It was a visit to St Mary’s Church, Staindrop, County Durham, that sparked my passion for photographing church monuments combining history and sculpture.
Staindrop contains the tomb of Ralph, 1st Earl Westmoreland, and his two wives: Margaret Stafford and Joan Beaufort.
What I hadn’t known before my visit is that it also contained the tomb of William Harry Vane, 1st Duke Cleveland, sculpted by Richard Westmacott; one of his finest works.
Tomb of William Harry Vane, 1st Duke Cleveland
William Harry Vane, 1746-182, a great great grandson of King Charles II. William Harry’s paternal grandfather Henry Vane, 1705-1758, married Grace Stewart, the daughter of Charles Stewart, 1st Duke Southampton, the illegitimate son of King Charles II and Barbara Villiers, 1st Duchess Cleveland, 1640-1709.
The arms of William Harry Vane being Vane: three gauntlets sinister (left) indicating either illegitimacy or attainder, and Charles, Duke of Grafton, illegitimate son of King Charles II England differenced by a baton sinister to indicate illegitimacy.
Ralph Neville, 1st Earl Westmoreland
Ralph Neville, 1st Earl Westmoreland, 1364-1425, the progenitor of the Neville family as a result of his having 22 children, 73 grandchildren, 153 great grandchildren and 211 great great grandchildren. A number only exceeded by John of Gaunt.
Ralph’s first wife Margaret Stafford, 1364-1396, was his second cousin once removed and his fourth cousin. They had eight children together.
After Margaret’s death in 1396 he married Joan Beaufort, 1379-1440, granddaughter of Edward III. She and Ralph had fourteen children together.
Given the number of descendants it is not surprising that some were Lancastrians and some Yorkist during the Wars of the Roses:
Humphrey of Brancepeth, c 1439-1469. Lancastrian. Beheaded.
Charles -1449 brother of Humphrey). Lancastrian. Beheaded.
John “Butcher” Clifford, 9th Baron Clifford, 1435-1461. Lancastrian. Killed at Battle of Dintingdale.
Roger Clifford, 1447-1485. Beheaded.
Richard “Kingmaker Neville, Earl Warwick and Salisbury, 1428-1471. Yorkist and Lancastrian. Killed Battle of Barnet.
His descendants also include King Edward IV, King Richard III, King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queens Mary and Elizabeth, and all of the English and British monarchs since James I King England.
Memorial to Sophia Poulett
Sophia being the wife of William Harry’s son Henry, 2nd Duke Cleveland.