Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who's who in the Nevill universe 4. The Fitzhughs

The Fitzhughs - Alice Nevill and lord Henry Fitzhugh and their children - have been pretty hard to track down. I have one major source (already shown to contain errors) that has anything close to a substantive record. They don't make it into Wagners Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses (a beautiful book, but sadly next to useless); Hicks mentions them several times in his biography of Warwick, but it's all very sketchy (Kendall mentions him a paltry three times). In the more general texts, lord Henry gets a single mention in Hicks's Exeential Histories: Wars of the Roses; two in Carpenter and two in Weir. Most of these writers talk uncritically and incuriously about, on the one hand, Fitzhugh being with the king's forces at St Albans, Wakefield and Towton and, on the other hand, leading Warwick's sham northern rebellion and fighting on his side at Empingham, with no discussion of what might have occurred in between. From this it could be assumed that Fitzhugh was a staunch Lancastrian, except he did submit to Edward IV after Towton and his later actions seem prompted more by loyalty to Warwick than Henry VI. My reading (and interestingly, to some extent both Hicks' and Johnson's (Duke Richard of York)) is that Fitzhugh's time in the royal army wasn't entirely voluntary and though he didn't take the opportunity at Northampton, both he and Grey of Ruthyn were considering their positions from about 1460. Though I haven't investigated it at this stage, Hicks mentions that there was a Henry included in a pardon after Towton, who may have been Fitzhugh.

Most sources agree that they had ten children, though both Carpenter and Baldwin (The Kingmaker's Sisters) mention an eleventh.  Back in April, I suggested that if there had been a sixth son, his name would probably have been Henry. And that's just the name given to this mysterious eleventh child by both authors. (Baldwin is flawed, but it's the most comprehensive text so far on the lives of the Salisburys' daughters. With that single caveat (don't be surprised to find that some of the details are wrong) I'd still recommend it to anyone interested in these women.)

One of the first points of difficulty is Alice's birth year. As her first child was born in 1448 and, apart from Katheryn who had her first child at sixteen, as the Salisburys do seem to have discouraged their daughters (and sons-in-law) from becoming parents before they were about eighteen, this would put Alice's birth at c1430. There is a bit of a bottleneck around this time, with Thomas, John and Alice all born seemingly within the space of a couple of years. This could mean that Alice and one of her brothers were twins, or it could just mean that the countess was very very busy during this time.

Another point of confusion is the identity of the daughter who later married Francis Lovell. Some sources say it was the oldest daughter, Alice; others the second daughter, Anne. mentions only one child, Elizabeth (who was the youngest, married William Parr and was the ancestor of Katherine Parr). One family tree mentions only 10 children (Henry is missing) and has the second daughter (here Agnes) marrying Lovell. So, until I can find a definitive answer, and synthesising the information I have to date, here's my interpretation of the Fitzhugh family.

Alice (1448-1516) married John Fiennes. They had two children: Thomas (lord Dacre on the death of his grandmother) and Anne. Thomas married Anne Bourchier.

Anne (1453 - bef 1512) married Francis Lovell. Lovell (and his sisters Joan and Frideswide) are usually listed as wards of the earl of Warwick. While it's true that Lovell spent many years under Warwick's tutelage at Middleham, it does seem that they were wards of the Fitzhughs. Anne, her mother Alice and sister in law Elizabeth were in attendance on queen Anne and Richard III at their coronation in 1483. Lovell disappeared after Bosworth and both his wife and mother-in-law pleaded for a pardon for him. They had no success. His final fate is a mystery. Anne and Francis had no children.

Margery (b1455) married Marmaduke Constable. Marmaduke fought with Richard III at Bosworth but submitted to Henry Tudor. He was sheriff of Yorkshire and later, during the reign of Henry VIII, fought at Flodden. They had at least two children, one son being executed for treason in 1537.

Joan (I have no information.)

Richard (1457-1487). Married Elizabeth Borough. Richard fought with Richard III at Bosworth, submitted to Henry Tudor afterwards and was his lieutenant in the north for his remaining years. He was fourteen when his father died and he succeeded to the lordship. His mother Alice was appointed his guardian. On his death, he was succeeded by his son, George.

About the younger children, I can find very little information.

Thomas (b1459)
John (b1461)
George (1463-1505)
Edward (1464 - bef June 1472)
Elizabeth (1455/6 - 1513) married 1. William Parr; 2. Nicholas Vaux


Su_H said...

Thanks for an interesting post. I don't know that much about the Fitzhughs except where they cross the Nevilles' paths. Looks like there's a lot to learn! :-)

Ragged Staff said...

Thanks, Su. It's like they're like the supporting cast's supporting cast. Their checkered lives and proximity to Middleham (plus Alice's long widowhood) make them both fascinating and indispensable.

Susan Higginbotham said...

A large cast of characters indeed!

Nicholas Vaux, who married Elizabeth Fitzhugh, is particularly interesting to me--he was the son of Katherine Vaux, who served Margaret of Anjou from at least the 1450's until Margaret's death. ODNB has Elizabeth dying before July 1507 and Nicholas remarrying before February 1508. Elizabeth and Nicholas had three daughters together: "Katharine, who married Sir George Throckmorton; Ann, who married Thomas, Lord Strange; and Alice, who married Sir Richard Sapcote."

Ragged Staff said...

Thanks, Susan. These younger lives are still unexplored in any great detail, but I think it's going to be interesting. I hadn't planned on taking the work very far into the Tudor years (generally I find the Tudors overrated, overexposed and a little bit oiky), but I'm going to have to take a couple of steps across the great divide at least.