Talk:Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury

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Reason for execution[edit]

The article reads: Eventually she was executed—on May 27 1541 in the Tower of London—by Henry VIII in continuation of his father's program of eliminating possible contenders for the throne.. Is this right? A more probable reason was because her Cardinal son would not recognise Henry's marriages.

Just an (more or less) educated guess: it might have been both. If she was still a contender for the throne, that right would have been inherited by her children. By sentencing her for treason, her children would lose the right of succession, which was probably more important than getting rid of a frail, nearly 70-year old woman who had not made any effort to ascend the throne. Henry VIII was still very cautious of other contenders because he feared the tudor dynasty might not be stable enough.
Possibly - she was his nearest living relative (other than his children). otoh Henry was upset with the Cardinal and had executed many other clergy--ClemMcGann 19:56, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
I don't think whe was his nearest relative. Unless I'm missing a closer link, Margaret Pole was Henry's mother's father's brother's daughter. His nearest relatives would have been his sister's children. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
She was one of the most senior Yorkists (House of York) as a daughter of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence. Certainly the Tudors had many Yorkists arrested and executed in fear that the Yorkist would come back to power and the Tudors would be sent back to Wales. Though when Margaret Pole was executed, the most senior Yorkist was probably Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, who was locked up in the Tower of London. - Yorkshirian (talk) 07:01, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Ah, this explains much. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:02, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

In addition, Her brother Edward had succeeded as 17th Earl of Warwick and 7th Earl of Salisbury, but, as he had a better claim to the throne than King Henry VII, he was attainted and executed on 28 November 1499 after being caught up in the Perkin Warbeck controversy. is simply dishonest. The "Warbeck controversy" was a claim to the throne by someone who didn't occupy it; supporting it was treason and cause for execution (as had been done repeatedly in the previous half-century to many noblemen - including the few not related to the Plantagenets), unless the King choose to forgive. It is true that Henry VII rarely forgave (especially potential claimants) - but this is not how to make that point. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:02, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't have time to fix this piece of polemic; massive reversion would be called for, but it would leave a mere stub. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:02, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Being an heir to the throne is not grounds for execution. Treason or some trumped up criminal charge was needed. However very often the contenders were guilty of wishing if not trying to overthrow the king.Royalcourtier (talk) 07:14, 1 October 2014 (UTC)


Shouldn't there be some sort of note on her being "Blessed Margaret Pole", on account of her being beatified? - 16:55, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure, I suggest that you ask this query at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Saints - ClemMcGann 23:39, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I can't believe that she was dragged to the block and struggled... As far as I know, during her time it was a question of honour to die bravely.

The account is debated a lot. The general consensus seems to be that the axeman had difficulty aiming and applying proper force. The 'struggle' may well have been violent movements due to pain - entirely understandable.

The story of her execution is true, and many people were appalled by the spectacle. She likely fought back because she considered the charges ridiculous and that no one had the right to execute her. 18:29, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

An observation regarding her death date: I've been to the Tower in 1996 and have a photo of a sign listing people who where executed at that spot. It says 27th May, which I especially noted because that's my birthday. Now I've been there again last weekend and was quite perplexed to find this sign giving 28th May now as the date of her execution (I have a photo of that, too). Does anyone know how this happened? Is this official enough to be changed here in wikipedia? 10:22, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

She died on the 27th; her Saint's day is the 28th; I'm not sure why - probably to distinguish her from St. Augustine of Canterbury. Some minor English bureaucrat was probably confused. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:15, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

confusion in second paragraph of "Life" section[edit]

in the second paragraph of the "life" section, it reads that Margaret returned to the court after the fall of Anne (which was in 1536) but then mentions Reginald Pole's book re: Henry's policies in 1530; should this be presented a bit more clearly? someone who does not know the timeline might be confused by this. (talk) 20:51, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Titles and Styles[edit]

Was Margaret ever known by the style HRH, as indicated in the statistics box? I've never heard that before. Under the circumstances, it seems strange that she would have been given a royal style. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:42, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Absolutely not. I don't believe anyone had a style of "royal highness" in the 15th or 16th centuries. Henry VIII himself was only "Highness" at the beginning of his reign. john k (talk) 02:47, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Neutrality and accuracy banners[edit]

