A glimpse at Warwick’s natural daughter Margaret

Posted: August 24, 2011 in Margaret Nevill Huddleston

This is what is known about Margaret Nevill, illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Warwick:

Her place of birth was somewhere in the north of England.

She was born not after 1450.

She married Richard Huddleston on 12 June 1464 (though Pollard says 1465). I’ve found one genealogy that says she later married Lancelot Threlkeld, but I have yet to confirm this. (Other sources say it was her daughter, Margaret, who married Threlkeld.)

On her marriage, Warwick settled on her lands in Coverdale worth £6 pa.

She served her half sister at court after she became queen.

She had at least one child, a son, John.

Not a great deal to go on!

What this does is leave Margaret as a blank canvas – the perfect vehicle for carrying the story of Anne Nevill. (There is one novel, at least, that purports to tell the story of her life – Isolde Martyn’s The Maiden and the Unicorn – but as it has Margaret meeting her (first?) husband, sir Richard Huddleston, in 1470 while on a secret mission (for her father) to France, I have to admit to slight doubts about its historicity.

I’m assuming there must have been a fair amount of contact between Margaret and her father and sisters. I can’t imagine queen Anne Nevill saying, “Oh, and send for the half sister I’ve never met and offer her this highly prestigious job.”

There are a lot of blanks to fill in and I want to do it sensitively and intelligently… which may well be a first!

Margaret’s mother is not known to us. If Margaret was married at 14, then 1450 is the likely date of her birth. Warwick was 22 in 1450, and by then his marriage to Anne Beauchamp would have been well and truly ‘active’. If Margaret was around 18 in 1464, (and I have no idea how old she was) that would push her birth year back to 1446 and make Warwick around 17, which makes more sense to me. As there are no other recorded illegitimate children for Warwick, and as the Nevills tended to acknowledge their bastards, it is plausible to put Margaret’s existence down to that perennial favourite – youthful indiscretion.

Margaret’s mother is (sadly) unimportant in the great scheme of things. We’ll probably never know who she was, or what was her station in life. Given that her daughter was acknowledged by her father, one suspects she was, at the very least, ‘respectable’. Beyond that we can’t go.

Warwick probably sent money for Margaret’s upkeep and no doubt looked after her in other ways. She may have lived with or close to him from time to time. I think she must have known her half sisters, Isobel and Anne.

Her marriage to Richard Huddleston was a good one for her, and brought her husband closer to Warwick.

My main interest in Margaret focusses on her time in queen Anne Nevill’s household. If all goes to plan, that will be part of the third book. But I don’t want to just produce her, like a rabbit out of a hat, at the last minute. I need to establish her existence, and her place in the family, right from the start.

I have to sift out what’s plausible and what’s likely. If she was known to the family, and spent at least some of her time with them, in what capacity? What was her relationship with the countess of Warwick? With her sisters? Clearly, she was of some value and worth to her father – he negotiated a good marriage for her. £6 per annum, set against the Warwick wealth, was just a drop in the ocean, but it wasn’t exactly chicken feed. (I’ve tried to find a currency comparison site on the web, but the only one I can see goes no further back than 1900 – not a lot of help!)

If Margaret was born c1446 (which is what I think I’ll go with), that makes her just five years older than Isobel and ten years older than Anne. This hardly allows for the concept of ‘growing up together’. Maybe Margaret had some responsibilities in the nursery. The countess, if Robert Rous’s depiction of her is correct, would hardly have banished her husband’s daughter to the cowshed!

So, I’m going to send Margaret off to live with the Warwicks when she’s 9 or 10… and then just sit back for a while to see what happens.


Martin found a currency converter that goes way way back.

In 1460, the Coverdale rents (£6 pa) were worth £2,186.10 in 2005, which in turn, using a different site, works out to be worth £2,492.15 today.

In 1470, the rents were worth £3,003.48, which equates to £3,423.97 today.

The National Archives also gives the equivalent buying power of money. In 1460, £6 could get you:

200 days of a craftsman’s wages; or

42 stone of wool; or

16 quarters of wheat; or

15 cows; or

7 horses.

According to a rootsweb discussion Philippa linked me to (and thanks!), Warwick also gave the young couple manors at Blennerhasset and lands at Penrith.

This discussion also gives two possible names for Margaret’s mother  – Tilliol and Moresby.


Will Glover ‘s great guest post on Margaret Huddleston. I thought I had this link here already, but I didn’t!

  1. In a way, it’s nice there is so little known about her–gives you lots of room to breath! (Margaret of Anjou’s secret daughter by Warwick?)

