Isabel of Cambridge, Countess of Essex

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Isabel of Cambridge
Countess of Essex
Remains of Beeleigh Abbey, first burial place of Isabel of York
Died2 October 1484 (aged 74–75)
SpouseSir Thomas Grey
Henry Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex
IssueWilliam Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier
Sir Henry Bourchier
Humphrey Bourchier, 1st Baron Cromwell
John Bourchier
Sir Thomas Bourchier
Edward Bourchier
Fulk Bourchier
Isabel Bourchier
FatherRichard, 3rd Earl of Cambridge
MotherAnne Mortimer
English Royalty
House of York
Arms of Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge.svg
Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge

Isabel of Cambridge, Countess of Essex (1409 – 2 October 1484) was the only daughter of Richard, 3rd Earl of Cambridge and Anne Mortimer. She was the sister of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and like him a great-grandchild of Edward III of England.

Early life[edit]

Isabel of York, the only daughter of Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, and Lady Anne de Mortimer, was born about 1409.[1] Through her father, she was the granddaughter of King Edward III's fourth surviving son, Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, and his first wife, Isabella of Castile. Her mother was the daughter of Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March (grandson of Lionel of Antwerp) and Lady Alianore Holland (granddaughter of Lady Joan of Kent, Princess of Wales).

Isabel's father, Richard, Earl of Cambridge, was beheaded on 5 August 1415 for his part in the Southampton Plot against King Henry V, and although the Earl's title was forfeited, he was not attainted,[2] and Isabel's brother, Richard, then aged four, was his father's heir.[3] Moreover, within a few months of his father's death, Richard's childless uncle, Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York, was slain at the Battle of Agincourt on 25 October 1415, and Isabel's brother was eventually his uncle's heir as well.

Marriages and issue[edit]

In 1412, at three years of age, Isabel was betrothed to Sir Thomas Grey (1404 – d. before 1426),[4] son and heir of Sir Thomas Grey (c.1385–1415) of Heaton in Norham, Northumberland, and his wife, Alice Neville, the daughter of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland. The marriage took place on 18 February 1413. They had one son,[5] also called Thomas Grey (c.1423–c.1493). The elder Sir Thomas Grey was an associate of Isabel's father who also lost his life in the Southampton Plot.

She married secondly, before 25 April 1426, the marriage being later validated by papal dispensation, Henry Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex, by whom she had at least eleven children:[6]


  • Edward Bourchier (d. 30 December 1460). Killed in the Battle of Wakefield.[7]
  • Sir Thomas Bourchier (b. prior to 1448 d. 1492), who married Isabella Barre. No known children.[7]
  • Florence Bourchier (d. 1525).[7]
  • Fulk Bourchier. Considered to have died young.[7]
  • Hugh Bourchier. Considered to have died young.[7]
  • Isabella Bourchier. Considered to have died young.[7]
  • Laura Bourchier (b.1440), who married John Courtenay, 7th Earl of Devon, (killed at Tewkesbury, 1471).


Henry Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex, died on 4 April 1483. Isabel remained a widow and died on 2 October 1484.[8] A manuscript calendar records her death on VI Non Oct in 1484. Both were buried at Beeleigh Abbey near Maldon, Essex, but later reburied at Little Easton, Essex.[9]



  1. ^ Richardson IV 2011, pp. 400–404.
  2. ^ Cokayne states that he was attainted.
  3. ^ Harriss 2004.
  4. ^ Some sources assert that this Thomas Grey died not on 1426, but rather sometime before 26 July 1443. The marriage is instead said to have been annulled in 1426.
  5. ^ Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th Edition, Charles Mosley Editor-in-Chief, 1999 Page: 15, 1222
  6. ^ Richardson IV 2011, pp. 401–3.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 111.
  8. ^ Richardson IV 2011, pp. 401–3.
  9. ^ Richardson IV 2011, pp. 401–3.


  • Cokayne, George Edward (1932). The Complete Peerage, edited by H.A. Doubleday. VIII. London: St. Catherine Press. pp. 445–53.
  • Harriss, G.L. (2004). Richard , earl of Cambridge (1385–1415). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 4 October 2012. (subscription required)
  • Pugh, T.B. (1988). Henry V and the Southampton Plot of 1415. Alan Sutton. ISBN 0-86299-541-8.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 144996639X.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. IV (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1460992709.