowed queen and her family on the usurper, and restored her to liberty after the battle of Bosworth.  Instead of the despotic control of Richard III's swuire Nesfield, the queen, restored to royal rank, joyfully welcomed her eldest daughter, who was brought to her at Westminster from Sheriff-Hutton, remaining with her till the January following the battle of Bosworth, when she saw her united in marriage to Henry of Richmond, the acknowledged king of England.

      One of Henry VII's first acts was to invest the mother of his queen with the privileges befitting the widow of an English sovereign.  Unfortunately Elizabeth had not been dowered on the lands anciently appropriated to the queens of England, but on those of the duchy of Lancaster.  However, a month after the marriage of her daughter to Henry VII she received possession of some of the dower-palaces, among which Farnham, of 102l.  per annum, was by her son-in-law added to help her income.  The Parliamentary Act, whereby she was deprived of her dower in the preceding reign, was ordered by the judges to be burnt.  Much is said of her ill-treatment by Henry VII.  However, at the very time she is declared to be in disgrace for patronizing the impostor who personated the young earl of Warwick, she was chosen by the king, in preference to his own beloved mother, as sponsor to his dearly-prized heir, prince Arthur.  The last time the queen-dowager appeared in public was in a situation of the highest dignity.  At the close of the year 1489 she received the French ambassador in great state; the next year Henry VII presented her with an annuity of 400l. Soon after she retired to the royal apartments at Bermondsey abbey.

      Elizabeth Woodville expired the Friday before Whitsuntide, 1492.  Her will shows that she died destitute of personal property; but no wonder, for the great possessions of the house of York were chiefly in the grasp of the old avaricious duchess Cicely of York, who survived her hated daughter-in-law several years.  Edward IV had endowed his proud mother as if she were a queen-dowager; while his wife was dowered on property to which he possessed no real title.  On Whit Sunday the queen dowager's corpse was conveyed by water to Windsor, and thence privately, as she requested, through the little part, conducted unto the castle.  Her three daughters, the lady Anne, the lady Katharine, and the lady Bridget [the nun-princess] from Dartford, came by way of the Thames, with many ladies.  And her son lord Dorset, who kneeled at the head of the hearse, paid the cost of the funeral.

      In St.  George's chapel, north aisle, is the tomb of Edward IV.  On a flat stone at the foot of this monument are engraven, in old English characters, the words—

King Edward and his Queen, Elizabeth Widville.

        Excerpted from:

        Strickland, Agnes. Lives of the Queens of England.
        London: Bell and Daldy, 1867. 154-165.

Other Local Resources:

Books for further study:

Baldwin, David. Elizabeth Woodville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower.
                Sutton Publishing, 2005.

More, Sir Thomas. History of King Richard III.
                Hesperus Press, 2005.

Okerlund, Arlene. Elizabeth Wydeville: The Slandered Queen.
               Tempus Publishing, 2006.

Shakespeare, William. Richard III.
               Folger Shakespeare Library, 2004.

Weir, Alison. The Princes in the Tower.
               Ballantine Books, 1995.

Elizabeth Woodville on the Web:

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Medieval Cosmology
Prices of Items in Medieval England

Edward II
Isabella of France, Queen of England
Piers Gaveston
Thomas of Brotherton, E. of Norfolk
Edmund of Woodstock, E. of Kent
Thomas, Earl of Lancaster
Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Lancaster
Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster
Roger Mortimer, Earl of March
Hugh le Despenser the Younger
Bartholomew, Lord Burghersh, elder

Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)

