On this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1507, Cecily of York, Viscountess Welles, died at Hatfield in Hertfordshire. She was buried at “the friars”.
Cecil was, of course, the daughter of King Edward IV and his queen consort, Elizabeth Woodville, and the sister of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower, but there's far more to her than that.
Did you know that she married without permission and had to be sheltered by Lady Margaret Beaufort?
Find out all about Cecil of York's life in today's talk.
Also on this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1572, on the Feast of St Bartholomew, an awful massacre took place in Paris, and it was followed by further atrocities in other towns and cities.
Those who suffered were Huguenot men, women and children, French Protestants. But what happened and why? Find out in last year’s video:
Also on this day in history:
- 1549 – Death of Sir Wymond Carew, administrator. Carew served Henry VIII as Deputy Receiver-General of the Duchy of Cornwall, as Receiver-General to Queens Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves, as Treasurer to Queen Catherine Parr, and as Treasurer of the Court of First Fruits and Tenths.
- 1561 – Birth of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, naval officer and administrator. Howard was the eldest son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, and Margaret Dudley. Howard served Elizabeth I as Vice-Admiral in the 1596 Cadiz expedition and the 1597 voyage to the Azores, and as Constable of the Tower of London. He went on to have a distinguished career under James I until his fall in 1619.
- 1587 – Death of Richard Barnes, Bishop of Durham. He was buried at Durham Cathedral, in the choir.
- 1595 – Death of Thomas Digges, mathematician, astronomer, soldier and member of Parliament. Digges is known as the first man to expound the Copernican system in English, and one of the first to put forward the idea of an infinite universe with an infinite number of stars.
On this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1507, Cecily of York, Viscountess Welles, died at Hatfield in Hertfordshire. She was buried at “the friars”, but it is not known what religious house the record was referring to.
Here are some facts about this Plantagenet princess…
• Cecily was born at Westminster Palace in London on 20th March 1469 and was the third daughter of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and the sister of Elizabeth of York and the Princes in the Tower. It is believed that Cecily was named after her paternal grandmother, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York.
• In October 1474, when she was aged 5, Cecily was betrothed to Prince James, son of King James III of Scotland, as part of a peace treaty between England and Scotland. However, relations broke down between the two countries after James supported English raids and Edward supported the claim to the Scottish throne of Alexander Stuart, Duke of Albany, James’s exiled brother. In June 1482, it was decided that if Albany could annul his marriage then Cecily would marry him. It didn’t happen and then, in October 1482, the betrothal between Cecily and Prince James was broken off.
• Cecily’s father died suddenly on 9th April 1483, when Cecily was 14, leaving the throne to Cecily’s brother, Edward, who became Edward V. However, their uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, took the throne as King Richard III and Edward and his brother, Richard, disappeared. Their fate is unknown.
• Cecily’s mother, the dowager queen, had taken Cecily and her sisters into sanctuary at Westminster Abbey and they remained there until March 1484. Richard III promised Elizabeth Woodville that he would ensure that his nieces would have good marriage matches, and that he’d give each of them 200 marks per annum in land. Cecily was married off to Ralph Scrope, brother of Thomas Scrope, 6th Baron Scrope of Masham.
• In 1486, following the accession of King Henry VII, who was married to Cecily’s sister, Elizabeth of York, Cecily’s marriage to Scrope was annulled and she went on to marry John Welles, 1st Viscount Welles, maternal half-brother of Lady Margaret Beaufort and so half-uncle of King Henry VII. The couple had two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne, but they both died young.
• In September 1486, Cecily carried her nephew, Prince Arthur Tudor, to the font at his christening at Winchester, and in November 1487 she carried her sister Elizabeth of York’s train at her coronation at Westminster Abbey.
• In February 1499, Viscount Welles died and Cecily was left a life interest in his lands. However, she lost these when she married Thomas Kyme of Friskney, Lincolnshire, without Henry VII’s permission. The king’s mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, ended up sheltering the couple and was able to intercede with the king on their behalf. Some of Cecily’s lands were restored to her on the condition that the king could keep hold of some.
• Cecily died on this day in Tudor history, 24th August 1507, at the age of just 38.
I would love to see a biography about Cecily of York. She has sometimes been maligned as a King grabber and being of loose morals, in popular and pseudo novels and literature, but all she did was fall in love and marry one man. There isn’t any evidence for anything else. I would love to read a proper scholarly work on Cecily. Historians seem to be more interested in her older sister because Elizabeth became Queen or her mother as either a conspirator or the wife of Edward iv and the beauty of the Wydeville clan and her sisters have become lost to us. It’s good to read an article on her and bring this white rose out of the shadows.