Are the banners at the top of the article about disputes of neutrality and factual accuracy still needed?— Rod talk 18:07, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

I also agree; this text is (still) special pleading. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:01, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

I would say so, certainly the pov tag. I've gone through the article and added (bracketed out) pov where I think it makes the statements that most show a lack of neutrality. The main source for this article is the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, which seems to be a biased account, as Margaret was considered a Catholic martyr. I think it needs quite a rewrite by someone who really knows their stuff on her; I'll contribute but don't feel I know enough on her to deal with it fully. Boleyn (talk) 10:30, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

These seem excessive, though some of the CE language seems to survive. Does no one have access to the ODNB? I see more possible inaccuracy than POV; whichever way you look at it, Henry's actions were not pretty. I'm not aware she is regarded as a Catholic martyr in any very active sense. Johnbod (talk) 12:20, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I let my ONDB access lapse for a while, as an economy over the holidays, since I'll shortly be pretty busy with holiday stuff and less time for Wikipedia. But, besides the usual number of scholarly journal articles (see Google scholar search) there is also a recent biography from the University of Wales Press - Here, plus this, although I've never heard of Pentland Press. Other sources would include the number of biographies of Reginald and also those of Mary, which will probably have other views of Margaret. Biographies of Henry should be consulted also, for other views on her. Whether the tags are supported is another matter - but certainly basing this article mainly on the CE is a bad idea. At the very least it should be balanced by the old DNB entry which I'm sure she has. My personal opinion is that anything from the CE is likely slightly more biased than things from the old DNB, but neither are what you can call "neutral" in the terms we know them, especially on the bigger name and more controversial subjects. Ealdgyth - Talk 14:49, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
And the New Catholic Encyclopedia has much less of an axe to grind. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:58, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

For reasons explained in the new section, her number as Countess of Salisbury is disputed. Since she is also the only Countess of Salisbury (in her own right, as distinct from being an Earl's wife, like some of her Montagu ancestresses), calling her "8th countess" is also likely to confuse the lay reader, without being useful for disambiguation. I have therefore ventured to remove the number as unhelpful. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:32, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

You did the right thing. None of the peerage books give an ordinal for her.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:46, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for all the great work on this article over the last week or so. Has it now reached a point where the banners at the top of the article about disputes of neutrality and factual accuracy could now be removed?— Rod talk 21:17, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

No, certainly not. Half of this text (and the most tearjerking part) is exactly what it was when the conversation started; it even still has the (commented out) pov-tags, with which most of us, I gather, agree whole-heartedly. When those are gone, we can consider the matter. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:30, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

One of two suo jure peeresses in 16th century England[edit]

