24 March, 2019

24 March 1399: Death of Margaret Marshal, Duchess of Norfolk

On 24 March 1399, Margaret, duchess of Norfolk, the first Englishwoman to be made a duchess in her own right, died at the age of about seventy-six or seventy-seven. She was the eldest child and ultimate heir of Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton (1300-38), earl of Norfolk and earl marshal of England, the elder of Edward I's two sons with his second wife Marguerite of France. Margaret was presumably named after her grandmother. Her only brother Edward of Norfolk died as a child in the 1330s, and her younger sister Alice was, horribly, beaten to death by her husband Edward Montacute and some of his retainers in late 1351. Margaret's date of birth is not known, but her uncle Edward II was trying to arrange a marriage for her father Thomas into the royal family of Aragon in 1320/21. This failed, and Thomas probably married his wife Alice Hales soon afterwards, probably not long after he came of age on 1 June 1321. Margaret is likely to have been born the following year; she was old enough to give birth in October 1338, so is unlikely to have been born later than 1322/23.

Of Margaret's children with her two husbands, John, Lord Segrave (1315-53) and the Hainaulter knight Walter Manny (d. 1372), only two lived long enough to marry and have children: Elizabeth Segrave, Lady Mowbray, and Anne Manny, countess of Pembroke. Anne Manny's only child John Hastings was killed jousting at Christmas 1389, aged seventeen, and Elizabeth Segrave's second son Thomas Mowbray (probably born March 1367) was made duke of Norfolk in 1397 and was his grandmother's heir when Margaret died in March 1399, though he only outlived her by six months; he had been exiled from England by Richard II some months before, and died in Venice in September 1399. Margaret's first marriage to John Segrave, Thomas Mowbray's maternal grandfather, was an unhappy one and she left England without her cousin Edward III's permission to try to seek an annulment from the pope, though in the end Segrave died anyway in 1353, still only in his late thirties. Edward III imprisoned Margaret briefly at Somerton Castle in Lincolnshire in 1354, just days after she gave birth to her daughter Anne Manny, for marrying her second husband Walter also without his permission. It was not, however, an onerous imprisonment, as Margaret had her household with her, and Walter was allowed to make conjugal visits whenever they wished.

Margaret Marshal, duchess of Norfolk, was the last surviving grandchild of Edward I, was born in the reign of her uncle Edward II, and lived almost until the end of Edward II's great-grandson Richard II's reign. Via her grandson Thomas Mowbray, she was an ancestor of the Mowbray dukes of Norfolk and their successors, the Howards.


Amanda said...

A very interesting post Kathryn, thank you. I would assume that Margaret was therefore an ancestor of Anne de Mowbray (Countess of Norfolk) who married Richard of York in 1478 at the tender ages of 5 and 4 respectively.

Kathryn Warner said...

Thank you, Amanda! Yes, Margaret was an ancestor of the young Anne Mowbray, via her great-grandson John Mowbray, duke of Norfolk (1390-1432), the younger son and ultimate heir of her grandson Thomas Mowbray (d. 1399).

sami parkkonen said...

Once again great stuff.