Philippa de Mohun

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Philippa de Mohun
Duchess of York
PhilippaMohun Died1431 WestminsterAbbey ByStothard.jpg
Effigy in Chapel of St Nicholas, Westminster Abbey, of Philippa de Mohun (d.1431), Duchess of York (d.1431). Detail from engraving of drawing by Charles Stothard (1786-1821), published in his Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, London, 1876]]
Died 17 July 1431(1431-07-17)
Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight
Burial Westminster Abbey, London
Spouse Walter Fitzwalter, 3rd Baron Fitzwalter
Sir John Golafre
Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York
Father John de Mohun, 2nd Baron Mohun
Mother Joan Burghersh
1723 engraving of monument to Philippa de Mohun (d.1431), Duchess of York, in Westminster Abbey. The wooden canopy is now missing. Published in Dart, John, Westmonasterium, or, The History and Antiquities of the Abbey Church of St Peter, Westminster, London, 1723

Philippa de Mohun (died 1431) was Duchess of York, due to her third marriage to Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (c.1373-1415), Lord of the Isle of Wight, a grandson of King Edward III (1327-1377). She succeeded her third husband as Lady of the Isle of Wight (1415-1431).


Philippa's birthdate is unknown. She was the third daughter and co-heiress of John Mohun, 2nd Baron Mohun (c.1320-1375), KG, one of the Founding Knights of the Order of the Garter, feudal baron of Dunster, of Dunster Castle, Somerset, by his wife Joan Burghersh (d.1404), daughter of Bartholomew de Burghersh, 1st Baron Burghersh (c.1304-1355).


Although her father was the last in the male line of Mohun of Dunster, as he died without male progeny, neither she nor either of her sisters inherited their paternal estates at Dunster, held by the family from before the Domesday Book of 1086, due to the reversion of which having been sold in 1374 by her mother Lady Mohun (d.1404) to Lady Elizabeth Luttrell (d.1395), wife of Sir Andrew Luttrell and a daughter of Hugh de Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon (1303-1377).[1] The Luttrell family and its later descendants via a female line from 1737 owned Dunster Castle until 1976, when it was donated to the National Trust.

Marriages & progeny[edit]

Philippa married thrice:

  • Firstly to Walter Fitzwalter, 4th Baron Fitzwalter (d. 26 September 1386); this marriage produced one son named Walter, 5th Baron Fitzwalter (d. 1407) mentioned in his mother's will.
  • Secondly to Sir John Golafre (d. 18 November 1396), the bastard son of Sir John Golafre (d.1379) of Sarsden in Oxfordshire, Bury Blunsdon in Wiltshire, Fyfield in Garford and Frilford in Berkshire, eldest son of Sir John Golafre (d.1363), MP. He was a favoured knight of the chamber of King Richard II (1377-1399) and was Constable of Wallingford Castle. He was a notable jouster. He died on 18 November 1396 and at the king's order was buried in the royal chapel in Westminster Abbey.[2]
  • Thirdly, before 7 October 1398, to Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (c.1373 – 25 October 1415), eldest son of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, by his first wife Isabella of Castile, and a grandson of King Edward III. By her third marriage Philippa became Duchess of York. Following Edward's death at the Battle of Agincourt she received a grant for life of the Lordship of the Isle of Wight, previously held by her husband, and on 10 December 1415 was styled Lady of the Isle of Wight.

Death & burial[edit]

She died 17 July 1431 at her seat of Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight and was buried in Westminster Abbey,[3] where survives her chest tomb and effigy in the Chapel of St Nicholas.[4] Also buried in Westminster Abbey were her mother Lady Mohun (d.1404), whose effigy survives in the crypt, and her second husband Sir John Golafre (d.1396), in the royal chapel, under a monumental brass now lost.

Monument in Westminster Abbey[edit]

Her monument is today situated in the north-west corner of the Chapel of St Nicholas, Westminster Abbey, with one side against the chapel's screen, but before 1600 was situated in the centre of the chapel. Her effigy,[5] atop a freestone chest tomb, wears a long cloak with widow's hood, the head resting on two cushions. The original paintwork which once covered effigy and base has almost completely worn away. The hands are missing. On the two visible sides of the base are sculpted seven heraldic shields:

  • Two of Mohun (Or, a cross engrailed sable);
  • Royal arms of England;
  • Mohun impaling Burghersh (Gules, a lion rampant double queued or), for her father;
  • FitzWalter impaling Mohun, for her first husband;
  • Golafre (Barry wavy argent and gules, on a bend sable three bezants)[6] impaling Mohun, for her second husband;,
  • Royal arms of England impaling Mohun, for her third husband.

