St Andrew’s Church, Greystoke, Cumbria

I took a detour on a recent trip to Carlisle to visit St Andrew’s Church, Greystoke, Cumbria, to see the two effigies of the Greystoke Family: William, 2nd Baron Greystoke, and his grandson John, 4th Baron Greystoke. Both effigies, much damaged, have some interesting features.

William, 2nd Baron Greystoke

William died in 1359 at Brancepeth Castle. His effigy typical of the Edwardian, or Camail and Jupon Period. On his head he wears the pointed bascinet with a camail (or aventail) ie the curtain of mail suspended from the helmet and falling over the shoulders to protect the neck. The jupon under which his coat of chain mail may be seen. His sword belt is low on his jupon, horizontal. He appears to have a moustache.

His funeral was attended by Roger 5th Baron Clifford (William’s son Ralph, who had become Roger’s ward after his father’s death, married Roger’s daughter Catherine in 1377) and Henry Scrope 1st Baron Masham reflecting his status in northern England.

St Andrews Greystoke 20180331-134549

John, 4th Baron Greystoke

John, 4th Baron Greystoke died in 1426. His armour is typical of the Lancastrian or Early Plate Period; plate armour has replaced the camail and jupon.

His pauldrons (shoulder plates), are unusual in their style. His arms are fully encased in plate with a couter (or coude) protecting the elbow joint. Fine detail of the straps that held the armour in place may be seen on the underarms.

A gorget, or neck armour, has replaced the camail.

His head is, very unusually, bare as is his face, his hair cut in the style so typical of portraits of Henry V. Gardner1 states “It is a remarkable fact that before 1440 the bare-headed warrior is almost unknown, while after 1455 the helmeted knight is almost equally rare”. This may suggest the effigy was made somewhat after John’s death or, possibly, that the effigy has been incorrectly assigned.

His head rests on the decorated tournament helm.

He wears the Lancastrian SS collar. John had supported the usurpation of Richard II by Henry IV in the 1390s; staunch Lancastrians. John had married, in 1407, Elizabeth Ferrers, daughter of Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III.

Two sword belts: diagonal (bawdric) and horizontal. The jupon, beneath the waist has been replaced by a fauld; horizontal strips of metal that wrap around.

St Andrews Greystoke 20180331-134524


The Weepers, of which few are left, would have decorated the sides of the chest tomb on which John’s effigy would have lain. They are somewhat reminiscent of those of the tomb of Alice de la Pole at Ewelme, Oxfordshire although she died much later in 1475.

St Andrews Greystoke 20180331-134451

The two effigies as they are now. Note the nearer, William may have been incorrectly placed in the canopy.

St Andrews Greystoke 20180331-134614


1 Gardner. Alabaster Tombs of the Pre-Reformation Period in England

Carlisle Cathedral


Carlisle Cathedral may be the shortest cathedral as a result of its Norman Nave having been demolished in the Civil War for stone for the castle but what remains is superb in particular the memorials including a Hamo Thorneycroft and a Lucchesi.

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-112016

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-112052

Sculpture by John Adams-Acton, 1872, of Samuel Waldegrave, 57th Bishop of Carlisle.

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-113305

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-113329

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-113419

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-113442

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-113523

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-113647

Sculpture by Henry Hugh Armstead, 1885, of Francis Close, 25 years Dean of Carlisle.

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-114216

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-114439

Sculpture by Hamo Thornycroft, 1894, of Harvey Goodwin, 58th Bishop of Carlisle.

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-114507

Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-114522


Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-114618


Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-114653


Carlisle Cathedral 20180401-114722

Why Henry VII was the Lancastrian Heir

In 1483 King Edward IV died unexpectedly aged 41. His younger brother, the future King Richard III, claimed Edward’s children were illegitimate as a result of Edward’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville being bigamous as result of Edward already having been married to Elizabeth Talbot on the basis of Bishop Richard Stillington’s evidence, he, Stillington, having officiated at, and been the only witness to, the earlier marriage ceremony.

