The Feast’s first ever guest post! I’m feeling almost like a real blogger.
Will Glover has contributed many interesting comments to my initial post on Margaret Nevill, Warwick’s illegitimate daughter, and has very kindly agreed to be my first guest blogger. Thanks, Will!
Margaret Nevill (c. 1440 – 1499)
What can be written about Margaret Nevill? Was she not merely an obscure footnote in the grand volume of Warwick’s life; little more and perhaps much less than a cardboard cutout?
I first learned of Margaret from one of the Pedigrees Recorded at The Heralds’ Visitations of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland made by Richard St. George, Norroy, King of Arms in 1615, and by William Dugdale, Norroy, King of Arms in 1666. The 1615 visitation of ‘Hudleston of Millom’, found at page 44, mentioned ‘Margaret, base daughter of … Nevill, Earl of Warwick, died 14 H. VII’, who married Richard Hudleston (died in the lifetime of his father). Margaret and Richard were the parents of Richard (the indication that he also died in the lifetime of his father would not have been accurate), Margaret (who married Lancelot Salkeld of Gawbarrow) and Joane (who married Hugh Fleming). Young Margaret and Joane (or Joan) are described as the sisters and heirs of young Richard.
Clearly, Margaret Nevill had an impressive pedigree. Through Warwick she was descended from the ancient Kings of Ireland, the Conqueror, Henry I, II, and III, John Lackland, Edward I, II and III, John of Gaunt, and so on. She was the half-sister of Isabel and Anne Nevill. If only she had shared their mother then she would be almost guaranteed a representation in a Shakespearian play.
But Margaret’s mother was not Anne Beauchamp, Warwick’s only wife to whom he was contracted in marriage at the age of 6 years. As a result of Margaret’s slight genetic and social disadvantage she might have missed her opportunity for fame, wealth and historical immortality. Perhaps she was scorned by society as well.
But I don’t think so.
Warwick’s affair with Margaret’s mother probably occurred while he was a teen and before he settled down with Anne. If so, Margaret was born in the 1440s. Warwick and Anne’s first child Isabel was not born until 1451.
Warwick acknowledged Margaret as his own. From Warwick she received her surname of Nevill and various lands in Cumberland including the manors of Blennerhasset and Upmanby. Cal. Inq. p.m. HVII, vol. 2, 762, vol. 3, 66, 213. It is said that Warwick paid for her wedding to Sir Richard, which hints at some power-broking in the northern counties of England. Surely Warwick’s acknowledgment would overcome any social disadvantage.
Sir Richard and his family were certainly not put off by his wife’s status of illegitimacy. They married about in 1464/5 and at least by 1470. Sir Richard had his own impressive pedigree and prospects. The Huddleston family could be traced to five generations before the conquest, he was descended from Sir Nele Loring one of the first Knights of the Garter, and he was heir to the Lordship of Millom. His younger brother William married Warwick’s niece Isabel, daughter of Montague.
Margaret’s half-sister Anne Nevill also accepted her as family. In 1483, over a decade after Warwick’s death, Anne became Queen consort to Richard III. Margaret and Richard attended the Coronation at which Margaret is named as ‘Dame Margarete Hudleston’, ranking in precedence above most of the Queen’s honoured Ladies-in-Waiting. She received a special gift from the King. (Sutton and Hammond, The Coronation of Richard III the Extant Documents, pp 167-8 and 360, (my copy of which was a gift from dear cousin Judy).)
It appears that Margaret’s and Sir Richard’s stars were rising: sister to the Queen; aunt to Prince Edward, heir to the throne; honoured and trusted by the King.
Sir Richard was ambitious. During the years of his marriage to Margaret he favoured Warwick. Following Warwick’s death in battle in 1470 and Anne’s marriage to Richard while he was Duke of Gloucester, Sir Richard 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. (The Coronation of Richard III and Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1476-1485 at p. 369).
Margaret and Richard postponed having children till the late 1470s. Young Richard was born in 1481 (Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaelogical Society, p. 309). Young Margaret is said by some to have been born in 1479 and Joan in 1485.
These children were children of privilege. They were first cousins to the Platagenets through their Aunts Isabel and Anne. Young Richard was 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 supported his King in war. He was involved 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. (See this post from Susan Higganbotham.)
No-one was safe. Not even Sir Richard. He was dead by 1484/5 in unknown circumstances. Perhaps he died in the service of his King but he was not named as one of the fallen at Bosworth Field in 1485.
Richard III fell at Bosworth. His wife Anne and his son Edward were already dead. The reign of the Yorks was ended.
Margaret was widowed and probably pregnant with Joan. Young Richard Huddleston was the fatherless heir to valuable estates and was first cousin to the Plantagenets. Tudor King Henry VII made him a royal ward (unless he was made a royal ward by Richard III before Bosworth Field).
As a royal ward young Richard needed a male guardian. Between 1485 and 1492 his mother Margaret remarried Sir Lancelot Threlkeld (see Transactions …). It was an interesting marriage for a Yorkist since Threlkeld’s stepfather Sir John Clifford had killed the Duke of York, and Threlkeld’s half-brother Sir Henry Clifford, the Shepherd Lord, had been in hiding with the help of the Threlkelds from the vengeance of the Yorks since his childhood. However Threlkeld became young Richard’s trusted guardian.
Young Richard’s grandfather Sir John Huddleston, Sheriff of Cumberland, died in 1494. Richard became the living heir to the Lordship of Millom. However he was only 14 years of age.
Margaret passed away in 1499. The circumstances of her death are unknown. Richard was just 18 years. Threlkeld continued as guardian.
In 1502 Richard reached adulthood at the age of 21 years. He received title to both the Nevill and Huddleston estates. The royal wardship was at an end. Neither the Huddlestons nor the Crown took issue with Threlkeld’s performance as guardian. (See the Special Pardon and Release in The Transactions …)
Richard must have been seen as a prize bachelor with 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 may have been 17 years his senior. (See Mabel Parr here.)
Richard was dead within the year. The cause of his death is also unknown.
Neither Mabel nor Elizabeth profited from the marriage. Mabel served 9 months imprisonment at 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. (See Henry VIII: July 1509 Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1,:1509 – 1514.)
The Lordship of Millom followed the male Huddleston line and was transferred to Richard’s uncle John Huddleston. The Nevill estates were divided between Richard’s sisters Margaret and Joan. Margaret received Blennerhasset.
In death, Lady Margaret returned to be buried with her first husband Sir Richard Huddleston in Millom, Cumberland. Sir Lancelot Threlkeld was buried alone.
Margaret Nevill is neither a footnote nor a cardboard cutout. She was the respected daughter of Warwick, whose personal family lineage survived in part through Margaret’s daughters.
Lady Margaret’s effigy can be seen in photographs of the Huddleston Chapel of Holy Trinity Church, Millom. While the church guidebook names the image as Elizabeth Dacre, for a number of reasons I disagree with the guidebook. I believe that history has recorded the images of Lady Margaret Nevill and her Knight.
This post was written as a way of thanking Karen for her time, effort and expense in keeping the general public regularly and thoroughly informed about the Nevills.