Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Richard of Conisbrough part 2

As his name suggests, Richard was born at Conisbrough Castle in Yorkshire. If it was indeed in 1385 it may well be that the Yorks moved there in time for Edmund to join Richard II's expedition to Scotland.

Little is known of Richard's early life - read nothing. He first shows up in Henry IV's coronation procession, but there is no mention anywhere of his doing or saying anything at this time, or being recognised in any way. It does suggest he was quite young.

In 1404 he is found fighting in Wales and the borders against Owen Glendower (Owain Glyn Dwr). In this role he was effectively a lieutenant of Henry, Prince of Wales, the future Henry V.

In 1406 Richard was at last knighted, and sent off to Denmark as escort for Henry IV's younger daughter, who was to be married to King Eric. Pugh says he was given this task because 'he was the least important (and most expendable) member of the English royal house'. (Typical Pugh comment - he tells it like it is, but harsher.)

At some point about this time Richard married Anne Mortimer, sister of the Earl of March. They had at least one thing in common - she didn't have a bean either. However, after her death, she turned out to be her brother's heiress, which was right useful for her son and grandsons, as you shall see. The marriage was in secret (shades of Edward IV, Richard's grandson) and they had to send off to Rome for a Papal Dispensation to put things right. This was granted in 1408.

In the same year Anne inherited some land, through her late mother, from her uncle, Edmund, Earl of Kent. Yes, Richard finally owned some land! Not a lot, but some.

Richard had two children, Richard and Isabel. There was also possibly another son, Henry, but if he existed he must have died very young.

Anne Mortimer (who may have been slightly younger even than I suggested in Within the Fetterlock) died in 1411 and was buried in the same tomb as her in-laws at King's Langley. Her death may have been caused by the birth of her son, Richard. She was certainly not much more than 21 years old, and possibly younger.

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