St Mary’s, Staindrop, County Durham

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.

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Effigy of William Harry Vane, 1st Duke Cleveland, 1766-1842, at St Mary’s Church, Staindrop, County, Durham. Sculpted by Richard Westmacott.

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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.

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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:

John, Baron Neville, 1410-1461. Lancastrian. Killed at Battle of Towton.

Humphrey of Brancepeth, c 1439-1469. Lancastrian. Beheaded.

Charles -1449 brother of Humphrey). Lancastrian. Beheaded.

Ralph Dacre, 1st Baron Gilsland, 1412-1461. Lancastrian. Killed at Battle of Towton.

John “Butcher” Clifford, 9th Baron Clifford, 1435-1461. Lancastrian. Killed at Battle of Dintingdale.

Roger Clifford, 1447-1485. Beheaded.

Richard Neville, 5th Earl Salisbury, 1400-1460. Yorkist. Beheaded after Battle of Wakefield.

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.

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Memorial to Sophia Poulett

Sophia being the wife of William Harry’s son Henry, 2nd Duke Cleveland.

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How did Richard Neville become “Kingmaker”?

Richard Neville is known to history as “Kingmaker” as a result of his support for King Edward IV (York) and subsequent defection to King Henry IV (Lancaster) during the Wars of the Roses, and his marring his daughters into the Plantagenet family, both Lancaster and York.

Born in 1428, Richard Neville was the eldest son of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury by right of his wife Alice Montagu, 5th Countess of Salisbury, daughter and only child of Thomas Montagu, 4th Earl of Salisbury.

Richard “Kingmaker” Neville was, therefore, heir to the Earldom of Salisbury at birth. That Earldom in itself wasn’t sufficient to give him the power necessary to influence events in the way he subsequently did.

In 1434 aged 6 he was betrothed to Anne Beauchamp, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl Warwick, by his second marriage to Isabel Despencer, great grand-daughter of Edward III.

The Neville and Beauchamp families had close connections1.

Fate played Richard “Kingmaker” Neville a very generous hand when Henry Beauchamp, 14th Earl Warwick, his sister Cecily’s husband and his wife’s brother, died aged 21 in 1446.

Two years in 1448 later Henry 14th Earl of Warwick’s daughter Anne 15th Countess Warwick died, aged five (there is no report of suspicious circumstances).

Anne Beauchamp, Richard “Kingmaker” Neville’s wife, inherited the whole estate including the Earldom of Warwick and the Despencer inheritance2.

In June 1460 Richard Neville left Calais, landed at Sandwich (Kent), raised an army, took over London and captured King Henry VI at the Battle of Northampton, July 1460. He was now, literally, Kingmaker.

In 1462 (or before) Richard “Kingmaker” Neville’s mother Alice Montagu died; became 6th Earl of Salisbury.

Richard “Kingmaker” Neville owed his power to two women: his wife (Warwick) and his mother (Salisbury).

Fate had not finished with Richard Neville. His marriage produced two daughters, no sons.

Isabel married King Edward IV’s younger brother George, Duke of Clarence, who was subsequently executed for treason.

Anne married, firstly, Edward of Westminster, son of Henry VI, the Lancastrian heir, who was killed at the Battle of Tewkesbury and secondly, Richard III King England.

Of these marriages no issue survived to adulthood. Richard’s Neville’s line ended with his daughters.



1 Richard Beauchamp’s (13th Earl Warwick) only son and heir, Henry Beauchamp, 14th Earl Salisbury, married, in 1428, Richard Neville’s sister Cecily, in 1445.

1 Richard Beauchamp’s (13th Earl Warwick) daughter Elizabeth from his first marriage to Elizabeth Berkeley married George, 1st Baron Latimer, Richard “Kingmaker” Neville’s uncle (his father’ brother).

2 The inheritance was challenged by Anne’s three half-sisters who were married to John “Old Talbot” Talbot, the great knight of the Hundred Years War, Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke Somerset and George Neville, 1st Baron Latimer. The rancour following the court’s decision to award to a full sister before half-sisters was a contributing factor to the Wars of the Roses.

William Gascoigne 1465, Harewood

One of six chest tombs at All Saints Church, Harewood, formerly known as Gawthorpe Hall.

William Gascoigne and his wife Margaret Clarell.

His armour of Period IV: Wars of the Roses. Fluted plate armour with fine detail of the ribbons that held pauldrons and coudes in place. Yorkist collar of suns and roses. His bare head, with finely detailed hair, and no facial hair, rests on an unusual helm which appears to be the face of a lady, with an orle. Below the waist faulds and tasses under which mail may be seen.

She, on his right, with a widows pleated barbe (from the French for beard) drawn up to her chin. At the finely carved end of her dress two dogs, one pulling at the folds.

Both rest on a chest tomb with finely detailed weepers on each side.

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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