  2. anevillfeast says:

    Thanks, Susan. You’re right, of course, gives me lots of room to manoeuvre. Your last suggestion? – interesting but, been there and done that! 😀

  3. Philippa says:

    I’ve done a bit of my own investigating about Margaret; Rosemary Horrox in Richard III A Study in Service refers to the Huddleston family as does David Hipshon in Richard III & the Death of Chivalry, there is also a discussion about her on the Philippa Gregory Readers’Group.

  4. Philippa says:

    Apologies for the double post but I’ve been trying to find the source of some further information and I’ve now located it here.


    • anevillfeast says:

      Thanks, Philippa! That gives me a little more information – gratefully received. I’ve seen something about her on the PG list, but it didn’t seem to give me any more than I have (which is little enough.) I might have missed something, though.

  5. It’s quite possible that she grew up as an attendant on her half-sisters. There was nothing dishonourable in such a posting and it would fit her right into the household.

    • anevillfeast says:

      That’s what I was thinking, Brian. Though she’s not mentioned as being in Calais with the rest of the family (so far as I’ve gleaned, anyway), it doesn’t mean she wasn’t. As I don’t know where Thomas and Maud were based while he was deputising for Warwick in the Marches, I’ve got this notion I’m toying with about her being briefly in Maud’s care (somewhere like Carlisle, perhaps) before moving south to live with her father. Margaret would have been about 11 or 12 then (by my reckoning), and this wouldn’t have been the first time she met Warwick, but a permanent move about this time would have been a big step in her life. It also gives poor Maud a chance, at least for a little while, to stretch her sadly underused motherly muscles.

  6. Gail Frazer says:

    I have this about Sir Lancelot Threlkeld which may or may not be a help:

    Before 1468 Margaret, Lady Clifford [ nee Bromflete; widow of “Butcher” Clifford since 1461] married Sir Lancelot Threlkeld of Threlkeld, Cumberland, who is said to have helped in hiding young Henry, Lord Clifford [the Shepherd Lord] from the Yorkists. They had children. She died in 1493.

    • Will Glover says:

      Following the death of Sir Richard Huddleston, Lady Margaret Neville married Sir Lancelot Threlkeld Jr., son of Lady Margaret Clifford and Sir Lancelot Threlkeld Sr. Sir Lancelot Sr. receives an honourable mention by Wordsworth in ‘Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle.’
      Margaret Neville went from being the sister-in-law of the son of the Duke of York, to the sister-in-law of the son of the man who killed the Duke of York. (Richard III and Henry Clifford, the Shepherd Lord.)
      After Margaret Neville’s death, Sir Lancelot Jr. assisted young Richard Huddleston with the estates he inherited from both parents. On young Richard’s death his father’s estate returned to the Huddlestons of Millom and his mother’s estate was conveyed to his two sisters, one of whom was Margaret Huddleston who married Lancelot Salkeld of Whitehall, Mealsgate, Cumberland, which is near Blennerhasset, Cumberland.

      • anevillfeast says:

        Thanks for this, Will. Do you have a source (or sources) for this? I’m getting rather picky, the deeper into this I get! 😀

      • Will Glover says:

        I have been searching for information on Sir Richard and Lady Margaret for a few years.
        As to sources: I have a bound copy of the Coronation of Richard III, with brief biographies; I have copies of various Visitations of the North by the College of Arms with a number of relevant entries; I have found a reference in the Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society ‘The Threlkelds of Threlkeld, Yanwath, and Crosby Ravensworth. By W. Jackson, F.S.A., Communicated at Kirkby Stephen, July 1887’; Information from litigation between ‘Lancelot Thirkyld plaintiff and John Flemyng defendant’ as to the Huddleston estates is at http://www.archive.org/stream/transactionvol9no2cumb/transactionvol9no2cumb_djvu.txt; Holy Trinity Church at Millom Castle has relevant but misleading information; The Calendar of Patent Rolls of Richard III and certain papers of Henry VIII from July 1509 are useful; and so on.
        Yes I am showing off, but yes I have sources.
        Now, where did you find the date of marriage?

  7. Gail Frazer says:

    So it looks like the “Salkeld” connection is the more likely.

    • anevillfeast says:

      Gail, thanks for this. I’d noted the name difference but forgot about it in the excitement of Martin’s currency converter. And I’ve come across a different name (not Bromflete) for Clifford’s wife – can’t remember what it is, I’ll see if I can jog my memory a bit.

