01 June, 2016

1 June 1300: Birth of Thomas of Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk

Today marks the 716th anniversary of the birth of Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, whom Edward made earl of Norfolk in late 1312 when Thomas was twelve. He was the eldest child of King Edward I and his second queen Marguerite of France, and was born one week short of nine months after their wedding on 8 September 1299. Evidently he was a little early and unexpected, and was born at a manor of the archbishop of York. Thomas was followed only fourteen months later by his brother Edmund of Woodstock, later earl of Kent, born on 5 August 1301.

I'm afraid that Thomas of Brotherton is a perpetual blaaaaahhhhh in my mind, and I really don't have much to say about him that I haven't said before (see here). Sorry, Thomas. I'm sure you were lovely and all that, but just thinking about you makes me eyes glaze over. His daughter and heir Margaret, countess and later duchess of Norfolk in her own right, is a far more interesting personality, and lived until 24 March 1399 when she must have been at least in her mid-seventies. She was the last surviving grandchild of Edward I, and outlived the second last survivor, Margaret Courtenay née de Bohun, countess of Devon, by more than seven years. She also outlived her children and several of her grandchildren, including John Hastings, earl of Pembroke, killed jousting at Christmas 1389. Margaret of Norfolk's elder daughter and co-heir Elizabeth Segrave married John, Lord Mowbray, which is how the dukedom of Norfolk belonged to the Mowbrays for most of the fifteenth century. (Three John Mowbrays, dukes of Norfolk, one after the other. Not confusing at all.) The Mowbray line died out when Anne Mowbray, who had been briefly married to Edward IV's second son Richard, died as a child in 1481. The dukedom of Norfolk then passed to the Howards, because Elizabeth Segrave's granddaughter Margaret Mowbray married Robert Howard and was the mother of John Howard, killed fighting for Richard III at Bosworth. Thomas of Brotherton was the six greats grandfather of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard via that Howard connection, and he was the great-grandfather of Thomas Mowbray, earl of Nottingham and duke of Norfolk, who was briefly his grandmother Margaret's heir but outlived her by less than six months and died in Venice, having been perpetually exiled from England by Richard II on 19 October 1398. His son John Mowbray, born in 1392, married Katherine Neville at the beginning of 1412. Remarkably, Katherine lived long enough to attend her nephew Richard III's coronation in 1483, and outlived her great-granddaughter Anne Mowbray.

1 comment:

Anerje said...

I guess I'd better wish him Happy Birthday as he makes your eyes glaze over:). Earl of Norfolk - never heard that title before, am so used to Duke.