This is incorrect as there were at least four peeresses in their own right in 16th century England. In addition to Margaret Pole and Anne Boleyn, there were Cecily Bonville, 7th Baroness Harington and Anne Bourchier, 7th Baroness Bourchier.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 15:43, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Go argue with the ODNB, which I cite, not with me. This may be anachronism, in that the holding of a barony by a married woman is not sixteenth century practice; or error: Cecily Bonville's father and great-grandfather were executed on the battlefield for treason; while the crown may have permitted her to have her lands, so that they could appoint her guardian, inheritance of titles seems unlikely. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:15, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Cecily Bonville was the suo jure Baroness Bonville and suo jure Baroness Harington according to G.E. Cokayne's The Complete Peerage, Vol.II, p.219 and Burke's Peerage on page 1789. The titles were not placed under attainder after the battles of Wakefield and the Seond Battle of St Albans, they only became forfeit to the Crown in 1554 when Cecily's grandson, the Duke of Suffolk took part in Wyatt's Rebellion against Mary I. Besides, we still have the matter of Anne Bourchier, another suo jure 16th century baroness.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 10:50, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Observe the phrase in discussing the first Lord Bonville (CP, p. 218) "by which he is held to have become LORD BONVILLE". In Cokayne's language, this means that the barony is a modern retrojection, forced - to some extent - on the fifteenth century evidence. Insofar as the fifteenth century recognized it, her great-grandfather's heir was her husband, the Marquess of Dorset, and she was Lady Harington as she was Marchioness - as his wife. (Cokayne mentions her will; wills are not the best evidence of what was actually legitimate, cf. II, 250 note (a) - on three titles in the first Devereux Earl's will which did not exist, were not his, or had never existed.)
This inheritance from father to only son-in-law is even clearer in the case of Lady Bourchier, whose husband was Earl of Essex "with the same place and voice in Parliament as his wife's father"(CP, II, 249) while he was repudiating her and having Parliament annul his marriage. (By modern law this is a recreation; but did Henry VIII make that distinction?)
Therefore the content of the statement is that Margaret Pole and Anne Boleyn were at the time called Peeresses independently of their husbands, since neither one was married - or had been married to any claimant of those titles. If you can think of a clear and convenient way to say that this is a claim about sixteenth-century usage, do put it in. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:14, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification and your elaboration of the statement. The article now lucidly explains the distinction. I think as you say, ONDB means that they were the only peeresses holding their titles independent of their husbands as they were both unmarried at the time of their creation, and the titles were never assumed jure uxoris by their husbands when both women married. It's interesting as no mention was ever made of Anne Boleyn's title once she married the King. Did she retain it suo jure until 17 May 1536 when she ceased to be queen or was it merged into the Crown upon her marriage in 1533? I need to point out that Cecily Bonville succeeded to the suo jure titles and vast estates when she was a baby; this made her the wealthiest heiress in 15th century England. She married at the age of 14. As for Anne Bourchier, her husband never claimed the Bourchier barony or title, but he succeeded to the earldom of Essex as she had forfeited it by her adultery.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 08:26, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
What is interesting about Anne Boleyn's title is that the wording specifically excluded the term male heirs legitimate, meaning that any illegitimate son she may have had by Henry could legally succeed to the marquessate upon her death. I am curious as to the fate of her title once she became queen consort.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 08:55, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
It was not merged with the Crown; the queen consort is not the Crown; it simply wasn't used. If anything is clear from all this, it is that the sixteenth century was even less likely to use subordinate titles than the twenty-first.
Whether she was Pembroke in the two days between the annulment of her marriage and her execution may be unanswerable. I doubt there is any relevant statute law; and a common-law decision would depend on somebody being unwise enough to ask the question at the time (Can you imagine what Henry would have done to the idiot?); afterwards it would have been moot. I am moderately surprised that she was not attainted so that Henry could get his presents back; but her heir would be Elizabeth (not to the title, as a girl) and Henry was her guardian. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:43, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Can it be said that it merged with the Crown upon her marriage because Henry acquired the title iure uxoris? Isn't it possible that he gained the title which he couldn't hold and that it merged with the Crown?
Anyway, did Elizabeth inherit her mother's possessions? Surtsicna (talk) 13:29, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Henry declared Elizabeth illegitimate after Anne's execution, so I doubt whether she received any of Anne's possessions. I am curious as to whether Henry acquired the Pembroke title jure uxoris when he married Anne.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 14:33, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
No, because that would have been a merger in the Crown (just as his father's restoration of the Beauforts resulted in the title merging in the Crown, or the duchies of York and Gloucester had merged with the crown under the previous dynasty). I have no idea whether he claimed that the merger happened, btw, although it should be in her biographies.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:29, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The statement in the first sentence of the lede could not be verified in the ODNB and is almost certainly incorrect. Elizabeth Grey (1504/5–1519), suo jure 5th Baroness Lisle and sole heir to John Grey, 2nd Viscount Lisle, assumed the title at the age of 8 weeks. In 1513 she was contracted in marriage to her guardian Charles Brandon, who, in anticipation of their marriage, was accorded the title Viscount Lisle by Henry VII. The contract was annulled when she came of age. A year before her death, Elizabeth Grey became Countess of Devon on her marriage to Henry Courtenay, then 2nd Earl of Devon, a marriage that was never consummated. Brandon relinquished the title of Viscount Lisle on her death. Her successor, the suo jure 6th Baroness Lisle, was her aunt, also Elizabeth Grey (1482–1525/6), widow of Edmund Dudley and mother of John Dudley, who later as Lord Protector with Edward Seymour saw his daughter-in-law Lady Jane Grey declared successor to Edward VI. In 1511 Elizabeth Grey's aunt had taken as second husband Arthur Plantagenet, illegitimate son of Edward IV; he assumed the title Viscount Lisle in 1523.