    • anevillfeast says:

      Fret not, Will, about ‘showing off’! The reason I ask for sources was not that I doubt you, but that I need to back up anything I say with sources! The Transactions of Cumberland & Westmorland is something (many things?) that I’ve been trying to get my hands on for ages. So you show off to your heart’s content and I’ll sit here quivering with envy! 😀

      The dates for the marriage (12 June 1464 of 1465) come from Hicks and Pollard respectively. As I’m on holiday at the moment, without my books, I’ll have to wait till I get back to see what sources *they* got those dates from.

      I shall definitely follow that link!

      • Will Glover says:

        Hi Karen. I slipped away for holidays as well and didn’t see your reply till now.

        I am enjoying your site. I’d be happy to help by sharing some original findings with you. I can be reached at staffords@hotmail.com.


  8. sass says:

    Don’t forget the 200 pound dowry Warwick settled on her Karen, other lands as well. Do check out Millom castle and the nearby church.

    • anevillfeast says:

      Thanks, Sass. I haven’t come across a figure for her dowry (or if I have, it slipped past me). Where did you find this information, please? And yes, lands in Penrith and Blenhasset, apparently. I don’t know much more than this, such as their value. And, sadly, I’m not likely to get to Millom – at least not this week! 😀

      • Sass says:

        I have no source for the £200 dowry, Michael Hick’s told me via email that Warwick settled the £200 dowry on Margaret which apparently is higher than usual (I have no idea) and he mentioned the manor of Halle which I think is in Norfolk. I will have to find the email out. It was quite a while a go now,
        Margaret’s husband pre-deceased his Father, apparently at Bosworth. I will hunt it all out for you.

  9. anevillfeast says:

    Thanks, Will! I won’t be ready for Margaret for some time, but I will certainly be emailing you once I’ve finished my current distraction and get back to the Nevills.

    And thank you for your kind words.


  10. Will Glover says:

    Good luck at finding time to do all things.
    What I’d like to send is a turn of the 15th-16th century image of Margaret.

  11. Will Glover says:

    I enjoyed reading your post as to Nevill marriages. You can learn a lot about a person by studying their relationships.

    This is most of what I know about Margaret’s family.

    I’ll start with the Kingmaker. He was born in 1428 and was contracted in marriage to Anne Beauchamp by the age of 6 in 1434. They did not have daughter Isabel until 1451.

    I agree with you that the Kingmaker’s affair with Margaret’s mother was while he was a teen before he settled down with Anne and that Margaret was born in the 1440s. The relationship was probably not seen as being outside of marriage. The Kingmaker acknowledged Margaret as his own. Margaret was considered a Lady.

    The Kingmaker’s power base was in the northern counties. It makes sense that the Kingmaker would support Margaret’s marriage in 1464/5 to Richard Huddleston, heir to the Lordship of Millom.

    Richard Huddleston was ambitious. During the years of his marriage to Margaret he favoured the Kingmaker. Following the Kingmaker’s death in battle in 1470 Margaret’s sister Anne married Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Richard Huddleston transferred to Gloucester’s affinity. He became a Knight Banneret, a Knight of the King’s Body, Sheriff of Anglesey Island in Wales, Constable of Beaumaris Castle, and Captain of the Towns of Beaumaris and Anglesey.

    Richard and Margaret were rising stars. Margaret’s brother-in-law Gloucester was crowned King Richard III. Margaret’s sister Anne was Queen consort. Margaret’s nephew Edward was heir to the throne. Richard and Margaret attended the Coronation in 1483. Margaret received a special gift from the King.

    Richard and Margaret postponed having children till the late 1470s. Margaret then gave birth to Margaret (1479) and Richard (1481).

    These were children of privilege. They were first cousins to the Plantagenets through their Aunts Isabel and Ann. Young Richard, in particular, was also heir to the Lordship of Millom (held at his birth by his grandfather Sir John Huddleston).

    But England was still engulfed in the Wars of the Roses. Sir Richard Huddleston supported his King in war. Sir Richard was involved in battles in Scotland. In 1483 Richard III ordered the execution of the Duke of Buckingham for treason. The King probably assigned Sir Richard to detain Buckingham’s wife and family.

    By 1484/5 Sir Richard was dead. Margaret was pregnant with their third child Joan (1485).

    Richard III fell in battle shortly afterwards. His son Edward was already dead. The reign of the Yorks was ended.

    Young Richard was the fatherless heir to valuable estates and was first cousin to the Plantagenets. Tudor King Henry VII made him a royal ward.

