Sunday, May 23, 2010

Marriage and the Nevills - Katheryn Nevill and William Bonville

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This ought to be a short one...

Katheryn Nevill's first marriage lasted barely two years. I haven't managed to find out a great deal about it, as her second marriage to William Hastings, seems to eclipse it in all the literature.

We do know that her husband, William Bonville (later lord Harrington on his grandfather's death) was born in Chewton Mendip in Somersetshire, that they were married in Salisbury and that their daughter, Cecily, was born at Shute Manor in Devon on 30 June 1460.

We also know when, how and where young William died, but of the marriage itself there is little mention.

Both Katheryn and William were born around 1442, so were 16 at the time of their marriage. William's father and grandfather (William lord Bonville) had a connection with the Nevills, supporting them and the duke of York during the first protectorate in 1454, more specifically during the rebellion of Henry Holland duke of Exeter. William sr, along with Thomas Stanley (Alianor Nevill's father-in-law) had been commissioned to help keep the peace in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Discussions regarding a marriage between young William and Salisbury's daughter may have begun around this time. The marriage itself, conducted in Salisbury, took place in 1458 (though some genealogies say 1457).

Also in 1458, William's maternal grandfather, lord Harrington, died and he inherited the title (his mother having died some time before this.)

The young couple then took up residence at Shute Barton. Here their daughter Cecily was born. (I have previously said that Katheryn was 16 when her daughter was born, but I didn't have my Simple Maths head on - she and William were both 18.) The property was part of young Cecily's inheritance and passed into the control of her husband (Thomas Grey) after their marriage. When her great-granddaughter, Lady Jane Grey, was executed in 1554, the property was given to the Poles, who still own it today.

William remained a loyal supporter of his father-in-law. In 1460, he and his father joined the duke of York at Sandal Castle. Captured after the battle of Wakefield, both Bonvilles were executed. (William's grandfather was later executed after the second battle of St Albans. This particular act has often been cited as an example of the cruelty of Margaret of Anjou, but I think that's more to do with the reason for the execution than the death itself. Bonville was guarding the captive Henry VI at the time, and was executed on Margaret's orders for allowing the king to be captured - by Margaret's forces. This sort of thinking was not uncommon at the time, but this particular example does seem to have touched a chord.)

Cecily Bonville was six months old when her father died.

Katheryn was only one of a number of widows after Wakefield. Her mother, Alice Montacute countess of Salisbury, her aunt, Cecily Nevill duchess of York, and her sister-in-law, Maud Stanhope, all lost their husbands on the same day. Alice and Cecily, from what I can work out, were in London at the time, Maud was at her home in Nottinghamshire and Cecily was probably at Shute Barton. It was an uncertain time for all of them, and rumours of the deaths of both Katheryn's brother, the earl of Warwick, and cousin Edward earl of March (later Edward IV) wouldn't have made things any easier. As we have no idea how Katheryn and William felt about each other, it is impossible to say whether deep personal grief added to this stress.

Katheryn later married William Hastings but that, as they say, is a whole nother story.

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