In opposition the House of Lancaster was represented by Henry Tudor, future Henry VII, although there were some 35 extant male great great grandchildren of John of Gaunt, the progenitor of the House of Lancaster having married the heiress Blanche of Lancaster, second daughter and eventual heir of Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. John of Gaunt was created Duke of Lancaster in his own right aged 22 in 1362.

Henry VII’s claim to be the most senior representative of the House of Lancaster was based on his being the closest in the male line. His descent was senior to the descendants of Philippa of Lancaster, Elizabeth of Lancaster and Catherine of Lancaster since his great grandfather John Beaufort 1st Marquess Dorset 1st Marquess Somerset took precedence over those half-sisters as result of being male. The order of precedence of John of Gaunt’s children was as follows:

John Beaufort 1st Marquess Dorset 1st Marquess Somerset
Philippa of Lancaster
Elizabeth of Lancaster
Catherine of Lancaster
Joan Beaufort

Henry VII and Henry Stafford 2nd Duke Buckingham were both great grandchildren of John Beaufort 1st Marquess Dorset 1st Marquess Somerset. Henry Tudor, however, took precedence over Henry Stafford since Henry Tudor’s grandfather John 1st Duke Somerset was the elder brother of Edmund Beaufort 2nd Duke Somerset. The Stewart brothers, including James III King Scotland, were descended from Joan Beaufort so had a lower precedence than Henry Stafford.

Charles Somerset 1st Earl Worcester was excluded as a result of his being illegitimate. Its is interesting to note that the Beaufort were all originally illegitimate. Their legitimacy was subsequently confirmed after John of Gaunt had married Katherine Roet but they were excluded from the succession. By this argument none of the Beaufort descendants should have succeeded. In that case the heir of the House of Lancaster would be John II King of Portugal. A ‘foreign’ king on the English throne was likely to be unacceptable to the general public so it appears the Beaufort bar to succession was ignored.

The following table shows the great great grandchildren alive in 1483 by order of birth date:

John of Gaunt
Philippa of Lancaster
Edward “The Philospher”
John II King Portugal
Manuel I King Portugal
Maximillian I Holy Roman Emperor
John II King Portugal
Manuel I King Portugal
Elizabeth of Lancaster
Constance Holland
Edmund Grey
George Grey 2nd Earl Kent
John Holland
Anne Holland
Ralph Neville 3rd Earl Westmoreland
Catherine of Lancaster
John Trastamara
John Prince Asturias
John Beaufort 1st Marquess Dorset 1st Marquess Somerset
John 1st Duke Somerset
Margaret Beaufort
King Henry VII
Joan Beaufort
Joan Stewart
John Douglas 2nd Earl Morton
James II King Scotland
James III King Scotland
Alexander 1st Duke Albany
David 1st Earl Moray
John 1st Earl Atholl
John 2nd Earl Atholl
James 1st Earl Buchan
Alexander 2nd Earl Buchan
James Traquair
Edmund Beaufort 2nd Duke Somerset
Henry Beaufort 3rd Duke Somerset
Charles Somerset 1st Earl Worcester (Illegitimate)
Margaret Beaufort
Henry Stafford 2nd Duke Buckingham
Joan Beaufort
Elizabeth Ferrers
Ralph Greystoke
Robert Greystoke
Richard Neville 5th Earl Salisbury
Joan Neville
Thomas Fitzalan 17th Earl Arundel
Katherine Neville
Edward Hastings 2nd Baron Hastings
Eleanor Neville
George Stanley 9th Baron Strange
Edward Stanley 1st Baron Monteagle
James Stanley Bishop Ely
George Neville 1st Baron Latimer
Henry Neville
Richard Neville 2nd Baron Latimer
Edward Neville 3rd Baron Abergavenny
George Neville 4th Baron Abergavenny
George Neville 5th Baron Abergavenny
Edward Neville
Margaret Neville
Thomas Brooke 8th Baron Cobham
Katherine Neville
John Mowbray 3rd Duke Norfolk
John Mowbray 4th Duke Norfolk
Joan Beaumont
Francis Lovell 1st Viscount Lovell
Eleanor Neville
Henry Percy 3th Earl Northumberland
Henry Percy 4th Earl Northumberland
Katherine Percy
George Grey 2nd Earl Kent
Anne Neville
Humphrey Stafford
Henry Stafford 2nd Duke Buckingham
Catherine Stafford
George Talbot 4th Earl Shrewsbury
John Stafford 1st Earl Wiltshire
Edward Stafford 2nd Earl Wiltshire

How common was Elizabeth Woodville?

