Friday, 27 September 2013

The illegitimate York girl

Eleanor Holland was born in 1404 the illegitimate daughter of Constance of York (1374-1416), granddaughter to King Edward III, and Edmund Holland, Earl of Kent (1382-1408).

Edmund of Langley, Constance's father
Eleanor's mother Constance, the daughter of Prince Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, was firstly married to Thomas le Despenser and had three children by him before he died in 1400.
After the death of her first husband, Constance fell in love with Edmund Holland and became his mistress. Eleanor was then born from this union in about 1404.
Constance did not remarry, however Edmund married in 1406 to Lucia Visconti, daughter of the Lord of Milan. Constance attended the wedding banquet and made no protest to the union. Edmund was killed in battle in 1408 in Brittany at the age of twenty-six.

Eleanor brought her case to the Court Christian which was a spiritual court to disprove her illegitimacy in order to lay claim to her father's estate after his death, however she lost her case.
In 1431 the heirs of Edmund Holland; Joan, Duchess of York and Margaret, Duchess of Clarence who were Eleanor's aunts on her father's side, Richard Duke of York, Richard Earl of Salisbury, Alice his wife, Ralph Earl of Westmorland, John Lord Tiptoft, Joyce his wife and Henry Grey all collaborated and made a petition to Parliament to prove that Eleanor is illegitimate and to stop her from claiming to be 'the daughter and heir' of her father Edmund Holland despite whatever findings or conclusions the spiritual courts come to, in order to keep her from inheriting any of his estate.
The petition went as follows;

"wherefore þe saide suppliantz, dredyng hem to be hurt and 
enpeched of thair enheretance had be the saide Edmond, be 
other subtilite and wirchyng in þe temporell lawe, to be wroght 
by the saide Lorde Audeley and Alianore his wyf, as if thei wold 
take an action agayns sum persones of ther assent and covyne, 
or elles make < sum > persones of < suche >
assent and covyne take an action ayenst hem, as þe saide 
suppliantz < been > credebly enfourmed thei ordeyne
< hem > to do, in which action be the saide assent and 
covyne, bastardie shuld be allegged in the persone of þe saide 
Alianore, wyf to James, and thereupon be assent and covyne, 
and issue to be taken, and a writte to be sent to < sum >
ordinarie, not advertised of the saide subtilite, assent and 
covyne, wher hym list, to certifie wheþer þe saide Alianore, wyf 
to James, be mulire, or no; afore whiche ordinaire, þe saide 
Alianore, wyf to James, wille < allegge >, to prove her self 
mulire, be the saide depositon of the saide subornatz proves, 
and þanne þe partie had as adversarie ayenst þe saide Lord 
Audeley and Alianore hys wyf, in þe saide action taken, or to be 
taken, be þe saide assent and covyne, wolle no prove ne matier 
allege, ne defence make afore þe same ordinarie, agaynst þe 
saide Lord Audeley and Alianore his wyf, but there suffre the 
matier afore þe same ordinarie < to > procede, after
thentent of þe saide Lord Audeley and Alianore his wyf; so þat 
it is ryght lyche þat þe same ordinarie wold certifie þe saide 
Alianore, wyf to James, mulire; the whiche certificate so hadde 
and made, < shulde > by þe commen lawe of the saide 
roialme of Englond, utterly disherit þe saide suppliauntz, and 
their issues for evere of alle þe saide hole enheritance." Henry VI: January 1431

Eleanor married James Touchet, Baron Audley (1398-1459) in September 1430.
The couple had seven children;
+ Margaret Touchet (1431-81) m. Richard Grey
   + John Grey (d.1497)
   + Elizabeth Grey
+ Constance Touchet (b.1432) m. Robert Whitney
   + James Whitney
   + Joan Whitney
   + Eleanor Whitney
   + John Whitney
   + Robert Whitney
+ Humphrey Touchet (1434-71) m. Elizabeth Courtenay
   + John Touchet
   + Jane Touchet
   + Elizabeth Touchet
   + Philippa Touchet
+ Thomas Touchet (1440-1507) m. Catherine
   + Anne Touchet
+ Eleanor Touchet (b.1442) m. Humphrey Grey
   + John Grey
+ Edmund Touchet (1443-1524) Became a Bishop
+ Anne Touchet (b.1446) m. Richard Delabere
   + Thomas Delabere
   + Seneca Delebere

Eleanor died in 1459.

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