Edward III
Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England
Edward, Black Prince of Wales
John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall
The Battle of Crécy, 1346
The Siege of Calais, 1346-7
The Battle of Poitiers, 1356
Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster
Edmund of Langley, Duke of York
Thomas of Woodstock, Gloucester
Richard of York, E. of Cambridge
Richard Fitzalan, 3. Earl of Arundel
Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March
The Good Parliament, 1376
Richard II
The Peasants' Revolt, 1381
Lords Appellant, 1388
Richard Fitzalan, 4. Earl of Arundel
Archbishop Thomas Arundel
Thomas de Beauchamp, E. Warwick
Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford
Ralph Neville, E. of Westmorland
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk
Edmund Mortimer, 3. Earl of March
Roger Mortimer, 4. Earl of March
John Holland, Duke of Exeter
Michael de la Pole, E. Suffolk
Hugh de Stafford, 2. E. Stafford
Henry IV
Edward, Duke of York
Edmund Mortimer, 5. Earl of March
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland
Sir Henry Percy, "Harry Hotspur"
Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester
Owen Glendower
The Battle of Shrewsbury, 1403
Archbishop Richard Scrope
Thomas Mowbray, 3. E. Nottingham
John Mowbray, 2. Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Fitzalan, 5. Earl of Arundel
Henry V
Thomas, Duke of Clarence
John, Duke of Bedford
Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury
Richard, Earl of Cambridge
Henry, Baron Scrope of Masham
William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk
Thomas Montacute, E. Salisbury
Richard Beauchamp, E. of Warwick
Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick
Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter
Cardinal Henry Beaufort
John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset
Sir John Fastolf
John Holland, 2. Duke of Exeter
Archbishop John Stafford
Archbishop John Kemp
Catherine of Valois
Owen Tudor
John Fitzalan, 7. Earl of Arundel
John, Lord Tiptoft

Charles VII, King of France
Joan of Arc
Louis XI, King of France
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
The Battle of Agincourt, 1415
The Battle of Castillon, 1453

The Wars of the Roses 1455-1485
Causes of the Wars of the Roses
The House of Lancaster
The House of York
The House of Beaufort
The House of Neville

The First Battle of St. Albans, 1455
The Battle of Blore Heath, 1459
The Rout of Ludford, 1459
The Battle of Northampton, 1460
The Battle of Wakefield, 1460
The Battle of Mortimer's Cross, 1461
The 2nd Battle of St. Albans, 1461
The Battle of Towton, 1461
The Battle of Hedgeley Moor, 1464
The Battle of Hexham, 1464
The Battle of Edgecote, 1469
The Battle of Losecoat Field, 1470
The Battle of Barnet, 1471
The Battle of Tewkesbury, 1471
The Treaty of Pecquigny, 1475
The Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485
The Battle of Stoke Field, 1487

Henry VI
Margaret of Anjou
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York
Edward IV
Elizabeth Woodville
Richard Woodville, 1. Earl Rivers
Anthony Woodville, 2. Earl Rivers
Jane Shore
Edward V
Richard III
George, Duke of Clarence

Ralph Neville, 2. Earl of Westmorland
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury
Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick
Edward Neville, Baron Bergavenny
William Neville, Lord Fauconberg
Robert Neville, Bishop of Salisbury
John Neville, Marquis of Montagu
George Neville, Archbishop of York
John Beaufort, 1. Duke Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 2. Duke Somerset
Henry Beaufort, 3. Duke of Somerset
Edmund Beaufort, 4. Duke Somerset
Margaret Beaufort
Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond
Jasper Tudor, Earl of Pembroke
Humphrey Stafford, D. Buckingham
Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham
Humphrey Stafford, E. of Devon
Thomas, Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby
Sir William Stanley
Archbishop Thomas Bourchier
Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex
John Mowbray, 3. Duke of Norfolk
John Mowbray, 4. Duke of Norfolk
John Howard, Duke of Norfolk
Henry Percy, 2. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 3. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 4. E. Northumberland
William, Lord Hastings
Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter
William Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford
Thomas de Clifford, 8. Baron Clifford
John de Clifford, 9. Baron Clifford
John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester
Thomas Grey, 1. Marquis Dorset
Sir Andrew Trollop
Archbishop John Morton
Edward Plantagenet, E. of Warwick
John Talbot, 2. E. Shrewsbury
John Talbot, 3. E. Shrewsbury
John de la Pole, 2. Duke of Suffolk
John de la Pole, E. of Lincoln
Edmund de la Pole, E. of Suffolk
Richard de la Pole
John Sutton, Baron Dudley
James Butler, 5. Earl of Ormonde
Sir James Tyrell
Edmund Grey, first Earl of Kent
George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent
John, 5th Baron Scrope of Bolton
James Touchet, 7th Baron Audley
Walter Blount, Lord Mountjoy
Robert Hungerford, Lord Moleyns
Thomas, Lord Scales
John, Lord Lovel and Holand
Francis Lovell, Viscount Lovell
Sir Richard Ratcliffe
William Catesby
Ralph, 4th Lord Cromwell
Jack Cade's Rebellion, 1450

