Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Notes On: Constance Plantagenet (aka Constance of York)

Constance Plantagenet (daughter of Edmund Plantagenet, Duke of York and Isabel De Castile) was born Abt. 1377 in Conisbrough Castle, Yorkshire, England, and died November 28, 1416 in Woodstock, Kent, England. She married Thomas Le Despencer, Earl of Gloucester.

Notes for Constance Plantagenet:
Constance of York
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Constance of York (c. 1374 - 29 November 1416) was the only daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York and his wife Isabella of Castile, Duchess of York, daughter of Peter I of Castile and Maria de Padilla.

On about 7 November 1379, Constance married Thomas le Despenser (22 September 1373 - 16 January 1400). He would be eventually beheaded at Bristol.

She was involved in an affair with Edmund Holland, 4th Earl of Kent and had a daughter by him, Eleanor de Holand. Eleanor was later married to James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley.

When she died in 1416, she was buried at the High altar in Reading Abbey.

Her daughter Isabel le Despenser married Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick. They were parents to Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick and Anne Beauchamp.

Her life is the subject of Brian Wainwright's novel 'Within the Fetterlock.'


Constance was born about 1374, the only daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, and his wife, Isabella of Castile, the youngest daughter of King Peter of Castile and his favourite mistress, Maria de Padilla.[citation needed]

Plots against Henry IV[edit]

Shortly before 7 November 1379, Constance married Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester. Despenser was created Earl of Gloucester by King Richard II on 29 September 1397, but after Richard's deposition and the accession of King Henry IV some of his lands were seized and he was degraded from the earldom. In consequence in late December 1399 he and others joined in a plot, known as the Epiphany Rising, to assassinate King Henry and restore King Richard to the throne. According to a French chronicle the plot was betrayed to the King by Constance's brother, Edward; however contemporary English chronicles make no mention of Edward's alleged role. Gloucester escaped immediate capture, but was eventually turned in to the authorities at Bristol, where he was beheaded on 16 January 1400.[1] After her husband's death, Constance was granted a life interest in the greater part of his lands and custody of her son.[2]
In February 1405, during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr, Constance herself instigated a plot to abduct the young Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, and his brother, Roger Mortimer, from Windsor Castle, apparently intending to deliver the young Earl, who had the best claim to the throne of any of Henry IV's rivals, to his uncle Sir Edmund Mortimer, who was married to Glyndwr's daughter.[citation needed] The young Edmund Mortimer and his brother were recaptured before entering Wales. Constance implicated her elder brother, Edward, in the plot, as a result of which he was imprisoned for 17 weeks at Pevensey Castle, but was eventually restored to Henry IV's favour. When Constance died in 1416, she was buried at the High Altar in Reading Abbey.[citation needed]

Marriage and issue[edit]

Shortly before 7 November 1379 Constance married Thomas le Despenser, 1st Earl of Gloucester (22 September 1373 – 16 January 1400), third but first surviving son of Edward le Despenser and Elizabeth Burghersh, by whom she had a son and two daughters:[3]
  • Elizabeth (died young c. 1398)
After her husband's death, Constance was either betrothed to or lived as the mistress of Edmund Holland, 4th Earl of Kent (1382-1408), by whom she had an illegitimate daughter, Eleanor Holland (died c. 1459), who married James Tuchet, 5th Baron Audley.

Shakespeare and Constance of York[edit]

Constance is referred to as 'my sister Despenser' in Shakespeare's Richard II.

Constance PLANTAGENET (B. Despencer)
Born: ABT 1374, Conisborough, Yorkshire, England
Died: 28 Nov 1416, Reading Abbey, Berkshire, England
Buried: 1420, Reading Abbey, Berkshire, England
Father: Edmund PLANTAGENET of Langley (1º D. York)
Mother: Isabella of CASTILLA (D. York)
Married: Thomas DESPENCER (1° E. Gloucester) ABT 1385
1. Richard DESPENCER (B. Burghersh)
2. Isabel DESPENCER (B. Burgersh)
5. Elizabeth DESPENCER (b. ABT 1398, Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales)
Associated with: Edmund HOLLAND (4º E. Kent) (b. 6 Jan 1382/1383, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, England - d. 15 Sep 1408, Ile De Brehat, Cotes Du Nord, France - bur. Bourne Abbey, Lincolnshire, England) (son of Thomas Holland, 2º E. Kent and Alice Fitzalan)
6. Eleanor HOLLAND (m. James Touchet, 2º B. Audley)

** From HERE

Eleanor, the child of the affair, is where our line continues from her.  

Conisbrough Castle
Castle in United Kingdom
Conisbrough Castle is a 12th-century castle in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, England, whose remains are dominated by the 97-foot high circular keep, which is supported by six buttresses. Wikipedia
Address: Castle Hill, Conisbrough, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN12 3BU, United Kingdom
Opened: 1190
Function: Castle
Height: 95' (29 m)
Architectural style: Norman architecture

Architect: Hamelin de Warenne, Earl of Surrey

(From: Find A Grave) 

Birth: c. 1374, England
Death: Nov. 29, 1416
Berkshire, England

English Nobility. Baroness le Despencer and Countess of Gloucester. She is notable for her failed plot to depose King Henry IV. Constance was born in Conisburgh Castle, Yorkshire, the daughter of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York. In 1379 she was married to Thomas le Despenser, later the 1st Earl of Gloucester; both were around five years old at the time. They eventually had three children. King Richard II made her a Dame of the Order of the Garter in 1386. When Richard was deposed in 1399 Despenser initially supported the usurper Henry IV, but the following year he took part in the short-lived Epiphany Rising and was killed by a mob in Bristol. Constance turned out to be a feisty widow. She became the mistress of the 4th Earl of Kent, having a daughter by him, and frequently petitioned and sued the crown over her holdings. Contemporary documents state she was disloyal to the king "many times". In 1405 she involved herself in the rebellion of Welsh prince Owain Glyndwyr, who had occupied Caerphilly Castle, which Constance owned. It was in both their interests to replace Henry with Richard's presumptive heir, the imprisoned Edmund de Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, so she arranged for his escape from Windsor Castle with the intention of delivering him to Caerphilly. From there Henry's enemies were to form an army to march on England, with the young earl as figurehead. But Constance's brother, the Duke of York, betrayed the plot and Mortimer was captured before reaching Wales. Summoned to the Privy Council, Constance freely admitted her scheme but apparently no charges were brought against her. The Duke of York was confined for several months and then pardoned. Constance's last years were lived in quiet, possibly under banishment at Reading Abbey in Berkshire, where she died. Her tomb was near that of King Henry I. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)

Family links:
  Edmund of Langley (1341 - 1402)
  Isabella Perez de Castile (1355 - 1392)

  Thomas Le Despencer (1373 - 1400)*
  Edmund Holand (1382 - 1408)*

  Richard le Despenser (1396 - 1414)*
  Isabel Despencer De Beauchamp (1400 - 1439)*
  Isabel le Despenser (1400 - 1439)*

  Richard of Conisbrough (1385 - 1415)*

The gatehouse of Reading Abbey, restored in the mid-1800s. This and the hospitium (dormatory for pilgrims) are the only structures of the old abbey complex not in ruins.

Reading Abbey (Ruins)
Reading Borough
Berkshire, England
Plot: In front of the high altar; tomb no longer exists

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