More care is needed about statements of this kind, particularly if asserted so prominently and authoritatively in the lede. Most of this information can be found in the ODNB as well as numerous other sources: it is a particularly well-documented part of English history. Mathsci (talk) 11:35, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

To quote ODNB exactly, As countess of Salisbury, Margaret Pole was the first and, apart from Anne Boleyn, the only woman in sixteenth-century England to hold a peerage title in her own right. Hazel Pierce, ‘Pole, Margaret, suo jure countess of Salisbury (1473–1541)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008; §Peer and Patron.
As for the Viscounty of Lisle; please read Complete Peerage. These statements are all of them wrong; it was created in 1451 for John Talbot of Lisle and his heirs male. It was recreated three times by charter for the (prospective) husbands of Talbot heiresses - and their heirs by their wife. In particular Charles Brandon continued to be Viscount Lisle despite jilting Elizabeth Grey; he married the King's sister instead, and continued to be Viscount Lisle until four years after Grey's death. She was styled Viscountess Lisle - but that's a courtesy.
I regret having brought this personal enemy to this article; if this continues, he will see dispute resolution. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:29, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Tudor policy?[edit]

One of the more tendentious claims in this article asserts that the Tudors had a long-standing and continuous policy of killing off claimants to the throne. This is a POV - and certainly an attested one - but it should not be claimed as though it were consensus of scholarship; it is asserted by power-worshippers and by those who dislike the Tudors for other reasons, who do not, even together, make up a majority.

For one thing, it is contradicted by the rest of this article. Margaret Pole lived for fifty years under Tudor rule before she was touched; she was arrested and executed for communicating with an English subject who was actively engaged in deposing the monarch.

  • Henry VII's policy on female heiresses of York is clear enough: marry them off safely, and keep them dependent; which of them did he kill?
  • Henry VIII's policy seems to have been "Nobody threatens me twice". This was bloody enough; Machiavelli's actual advice: "decide who needs to die, kill them, and get it over with" might well have killed fewer. But if his policy had been to kill Margaret, he need not have given her great possessions in 1512; and he could have executed her in 1521 along with Buckingham.
  • This, of course, assumes Henry had a continuous policy. Another POV is that Henry had a succession of viziers: Wolsey (who disliked Buckingham), Anne, Cromwell.... As long as they pleased him, he gave them their heads; when they did not, he took their heads - and their purses too. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:38, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Title of article and section on "numbering"[edit]

There is a contradiction now between the two so I have indicated that in the section on "numbering". Mathsci (talk) 22:04, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