Elizabeth Woodville is frequently, almost always in fact, described as a commoner. But how ‘common’ was she?

Her father Richard Woodville came from a family that had gradually improved its position over the course of several generations.

His grand-father was Sheriff of Northamptonshire three times.

His father was Chamberlain (or Steward) to the Duke of Bedford. An important role given that the Duke of Bedford was Regent to the young King Henry VI. He was also Constable of the Tower of London, Sheriff of Kent and Captain of Calais.

He, Richard, before Elizabeth his daughter married Edward IV, had fought in France for more than twelve years, been created Baron Rivers by Henry VI in 1448 and had been invested as a Knight of the Garter in 1450. He was then, through service rather than blood, a minor noble. As far as I can see he had no royal descent.

Elizabeth’s mother, on the other hand, came from European nobility. Jacquetta of Luxembourg, widow of John, Duke of Bedford, Regent (brother of King Henry V, uncle to King Henry VI), was descended from a number of English and Norman Kings:

  1. Her 2 x Great Grandfather Guy of Luxembourg, I Count Saint-Pol, I Count Ligny was 8 x Great Grandson of William I “Conqueror”
  2. Her 2 x Great Grandmother Mathilde Châtillon was 2 x Great Grand-daughter of King Henry III
  3. Her 3 x Great Grandmother Jeanne Fiennes was 5 x Great Granddaughter of Kinf Henry II
  4. Her 3 x Great Grandfather Roberto Orsini Count of Nola was 2 x Great Grandson King John I

It is also worth noting that Elizabeth’s mother was a Dowager Duchess, her grandfather Peter of Luxembourg was Count of Saint-Pol , her Great Grandfather Francesco Baux was 1st Duke Andria and her Great Great Grandfather Nicholas Orsini was Count of Nola.

Its difficult to see, therefore, why she, Elizabeth, should be described as a commoner since her royal and noble descent is clear. The definition of ‘commoner’ is ‘one of the ordinary or common people, as opposed to the aristocracy or to royalty’. Clearly that doesn’t describe Elizabeth Woodville.

Perhaps it should be read as ‘more common’ than Edward IV ie not being of the same level of royalty or nobility.

Looking at other medieval royal spouses in most cases there is a degree of parity between the King and his Queen Consorts descent:

  1. Isabella of Angoulême, second wife of King John, was Great Grand-daughter to Louis VI of France,
  2. Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III, was Great Great Grand-daughter of King Alfonso VII of Castile,
  3. Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I, was daughter of King Ferdinand III of Castile,
  4. Isabella of France, wife of Edward II, was daughter of King Philip IV of France, and
  5. Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III, was Great Great Grand-daughter of King Louis IX of France.

So perhaps Elizabeth Woodville wasn’t a commoner but was commoner, or more common, than King Edward IV.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Edward’s royal descent was based on his being a Great Great Grandson of Edward III through both his parents Richard 3rd Duke York and Cecily “Rose of Raby” Neville.

Henry V and Warwick the Kingmaker have the same mt-DNA

A surprising fact emerged from my development of Maternal Families Trees (families descended through the female line, those that share mt-DNA which is passed on only by females): Henry V King of England and Richard “Kingmaker” Neville, 16th Duke of Warwick, 16th Earl of Salisbury are both maternally descended from the same woman, Aoife (Eva) Ní Diarmait, Princess of Leinster.