In 1723 the monument had an elaborately carved wooden canopy above it, since removed, as is illustrated in John Dart's history of the Abbey published in that year, but a tester in the Abbey's collection may have come from this monument. The Latin inscription, of which only two words now survive, was recorded in a work on the Abbey's history published in 1822 as follows: (translated): "Philippa daughter and co-heir of John Lord Mohun of Dunster who died Anno Domini 1431". An earlier work stated the inscription to have included also the words: "wife of Edward Duke of York".[7]

Last will and testament[edit]

A translation of her last will was published in J.P.Neale & E.Brayley's "History and Antiquities of Westminster Abbey", Vol.2, 1822. In it she mentioned her son Walter, Lord Fitzwalter and bequeathed money to several charities and to Thomas Chaucer.[8] Her last will and testament was dated at Carisbrooke Castle. She ordered her body to be interred in Westminster Abbey, and directed further as follows:[9]

"At the place where she died, and at every place where her body rested in its way to Westminster, she directs that her Exequies be performed with Dirge over night, and before the removal thereof in the morning, a Mass of Requiem; each Priest assisting at the said service to receive 12... and that twenty marks, more or less, be spent and distributed on the road, in masses, alms, and other charges: that being arrived at Westminster, twenty-four poor men, clothed in long gowns, and black hoods, each bear a torch at the Dirge, and at the Mass of Requiem in the morning, each to receive 20... in money: the herse to be covered all over with black, and a very handsome herse of wax of the same proportion set on it; and on the day of the funeral, six marks and 40... to be distributed between one thousand poor men and women, a penny to each. A thousand Dirges to be sung on the first day, and the thousand Masses the next; and to each Priest 4d, as soon as possible, for her soul and all Christians ; 1 3s. 4d. to two men for their trouble in distributing money at the Dirges and Masses: to the Abbot and Prior of Westminster, each 13s. 4.... on the day of the Dirge, and on the next day 6s. 1d. and to each Monk 3s. 4d.; and to each Priest coming to the funeral for Dirge and to sing Mass, 1s. 2d. ; £20 to buy russet cloth for cloaks and hoods for one hundred poor men and women; twenty marks to two honest Priests to say Mass and St. Gregory's Trentall for her soul and all Christians a whole year; to fourscore poor men and women bedridden £13 6s. 9d ; £20 or more, at the discretion of her executors, for the expense of her funeral, and £20 to buy black cloth for her household the day of her funeral. She left money to the Monasteries of Christchurch, Canterbury, Chertsey, Barking, and Stratford, to pray for her soul; also to the Nuns of Brimham and Goryng, and the College of Fotheryngay, and to every house of the four orders of the Friars in London coming to her funeral, 20... Among legacies of plate, she remembers her son Walter, Lord Fitz-Walter, and leaves one hundred marks to Thomas Chaucer. The residue of her goods to be divided into four portions for Masses, relief of Prisoners, and Poor, and repair of Roads."


  1. ^ Maxwell Lyte, Sir Henry, A History of Dunster and of the Families of Mohun and Luttrell, Part I, London, 1909
  2. ^ See History of Parliament biography of his first cousin John Golafre (d.1442), of Fyfield, Berkshire, MP for Oxfordshire and 12 times for Berkshire [1]. See also David nash Ford's Royal Berkshire History, biography of Sir John Golafre (d.1396)[2]; see also: Victoria County History: Berkshire, Vol.4, ed. William Page and P H Ditchfield, London, 1924, pp.344-349, Parishes: Fyfield[3]
  3. ^ Cokayne 1959, p. 903; Richardson I 2011, pp. 365–8; Richardson II 2011, pp. 211–12; Horrox 2004
  4. ^ See image
  5. ^ See drawing in Stothard, Charles Alfred, Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, London, 1876 [4]
  6. ^ As visible on monument to Sir John Golafre (d.1442) in Fyfield Church, Oxfordshire [5]
  7. ^ See
  8. ^ See
  9. ^ J.P.Neale & E.Brayley's "History and Antiquities of Westminster Abbey", Vol.2, 1822, p.165 (as translated by Gough from the "Royal Wills,")[6]


  • Cokayne, George Edward (1959). The Complete Peerage, edited by Geoffrey H. White. XII(2). London: St. Catherine Press. 
  • Horrox, Rosemary (2004). Edward , second duke of York (c.1373–1415). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 18 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  • 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

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