Constance of York
|Constance of York|
|Baroness le Despencer
Countess of Gloucester
Lady of the Garter
|Spouse||Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester|
|Richard le Despenser, 4th Baron Burghersh
Elizabeth le Despenser
Isabel le Despenser, Countess of Worcester and Warwick
|House||House of York (by birth)
Le Despenser (by marriage)
|Father||Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York|
|Mother||Isabella of Castile|
Conisburgh Castle, Yorkshire, England
|Died||28 November 1416 (aged 41–42)
Reading Abbey, Berkshire, England
Constance of York, Countess of Gloucester (c. 1374 – 28 November 1416) was the only daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York and his wife Isabella of Castile, daughter of King Peter of Castile and his favourite mistress, Maria de Padilla.
Constance was born about 1374, the only daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, and his wife, Isabella of Castile, the youngest daughter of King Peter of Castile and his favourite mistress, Maria de Padilla.
Plots against Henry IV
Shortly before 7 November 1379, Constance married Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester. Despenser was created Earl of Gloucester by King Richard II on 29 September 1397, but after Richard's deposition and the accession of King Henry IV some of his lands were seized and he was degraded from the earldom. In consequence in late December 1399 he and others joined in a plot, known as the Epiphany Rising, to assassinate King Henry and restore King Richard to the throne. According to a French chronicle the plot was betrayed to the King by Constance's brother, Edward; however contemporary English chronicles make no mention of Edward's alleged role. Gloucester escaped immediate capture, but was eventually turned in to the authorities at Bristol, where he was beheaded on 16 January 1400.
After her husband's death, Constance was granted a life interest in the greater part of his lands and custody of her son.
In February 1405, during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr, Constance herself instigated a plot to abduct the young Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, and his brother, Roger Mortimer, from Windsor Castle, apparently intending to deliver the young Earl, who had the best claim to the throne of any of Henry IV's rivals, to his uncle Sir Edmund Mortimer, who was married to Glyndwr's daughter. The young Edmund Mortimer and his brother were recaptured before entering Wales. Constance implicated her elder brother, Edward, in the plot, as a result of which he was imprisoned for 17 weeks at Pevensey Castle, but was eventually restored to Henry IV's favour.
Marriage and issue
Shortly before 7 November 1379 Constance married Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester (22 September 1373 – 16 January 1400), third but first surviving son of Edward le Despenser and Elizabeth Burghersh, by whom she had a son and two daughters:
- Richard le Despenser, 4th Baron Burghersh (1396 – 1414). He married Lady Eleanor Neville (c. 1397 - 1472), daughter of Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland (d.1425) and Joan Beaufort (d.1440), daughter of John of Gaunt by Katherine Swynford. He died young without issue.
- Elizabeth (died young c. 1398)
- Isabel, born after her father's execution. She married, firstly, Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Worcester (d. 1421/2). A daughter, Elizabeth, Lady Abergavenny (b.1415) was the sole product of this union. Following Worcester's death, she married Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick. They were parents to Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick and Anne de Beauchamp, 16th Countess of Warwick.
After her husband's death, Constance was either betrothed to or lived as the mistress of Edmund Holland, 4th Earl of Kent (1382-1408), by whom she had an illegitimate daughter, Eleanor Holland (died c. 1459), who married James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley.
Shakespeare and Constance of York
|Ancestors of Constance of York|
- Cokayne, George Edward (1959). The Complete Peerage, edited by Geoffrey H. White. XII(2). London: St. Catherine Press.
- Harriss, G.L. (2004). Richard, earl of Cambridge (1385–1415). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 4 October 2012. (subscription required)
- Horrox, Rosemary (2004). Edward, second duke of York (c.1373–1415). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Pugh, T.B. (1988). Henry V and the Southampton Plot of 1415. Alan Sutton. ISBN 0-86299-541-8
- Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966373
- Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham II (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1449966381
- Tait, James (1896). 'Plantagenet', Edward 45. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1890. pp. 401–4. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- Tuck, Anthony (2004). Edmund , first duke of York (1341–1402). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Works related to Edward of Langley, 2nd Duke of York at Wikisource: Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 45
- Liss, Peggy K., Isabel the Queen, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.
- Reston, James, Dogs of God, New York: Doubleday, 2005.