Aoife (Eva) Ní Diarmait, was the daughter of the Dermot MacMurrough, the King of Leinster, who married 29 Aug 1170 Richard “Strongbow” Clare 2nd Earl Pembroke, 1st Earl Buckingham in return for Strongbow assisting Dermot to reclaim the Kingdom of Leinster having been deposed from it by the High King of Ireland Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair as a result of Dermot having abducted Derbforgaill, the wife of the King of Breifne, Tiernan O’Rourke.

Aoife and Richard had two children, a boy and a girl, Gilbert and Isabel. Gilbert died aged nine. Isabel married the great William Marshall, 1st Earl Pembroke, adding her inheritance to his prestige.

William and Isabel’s had ten children of which five were female of which four had issue:

1 Maud Marshall married three times:

William Plantagenet 5th Earl Surrey; two children

Hugh Bigod 3rd Earl Norfolk; four children

Walter Dunstanville; no issue.

Only one of Maud’s two daughters had issue; Isabel Bigod who married firstly Gilbert Lacy with whom she had three children, and secondly John Fitzpeter with whom she had six children including five females. Isabel Bigod’s maternal descendants include:

Hugh “The Younger” Despenser, favourite of Edward II, who was hung, drawn and quartered on the orders of Isabella Queen Consort of England, and

Philippa of Clarence, daughter of Lionel of Antwerp

Henry V King of England

Richard “Kingmaker” Neville, 16th Duke of Warwick, 16th Earl of Salisbury

John “Butcher of England” Tiptoft, 1st Earl Worcester, Edward IV’s ‘henchman. who responsible for the trial and execution, in some cases brutally, of his Lancastrian enemies.

2 Isabel Marshall married twice:

Richard Plantagenet 1st Earl Cornwall; four children

Gilbert Clare 4th Earl Hertford, 5th Earl Gloucester; four children.

3 Sybil Marshall married once to William Ferrers 5th Earl Derby with who she had seven children.

4 Eva Marshall married once to William Braose with whom she had four children.


Aoife’s maternal family tree has 16 generations and includes 350 people including Philippa Lancaster Queen Consort Denmark, Joan Beaufort Queen Consort Scotland, Henry II King France, James II King Scotland.


The 178 Great Great Grandchildren of Edward III

Looking at the number of great great grand children of some key people in history …

Charles “Charlemagne aka Great” has 23 great great grand children.

William “Conqueror” has 52.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

The illustrious Eleanor of Aquitaine has some 133 great great grand children. Her descendants include:

  • Richard “Lionheart” I King England,
  • Eleanor Plantagenet Queen Castile,
  • Berengaria I Queen Castile,
  • Ferdinand III King Castile, III King Leon,
  • Sancho “Pious” II King Portugal,
  • Alfonso III King Portugal,
  • Blanche Ivrea Queen Consort France,
  • Louis IX King France,
  • Charles King Sicily, Henry I King Castile,
  • Joan Plantagenet Queen Consort Sicily,
  • John “Lackland” I King England,
  • Margaret Dunkeld Queen Consort Norway.

Edward III and his Descendants

Edward III King England has more, 178 great great grand children. His descendants, as we know, from Who Do You Think You Are, include Danny Dyer, as well as most people in Europe, if not now, then in a generation or two.

His son, John of Gaunt 1st Duke of Lancaster, is even more prodigious, having 201 great great grand children; the most I’ve found so far. His descendants include:

  • Edward “The Philospher” I King Portugal,
  • John II King Portugal,
  • Manuel I King Portugal,
  • John II King Castile,
  • Joanna Queen Castile,
  • Catherine of Aragon Trastámara of Aragon Queen Consort England,
  • Henry VII King England and Ireland,
  • James II King Scotland,
  • Edward IV King England,
  • Richard III King England.

As the son of Edward III King England all of John of Gaunt’s descendants are also Edward’s.

Ralph Neville, 1st Earl Westmoreland

Ralph Neville 1st Earl Westmoreland is a close second having 181 great great grand-children mainly as a result of his having twenty two children with his two wives: Margaret Stafford and Joan Beaufort. His descendants include:

  • Edward IV King England,
  • Margaret Tudor Queen Consort Scotland,
  • Henry VIII King England and Ireland,
  • Mary Tudor Queen Consort France, Richard III King England.

