Constance of York, Countess of Gloucester

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Constance of York
Baroness le Despencer
Countess of Gloucester
Bornc. 1375[1]
Conisburgh Castle, Yorkshire, England
Died28 November 1416
Reading Abbey, Berkshire, England
SpouseThomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester
IssueRichard le Despenser, 4th Baron Burghersh
Elizabeth le Despenser
Isabel le Despenser, Countess of Worcester and Warwick
HouseYork
FatherEdmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York
MotherIsabella of Castile
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Constance of York, Countess of Gloucester (c. 1375 – 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, María de Padilla.

Family[edit]

English Royalty
House of York
Arms of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York.svg
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke

Constance was born in about 1375, 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 mistress, María de Padilla.[2]

Plots against Henry IV[edit]

Constance married Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester who 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 Thomas's 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.[3] After her husband's death, Constance was granted a life interest in the greater part of his lands and custody of her son.[4]

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.[citation needed] 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. When Constance died in 1416, she was buried at the High Altar in Reading Abbey.[citation needed]

Marriage and issue[edit]

Shortly before 7 November 1379 Constance married Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester (1373–1400),[5] third but first surviving son of Edward le Despenser and Elizabeth Burghersh, by whom she had a son and two daughters:[6]

After her husband's death, Constance was either betrothed to or lived as the mistress of Edmund Holland, 4th Earl of Kent (1383–1408),[7] by whom she had an illegitimate daughter, Eleanor Holland,[8] who married James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley (died 1459).

Ancestry[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Pugh 1988, p. 78.
  2. ^ "Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York". English Monarchs. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  3. ^ Pugh 1988, pp. 12–13; Richardson II 2011, p. 77.
  4. ^ Richardson II 2011, pp. 75–8, 500–1; Pugh 1988, p. 79.
  5. ^ Pugh, T. B. "Despenser, Thomas, second Lord Despenser", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 September 2004. Accessed 2 February 2019.
  6. ^ Richardson II 2011, pp. 75–8.
  7. ^ Stansfield, M. M. N. "Holland, Edmund, seventh earl of Kent", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 September 2004. Accessed 2 February 2019.
  8. ^ Horrox, Rosemary. "Despenser, Constance, Lady Despenser", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 September 2004. Accessed 2 February 2019.

References[edit]