    As a royal ward young Richard needed a male guardian. Between 1485 and 1492 his mother Margaret remarried to Sir Lancelot Threlkeld. It was an interesting marriage for a Yorkist since Threlkeld’s step-father had killed the Duke of York and Threlkeld’s half-brother had been in hiding from the Yorks since his childhood. However Threlkeld became young Richard’s guardian.

    Young Richard’s grandfather Sir John Huddleston died in 1494. Richard became entitled to the Lordship of Millom. However, he was only 13 years of age.

    Margaret passed away in 1499. Richard was 18 years old and her heir. His step-father Threlkeld continued as his guardian.

    In 1502 Young Richard reached adulthood at the age of 21 years. He received the benefit of both parents’ estates. The royal wardship was at an end. Neither the Huddlestons nor the Crown took issue with Threlkeld’s performance as guardian.

    Richard must have been seen as a prize bachelor. He had wealth and pedigree. He was promptly kidnapped by Dame Mabel Dacre, wife of Humphrey 1st Baron Dacre of the North. He was compelled to marry Mabel’s daughter Elizabeth who was 17 years his senior. Richard was dead within the year.

    Neither Mabel nor Elizabeth profited from the marriage. Mabel served 9 months imprisonment in Lancaster castle for her crime of ravishing a royal ward and died within a year of her release. Elizabeth died while tending to her imprisoned mother. Mabel’s son Thomas 2nd Baron Dacre and her son-in-law George Lord Fitzhugh paid part of her recognizance but objected to paying the balance.

    The Lordship of Millom followed the male Huddleston line and was transferred to Richard’s uncle John Huddleston. Richard’s mother’s estates were divided between his sisters Margaret and Joan.

    In death, Lady Margaret returned to be buried with her first husband Sir Richard Huddleston. Sir Lancelot Threlkeld is buried alone. I suspect that Threlkeld’s debt of honour has been paid.

    • anevillfeast says:

      Great stuff, Will! If you could find a way to resist using the term “kingmaker”, and expand on this a little, I’d love to publish it as a guest post. (I’m trying to wipe out the K word, one blog at a time. As a long-after-his-death soubriquet, it’s ok, but there’s a surprising number of writers of HF who use it almost as if it was a title.With some, I almost expect him to bellow “I am the Kingmaker!”

      Seriously, I’d be very pleased to include your information as a ‘proper’ post. 😀

      • Will Glover says:

        I’d be happy to rewrite this. And add sources. And leave out the K word.

        And answer the question “What ‘debt of honour'”?

    • anevillfeast says:

      Just on your point “I agree with you that the Kingmaker’s affair with Margaret’s mother was while he was a teen before he settled down with Anne and that Margaret was born in the 1440s. The relationship was probably not seen as being outside of marriage.” I have Anne rather bitter about the whole thing, given the Countess of Salisbury’s (apparent) practice of making her children hold out till they were 17 or 18 before consummating their marriages. With Anne 3 years older than Richard, my take on it has her quite seriously miffed with both husband and mother-in-law. She gets over it…

    • anevillfeast says:

      Will, you can email me at ragged_staff@bigpond,com

      I thought I understood the ‘debt of honour’ but clearly I didn’t. Intrigued now…

  12. tudorqueen6 says:

    Question, does anyone know of her descendants for sure? Is there documentation anywhere because I found someone claiming to be a descendant of Margaret.

    • anevillfeast says:

      Hi, tudorqueen! I’m sorry, I don’t know a thing about Margaret’s possible descendants. Perhaps if Will sees this he can shed some light on things.

    • Lorna Huddleston says:

      Go to Millom. There is an alabaster monument in old church commemorating Richard Hudleston, son of Richard Huddleston and Margaret Nevil.

  13. Steven John Broadley says:

    Looking on the Ancestry UK site there must be quite a large number. I have only been tracing the line from Joseph Porter and Ann Salkeld from whom my Cumberland ancestors I believe descended.
    It is fairly likely there are just as many from the younger sister as well.

    • anevillfeast says:

      Thanks, Steven! It’s always great to get a bit more information.