Tudor Period

King Henry VII
Queen Elizabeth of York
Arthur, Prince of Wales
Lambert Simnel
Perkin Warbeck
The Battle of Blackheath, 1497

King Ferdinand II of Aragon
Queen Isabella of Castile
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

King Henry VIII
Queen Catherine of Aragon
Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Jane Seymour
Queen Anne of Cleves
Queen Catherine Howard
Queen Katherine Parr

King Edward VI
Queen Mary I
Queen Elizabeth I
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland
James IV, King of Scotland
The Battle of Flodden Field, 1513
James V, King of Scotland
Mary of Guise, Queen of Scotland

Mary Tudor, Queen of France
Louis XII, King of France
Francis I, King of France
The Battle of the Spurs, 1513
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Eustace Chapuys, Imperial Ambassador
The Siege of Boulogne, 1544

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
Thomas, Lord Audley
Thomas Wriothesley, E. Southampton
Sir Richard Rich

Edward Stafford, D. of Buckingham
Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire
George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford
John Russell, Earl of Bedford
Thomas Grey, 2. Marquis of Dorset
Henry Grey, D. of Suffolk
Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester
George Talbot, 4. E. Shrewsbury
Francis Talbot, 5. E. Shrewsbury
Henry Algernon Percy,
     5th Earl of Northumberland
Henry Algernon Percy,
     6th Earl of Northumberland
Ralph Neville, 4. E. Westmorland
Henry Neville, 5. E. Westmorland
William Paulet, Marquis of Winchester
Sir Francis Bryan
Sir Nicholas Carew
John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford
Thomas Seymour, Lord Admiral
Edward Seymour, Protector Somerset
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
Henry Pole, Lord Montague
Sir Geoffrey Pole
Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland
Henry Manners, Earl of Rutland
Henry Bourchier, 2. Earl of Essex
Robert Radcliffe, 1. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 2. Earl of Sussex
George Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon
Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter
George Neville, Baron Bergavenny
Sir Edward Neville
William, Lord Paget
William Sandys, Baron Sandys
William Fitzwilliam, E. Southampton
Sir Anthony Browne
Sir Thomas Wriothesley
Sir William Kingston
George Brooke, Lord Cobham
Sir Richard Southwell
Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre
Sir Francis Weston
Henry Norris
Lady Jane Grey
Sir Thomas Arundel
Sir Richard Sackville
Sir William Petre
Sir John Cheke
Walter Haddon, L.L.D
Sir Peter Carew
Sir John Mason
Nicholas Wotton
John Taylor
Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Younger

Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
Cardinal Reginald Pole
Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester
Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London
Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London
John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester
John Aylmer, Bishop of London
Thomas Linacre
William Grocyn
Archbishop William Warham
Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham
Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester
Edward Fox, Bishop of Hereford

Pope Julius II
Pope Leo X
Pope Clement VII
Pope Paul III
Pope Pius V

Pico della Mirandola
Desiderius Erasmus
Martin Bucer
Richard Pace
Christopher Saint-German
Thomas Tallis
Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent
Hans Holbein, the Younger
The Sweating Sickness

Dissolution of the Monasteries
Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536
Robert Aske
Anne Askew
Lord Thomas Darcy
Sir Robert Constable

Oath of Supremacy
The Act of Supremacy, 1534
The First Act of Succession, 1534
The Third Act of Succession, 1544
The Ten Articles, 1536
The Six Articles, 1539
The Second Statute of Repeal, 1555
The Act of Supremacy, 1559
Articles Touching Preachers, 1583

