Family Friday, Fountain of Youth, Genaolgy, Happiness Project

Elizabeth Woodville Consort England (17th Great Grandmother)

My 17th great grandmother is the subject of many books and movies. One of the latest that I have seen is “The White Queen”.  When she was born her father was only a knight, not of noble blood. It was expected that she would marry into a family with the means of a sheriff or someone in royal service. She was born about 1437, and the first born.  Her father, Sir Richard Woodville followed his father in the field of service of the Duke of Bedford. This is how he met Jacquetta of Luxembourg which was the daughter of Peter of Luxembourg, Count of Saint Pol and Margaret de Baux, she had been married to Duke of Bedford in 1433, when she was 17 years old. The Duke was much older than Jacquette, his second wife, and he was very sick. When the Duke died he left Jacquette childless and VERY wealthy. She was required to seek permission from King Henry VI before she could remarry, but in March of 1437 it was revealed that she married in secret to Sir Richard Woodville, a man that was far below her station, since she was wealthy and the aunt of a king. She was fined 1000 sterling pounds.


Jacquette retained her rank as Duchess of Bedford, and her dower of 7,000 to 8,000 Sterling Pounds a year. Sir Richard was honored with military ranks, mainly because Jacquette had so much influence in the royal family. When Henry VI married Margret of Anjou, whose uncle was Jacquettas brother in law. The Woodvilles were the chosen family to escort the bride to England, which benefited them further at court. Sir Richard was raised to Baron of Rivers, and their children would grow up with privilege and wealth.

Elizabeth would marry Sir John Grey of Groby, the heir to the Barony Ferrers of Groby. In 1461 he was killed at the Battle of St. Albans. Ironically her first husband fought for the Lancastrian side, and her future husband was a Yorkist claim to the throne. She had two sons from her first marriage Thomas and Richard.

Elizabeth was called “the most beautiful woman in the Island of Britain”

(To be continued next week)

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Cecily Neville Duchess Of York (18th Great Grandmother)


Born May 31st, 1415, we know so little about the personal lives of the women. I did find some interesting information about her will… (


Notes: called "the Rose of Raby" (because she was born at Raby Castle in Durham, England) and "Proud Cis" (because of her pride and a temper that went with it). She was known for her piety as well as her pride. Cecily Neville's final will - made on 31 May 1495 and proved on 27 Aug 1495 at Lambeth says: "...Also I give and bequeath to the kings noble grace all such money as is owing to me of the customs, and two cups of gold. Also I give and bequeath to the queen a cross crosslet of diamonds, a salter with clasps of silver and gilt enamelled, covered with green clothe of gold, and a pyx with the flesh of St Christopher. Also I bequeath to my lady the king's mother a portuos with clasps of gold covered with black cloth of gold. Also I give to my lord prince a bed of arras of the wheel of fortune and tester of the same, a counterpoint of arras and a tappet of arras with the Pope. Also I give to my lord Henry, duke of York three tappets of arras, one of them of the life of St John Baptist another of Mary Magdalene and the third of the passion of our Lord and Saint George...

Cecily then bequeaths gifts to Fotheringhay College, the college at Stoke Clare, the nunnery at Syon and her granddaughters (the children of Edward IV) and makes a range of bequests to the de la Pole family (John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, having married her daughter Elizabeth):

...Also I give to my daughter of Suffolk the chair with the covering, all the cushions, horses and harness belonging to the same and all my palfreys. Also I give to my son of Suffolk a clothe of estate and 3 cushions of purple damask clothe of gold.
Also I give to my son Humphrey two alter clothes of blue damask embroidered and a vestment of crimson satin for Jesus' masse. Also I give to my son William a traves of white sarcenet, two beds of down and two bolsters of the same. Also I give to my daughter Anne, prioress of Sion, a book of Bonaventure and Hilton in the same in English and a book of the Revelations of Saint Bridget


Cecily was the 18th child of Ralph Neville and Joan Beaufort. Cecily was betrothed to Richard the Duke of York before her tenth birthday, the actual ceremony did not take place until October of 1429. She would give birth to twelve children, but only seven would survive into adulthood. Anne, Edward,  Edmond,Elizabeth, Margret, George, and Richard were the ones that survived.

Cecily traveled with her husband, first to France where he was a governor, and then off to Ireland, where he was the lieutenant. In 1460 he was executed, as the conflict between the houses of Lancaster and York raged. Edward, being the eldest son was then King Edward IV. It is believed that Cecily disapproved of the marriage between Edward and Elizabeth Woodville. Since Elizabeth was of low birth. During Edwards reign in 1470, Cecily’s youngest son, George, would start a rumor that Edward was illegitimate. The story would not go away, and was repurposed by Richard (her grandson). Richard would go on to crown himself Richard the III after the death of Edward.

Even though there were many changes during the conflict between the houses of Lancaster and York. Cecily was not hurt financially by the conflict because of the income from the properties she owned. She also renewed her license to export wool. She lived for 80 years.