      • Isolde Martyn says:

        Have actually written a novel centred on Margaret Neville and Richard Huddleston, inspired by the anonymous woman spy, who was sent to Calais by Edward IV. It made sense that she was Isabella and Anne’s half-sister.
        The novel was published by Bantam as The Maiden and the Unicorn in the USA or The Lady and the Unicorn in Australia. It was really great to be contacted later by descendants of Margaret and Richard’s two daughters. One is your correspondent Bill Glover; the other descendant lives in Australia.
        Isolde Martyn

  14. anevillfeast says:

    Hi, Isolde! I haven’t read your book but it’s definitely on my ‘to read’ list. From what I’ve read, Margaret certainly played a huge part in the lives of her sisters and may well have been involved in Isobel and George’s reconciliation with Edward IV. (The mysterious ‘woman of the duchess of Clarence’, for example.)

  15. Barbara Chivers says:

    Hello Isolde, Margaret Neville was my 11th Great grandmother and I have only recently found this connection. Is your book available in England or as an e-book?

  16. Steven Broadley says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I have only just bought a copy of the Lady and the unicorn version of this book last night.
    The book is available on kindle and a few hard copies are available on amazon. I would be very interested to see which daughter of Margaret you are descended from.
    Best wishes Steven & Amanda.

    • Barbara Chivers says:

      Hi Steven, I think I am descended from the youngest daughter Joan, through the Huddleston family. I am 90% sure but still working on it.

  17. Hilary Ellis says:

    Hello, replying because I am descended from Margaret Neville through her daughter Margaret Huddleston, who married Lancelot Salkeld in Cumberland. Thanks for this informative post!

    • anevillfeast says:

      Did you see the much more informative guest post by Wil Glover? It’s well worth a read!

    • Steven John Broadley says:

      Hi Hilary,
      My late mother was a descendant of Margaret Neville through Anne Salkeld who married Joseph Porter who lived nearby. Wil Glover has a tree of this Porter line on Ancestry with many of the sources listed. One of the line George Porter made his will on HMS Warwick.
      Best wishes Steven & Amanda.

      • Linda Smith says:

        I have found out yesterday that Margaret Neville is my 12th great grand mother on my father’s side of the family. We traced her through my great grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Porter. I believe Will Glover is a distant cousin of mine. A few years ago he corresponded with my brother through Ancestry.com seeking answers about my great grandmother. I would love to know more about my family. I am doing a little research while I am on summer break from teaching. Does anyone have a photo of Margaret Neville?

        Thank you,
        Linda Smith

      • anevillfeast says:

        Hi Linda. I missed this comment, I’m so very sorry.

      • Hilary Ellis says:

        Thanks for your reply, Steven. I am descended from Lancelot Salkeld, (son of Lancelot and Margaret), who married Mary Vaux.

  18. E A Vickers says:

    I too am a great, granddaughter of Margaret. I am in order Neville-Huddleston-Salkeld-Porter-Jackson-Vickers(Vicars)

    I found a reference to Tilliol or Moresby as a possible source for Margaret’s mother. (search: Brad Verity, Margaret Neville)

    If we take her Nevill’s age of 17, her mother could easily be a “Castle family”, and if so, of high standing since Margaret was legitimized and gifted lands.

    Porter is also a castle family name. It probably refers to the person who kept the gate, or port, to the castle. These trusted positions were passed down through families and thus names like Porter were born.

    Here is a lineage of Salkeld that shows Margaret and has a link to the Porters


    Also this is a handy site for searching out other Lake District folk


    • Steven John Broadley says:

      The five gateways still has G1. Sir John Huddleston, Knight, d. 6 Nov 1490 marriage to his son John’s wife. G1. Sir John Huddleston, Knight, d. 6 Nov 1490 married Mary Fenwick.
      His son John married Miles Stapletons daughter.

      I checked out Margaret Moresby’s,Crackenthorp’s (de Tilliol) will she has quite a bit of land around Carlisle which she left to her son. I could not find her leaving anything to Margaret Nevill(e).Though there is still quite a bit of circumstantial evidence linking both the De Tilliols and Moresbys to the Huddlestons and Nevill(e)s.

      I am still of the thinking that Richard Huddleston who married Margaret Nevill(e) died before the battle of Bosworth. One is the forgiving way Henry Tudor treated John Huddleston,considering his son and heir was married to Richard the thirds wife Anne Nevill(e)’s half sister and was one of his bodyguards.
      Perhaps John Huddleston was one of the lords who took little part in the fighting at Bosworth.
      Though he is listed in the combatants on Richard the thirds side.

  19. Beware fictionalizing my ancestor!

  20. Steven John Broadley says:

    John Huddleston (sir) and John Huddleston (his son?) are listed as being on Richard the thirds side at Bosworth. Had Richard Huddleston eldest son of Sir John and a body guard of the king been present you would have thought he would have been mentioned.

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