Queen Elizabeth I
William Cecil, Lord Burghley
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Sir Francis Walsingham
Sir Nicholas Bacon
Sir Thomas Bromley

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick
Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon
Sir Thomas Egerton, Viscount Brackley
Sir Francis Knollys
Katherine "Kat" Ashley
Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester
George Talbot, 6. E. of Shrewsbury
Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury
Gilbert Talbot, 7. E. of Shrewsbury
Sir Henry Sidney
Sir Robert Sidney
Archbishop Matthew Parker
Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich
Sir Christopher Hatton
Edward Courtenay, E. Devonshire
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Thomas Radcliffe, 3. Earl of Sussex
Henry Radcliffe, 4. Earl of Sussex
Robert Radcliffe, 5. Earl of Sussex
William Parr, Marquis of Northampton
Henry Wriothesley, 2. Southampton
Henry Wriothesley, 3. Southampton
Charles Neville, 6. E. Westmorland
Thomas Percy, 7. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 8. E. Northumberland
Henry Percy, 9. E. Nothumberland
William Herbert, 1. Earl of Pembroke
Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard, 1. Earl of Northampton
Thomas Howard, 1. Earl of Suffolk
Henry Hastings, 3. E. of Huntingdon
Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland
Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland
Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland
Henry FitzAlan, 12. Earl of Arundel
Thomas, Earl Arundell of Wardour
Edward Somerset, E. of Worcester
William Davison
Sir Walter Mildmay
Sir Ralph Sadler
Sir Amyas Paulet
Gilbert Gifford
Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague
François, Duke of Alençon & Anjou

Mary, Queen of Scots
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell
Anthony Babington and the Babington Plot
John Knox

Philip II of Spain
The Spanish Armada, 1588
Sir Francis Drake
Sir John Hawkins

William Camden
Archbishop Whitgift
Martin Marprelate Controversy
John Penry (Martin Marprelate)
Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
John Dee, Alchemist

Philip Henslowe
Edward Alleyn
The Blackfriars Theatre
The Fortune Theatre
The Rose Theatre
The Swan Theatre
Children's Companies
The Admiral's Men
The Lord Chamberlain's Men
Citizen Comedy
The Isle of Dogs, 1597

Common Law
Court of Common Pleas
Court of King's Bench
Court of Star Chamber
Council of the North
Fleet Prison
First Fruits & Tenths
Livery and Maintenance
Oyer and terminer

The Stuarts

King James I of England
Anne of Denmark
Henry, Prince of Wales
The Gunpowder Plot, 1605
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham
Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset
Arabella Stuart, Lady Lennox

William Alabaster
Bishop Hall
Bishop Thomas Morton
Archbishop William Laud
John Selden
Lucy Harington, Countess of Bedford
Henry Lawes

King Charles I
Queen Henrietta Maria

Long Parliament
Rump Parliament
Kentish Petition, 1642

Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford
John Digby, Earl of Bristol
George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol
Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax
Robert Devereux, 3rd E. of Essex
Robert Sidney, 2. E. of Leicester
Algernon Percy, E. of Northumberland
Henry Montagu, Earl of Manchester
Edward Montagu, 2. Earl of Manchester

The Restoration

King Charles II
King James II
Test Acts

Greenwich Palace
Hatfield House
Richmond Palace
Windsor Palace
Woodstock Manor

The Cinque Ports
Mermaid Tavern
Malmsey Wine
Great Fire of London, 1666
Merchant Taylors' School
Westminster School
The Sanctuary at Westminster


Chart of the English Succession from William I through Henry VII

Medieval English Drama

London c1480, MS Royal 16
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
Map of England from Saxton's Descriptio Angliae, 1579
London in late 16th century
Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
Detail of Norden's Map of the Bankside, 1593
Bull and Bear Baiting Rings from the Agas Map (1569-1590, pub. 1631)
Sketch of the Swan Theatre, c. 1596
Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's View of London, 1616
Larger Visscher's View in Sections
c. 1690. View of London Churches, after the Great Fire
The Yard of the Tabard Inn from Thornbury, Old and New London

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