That's because the section on numbering is drawn from Complete Peerage, which is quite clear that the Earldom of Salisbury restored to her is - by modern law - her father's; the Tudors did not distinguish. Since her brother did not hold it, that would make her "2nd Countess of Salisbury" but other sources disagree. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:38, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
This seems to be WP:OR, patched together from obscure footnotes. At present there seems to be unwarranted edit-warring and move-warring on the article. This has not been accompanied by any detailed justification on this page. The correct thing to do here is to provide precise sources, rather than vague wikilinks to an undisclosed edition, so that content can be checked by other editors. That's how WP:V works. Otherwise editors have no idea what's going on. Mathsci (talk) 22:52, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Enough of this personal attack. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:54, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
What personal attack? Please give the precise sources you used (not a wikilink) so other editors can check whether what you claim is correct. Thanks, Mathsci (talk) 23:07, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Complete Peerage, vol XI, pp. 399-402 and appendix F(supplementary pages 126-133) on the Earldom of Salisbury; neither obscure nor a footnote. The move appears to be based on our article Earl of Salisbury, which is not a reliable nor an accurate source. The mention of abeyance is an anachronism; the first application of the doctrine of abeyance to a British peerage was in 1604. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:31, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Please give the edition, year, etc, and whether it can be found on the web. I can check the originals in England in the next one or two weeks. It could not be found in the Cockayne edition. Mathsci (talk) 23:40, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
The second edition by Cokayne and Gibbs of 1910-1959, the only one now consulted; some of it is on Google Books, but I consulted the hard-cover edition, which any respectable university library should have; it was also reprinted in photo-offset some time in the 1970s [1984] (so the pagination should be identical ) I did say volume XI; Cokayne's first edition only has eight volumes. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:48, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
(ec) I couldn't possibly comment about "respectable institutions". (I am attached to both colleges founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort.) I noticed that "Plantagenet" has now been removed ... That would seem to contradict sources like this. Isn't she usually described as the "last of the Plantagenets"? Mathsci (talk) 00:02, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Then you should have no problem; Cambridge has several copies, if I read their catalog correctly; WorldCat suggests about 200 institutions outside the British Isles have at least one.


Plantagenet? Only by sources which positively revel in anachronism. Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, had a nickname Plantagenet; his descendants did not take it as a family name. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:08, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately the official biographers of Lady Margaret Beaufort refer to her as Margaret Plantagenet. [1] These are professional historians/archivists with special access to original documents and whose biography has been published by Cambridge University Press. Are you suggesting that this source does not qualify as as a WP:RS, that these authors "revel in anachronism"? Is there a problem with the book? Reviews seem quite positive, [2] Mathsci (talk) 00:47, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Other historians refer to her as "Lady Margaret Plantagenet". In this recent publication from Yale University Press, [3] added to the sources by me and commented out by Pmanderson, that is one of the titles used. The same publication refers to the young Mary Tudor as Princess Mary, the usual terminology used for the daughter of a reigning monarch, but not the one used in the article. I am not aware that any historians refer to Margaret Pole as "Salisbury", as happens in the article. Here's a very recent article [4] which examines the connection between Lady Margaret Beaufort and Margaret Pole. Again Margaret Pole is called Margaret Plantagenet. On wikipedia normal procedure is to include as many sources as possible, particularly if they discuss the subject at length and satisfy WP:RS, as in the case with both of those mentioned above (by the historians S. Powell and G. W. Bernard). Mathsci (talk) 07:47, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Here's the entry [5] in the "Dictionary of British History", published by Oxford University Press, Again she is called "Margaret Plantagenet". They give a pretty a good account: "Margaret Plantagenet was a daughter of George, duke of Clarence, and a niece of Richard III. After the execution of her brother the earl of Warwick in 1499, she was the sole heiress to the dukedom of Clarence and the earldoms of Salisbury and of Warwick, and was granted the title countess of Salisbury in 1513. But after her son Reginald Pole was made cardinal in 1536, Henry VIII moved against the Pole family. Her eldest son Lord Montagu was executed in 1539 and her younger son Geoffrey sentenced to death. The countess was executed in the Tower, the executioner bungling the beheading. She was the last of the Plantagenets." Mathsci (talk) 08:04, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Insofar as these are references to the dynasty: It is indeed called Plantagenet, having no other name (contemporaries rarely needed to distinguish it from the Norman kings). But that is an eighteen-century invention, not Margaret's usage; if we are going to refer to a convenient fiction, it is bad writing to imply it is more. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:32, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Accuracy and netrality banners on execution section[edit]

There are still has neutrality and accuracy banners on the execution section after a year. Is there any way the knowledgeable editors of this article could agree a form of words which would allow these to be removed?— Rod talk 20:09, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

5000 marks (£2666.13s.4d)[edit]

"her brother's lands of the earldom of Salisbury (only), for which she paid 5000 marks (£2666.13s.4d)" Is this amount in lsd an exact amount mentioned at the time? Or a modern equivalence? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 10:47, 28 May 2017 (UTC)