Later Kings and Queens of England

The later Kings and Queens of England are less prodigious:

Henry VII King Engand has 28 great great grand children.

James VI of Scotland and I of England has a meagre 10 despite having 30 great grand children.

George II King England has 22 and Queen Victoria has 65 (despite having 87 great grand-children; I’ll check).


So in terms of the most great great grand children John of Gaunt 1st Duke of Lancaster is the clear ‘winner’ with Ralph Neville 1st Earl Westmoreland and Ralph Neville 1st Earl Westmoreland coming a close second and third.

Interesting to note John of Gaunt was the son of Edward III and Ralph’s second wife Joan Beaufort the daughter of John of Gaunt. A case of good genes perhaps?

St Martin’s Church, Stamford

St Martin’s Church, Stamford, one five remaining churches of the original fourteen. It being south of the River Welland, closest to the Burghley estate, contains a number of monuments to the Cecil family, most notably William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, chief advisor to Elizabeth I during most of her reign.

Cecil Family Tree @

William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley

A magnificent monument, exceptionally carved.

Tomb of William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley (1520-1598)
Tomb of William Cecil, 1st Lord Burghley (1520-1598)

Knight of the Garter robes and badge on the left shoulder.

Detail of the Knight of the Garter Badge
Knight of the Garter Badge

Garter below the left knee.

Detail of William Cecil's Garter below the left knee

Detail of the lion on which the Baron’s feet rest.

Detail of Lion on which William Cecil's  feet rest

Detail showing the white (curiously black now probably as a result of having lost its paint) Staff of Office denoting William Cecil’s role as Lord High Treasurer. The well known picture of William Cecil in the National Portrait Gallery (one of forty-five) shows him with his Staff of Office.

Detail of William Cecil's Staff of Office of Lord Treasurer

Detail of the finely carved sabatons.

Detail of sabatons (feet armour)

Detail of the armour in particular the couter that protects the elbow joint and its hinge by which it is fixed.

Note also the ermine lining of the Knight of the Garter cloak.

Detail of William Cecil's couter

Monument to Richard Cecil and his wife Jane Heckington

William Cecil’s parents as well to three daughters who form the weepers to the monument. Richard Cecil was a prominent courtier to Henry VIII; his wealth increased as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries.

Groom of the Robes to Henry VIII and Edward VI.

Buried in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster.

St Martins Stamford 20180310-103145-Edit

Monument to Brownlow Cecil, 2nd Marquis Exeter

Brownlow Cecil the son of Henry Cecil, 1st Marquess Exeter, whose sixteen year tenure as MP for Stamford, a family controlled seat, commenced aged 20. He, apparently, made little contribution to the House of Commons, although it resulted, inexplicably, in a Marquessate from George III.

His first wife, Emma Vernon, eloped with her lover, the new curate at Hanbury. Heavily in debt he then lived anonymously in Wales as a farmer marrying, aged 36, bigamously, a local farmers daughter Alice Hoggins, 16.

Inheriting aged 39 he and his family moved to Burghley House.

Brownlow, the second son inherited at his father’s death in 1804 aged eight.

Brownlow’s career somewhat busier than his father’s being Lord Chamberlain, Lord Steward, Lord Lieutenant of Rutland and Northamptonshire and Groom of the Stole somewhat emulating the career of his ancestor William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley including being appointed Knight of the Garter.

Monument to Richard Cecil and his wife Jane Heckington

Monument to John Cecil, 5th Earl Exeter

John Cecil, great great grandson of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.

A magnificent monument, if somewhat overdone, somewhat incongruous in its surroundings, in the classical style probably as a result of his European travels . A lesson, perhaps, not to follow fashion.

Son of John Cecil, 4th Earl of Exeter, a 5 x Great Grandson of Henry VII through his mother Elizabeth Edgerton, and Frances Manners, a 8 x Great Granddaughter of Edward III.

He married Anne, daughter of William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire.

John Cecil, 5th Earl Exeter
Continue reading “St Martin’s Church, Stamford”