The Tudor Society

June 9 – William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon

Arms of William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, at Tiverton Church

Arms of William Courtenay

On this day in Tudor history, 9th June 1511, in the reign of Henry VIII, William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, died of pleurisy at Greenwich. He was buried at Blackfriars, London, with the honours due an earl, even though he hadn't been officially invested yet.

Courtenay was Henry VIII's uncle, having married Katherine of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, and sister of Henry's mother, Elizabeth of York.

Courtenay had been made a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Elizabeth of York in 1487, due to his support of Henry VII, but was attainted and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1504 for treason due to his involvement in Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk’s plotting. He was released and pardoned after Henry VIII’s accession. He acted as sword bearer at the new king’s coronation.

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Image: Arms of William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (d. 1511) above the south porch of St Peter's Church, Tiverton. The arms are Courtenay impaling the arms of his wife's father as Duke of York: Quarterly 1st: Royal arms of Lionel, Duke of Clarence; second and third, Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster; fourth, Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March. Photo by Lobsterthermidor.

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