Thomas St. Leger

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Sir Thomas St. Leger

Anne of York and Sir Thomas St. Leger.jpg

Thomas with his wife
Born c.1440
Died 8 November 1483
Exeter, Devonshire, England
Spouse(s) Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter
Children Anne St Leger
Parent(s) Sir John St Leger of Ulcombe
Margery Donnet
Arms of St Ledger: Azure fretty argent, a chief or Arms of St Leger.svg
Arms of St Ledger: Azure fretty argent, a chief or

Sir Thomas St Leger KB (c. 1440 – executed 8 November 1483) was the second son of Sir John St Leger (d.1441) of Ulcombe, Kent, and his wife, Margery Donnet. He was also the second husband of Anne of York (10 August 1439 – 14 January 1476), daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (by his wife Cecily Neville) and thus she was an elder sister of Kings Edward IV (1461-1483) and Richard III (1483-1485). His younger brother, Sir James St Leger of Annery in Devon, married Anne Butler, daughter of Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond, and was therefore an uncle to Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire.

Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

John St Leger (died 1441)

John St Leger of Ulcombe, Kent, was Sheriff of Kent in 1430. He was an early member of the prominent St Leger family.

Ulcombe village in United Kingdom

Ulcombe is a village near the town of Maidstone in Kent, England. The name has evolved from 'Owl-coomb', 'coomb' meaning 'a deep little wooded valley; a hollow in a hill side' in Old English. It stands on the Greensand Way. The old village hall was dismantled and re-erected at the Museum of Kent Life, Sandling, having been made redundant by the construction of a new building.

Contents

Career

St. Leger faithfully served Edward IV in both a military and administrative capacity for years. For his loyal service, Edward IV rewarded St. Leger with a substantial grant of eight manors in the early 1460s. He had a lucky escape from justice in 1465 when he was arrested for brawling in the Palace of Westminster and sentenced to have his hand cut off. Edward IV, however, granted him a pardon. Thomas fought for Edward at the Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury. St Leger played a key role in ending the Hundred Years' War when he signed the Treaty of Picquigny with Louis XI on 29 August 1475. He was granted by Louis XI a pension of 12,000 crowns annually which was to be distributed between himself, Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset, Sir John Howard (later Duke of Norfolk), Sir Thomas Montgomery, and some other of the profligate courtiers. [2] Thomas was also knighted as a member of the Order of the Bath.

Edward IV of England 15th-century King of England

Edward IV was the King of England from 4 March 1461 to 3 October 1470, and again from 11 April 1471 until his death. He was the first Yorkist King of England. The first half of his rule was marred by the violence associated with the Wars of the Roses, but he overcame the Lancastrian challenge to the throne at Tewkesbury in 1471 to reign in peace until his sudden death. Before becoming king, he was Duke of York, Earl of March, Earl of Cambridge and Earl of Ulster.

Palace of Westminster meeting place of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, located in London, England

The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

Battle of Barnet 1471 engagement in the Wars of the Roses

The Battle of Barnet was a decisive engagement in the Wars of the Roses, a dynastic conflict of 15th-century England. The military action, along with the subsequent Battle of Tewkesbury, secured the throne for Edward IV. On 14 April 1471 near Barnet, then a small Hertfordshire town north of London, Edward led the House of York in a fight against the House of Lancaster, which backed Henry VI for the throne. Leading the Lancastrian army was Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who played a crucial role in the fate of each king. Historians regard the battle as one of the most important clashes in the Wars of the Roses, since it brought about a decisive turn in the fortunes of the two houses. Edward's victory was followed by 14 years of Yorkist rule over England.

Marriage

Heraldic glass in the Rutland Chapel, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, erected in 1849 by Charles Manners, 6th Duke of Rutland. It shows far left the arms of Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter (1439-1476) impaled by the arms of her 1st husband Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter. To the right of the last are her arms impaled by the arms of her 2nd husband Sir Thomas St. Leger (c.1440-1483), KG. The rightmost window shows top: the arms of Anne's daughter Anne St Leger impaled by the arms of her husband George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros (c.1470-1513). Below are the arms of his son Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland (c.1492-1543) impaling the arms of his 2nd wife Eleanor Paston RutlandChapelGlass 1849 StGeorgesChapel Windsor.PNG
Heraldic glass in the Rutland Chapel, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, erected in 1849 by Charles Manners, 6th Duke of Rutland. It shows far left the arms of Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter (1439-1476) impaled by the arms of her 1st husband Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter. To the right of the last are her arms impaled by the arms of her 2nd husband Sir Thomas St. Leger (c.1440-1483), KG. The rightmost window shows top: the arms of Anne's daughter Anne St Leger impaled by the arms of her husband George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros (c.1470-1513). Below are the arms of his son Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland (c.1492-1543) impaling the arms of his 2nd wife Eleanor Paston

Thomas was most likely the lover of Anne of York, before their marriage in c. 1474. She had been married at the age of eight to Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter, in 1447. Anne and Exeter had had one daughter, named Anne, who had been born in c. 1455. The marriage was unhappy and Exeter and his wife mostly lived apart. Exeter was also a loyal Lancastrian while his wife was a Yorkist, and Exeter fought against Richard, 3rd Duke of York, at the Battle of Wakefield where Anne's father and her brother, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, died in battle. Anne and Exeter eventually separated. Thomas fought against Exeter at the Battle of Barnet, where Exeter was badly wounded and left for dead, but survived. Exeter was later imprisoned, and Anne divorced him in 1472. Exeter was also on Edward's expedition with Thomas St Leger to France in 1475. On the return voyage he fell overboard and drowned. Some say he was in fact thrown overboard at the King's command. St Leger's stepdaughter, Anne Holland, died some time around 1474, leaving her inherited Exeter estates behind.

Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter Elder sister of King Edward IV of England

Anne of York, Duchess of Exeter, aka Anne Plantagenet, was the first child of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. She was thus the eldest sister of kings Edward IV (1461–1483) and Richard III (1483–1485); and of Edmund, Earl of Rutland, Elizabeth of York, Duchess of Suffolk, Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy and of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence.

Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter English admiral

Henry Holland, 3rd Duke of Exeter was a Lancastrian leader during the English Wars of the Roses. He was the only son of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, and his first wife, Lady Anne Stafford. His maternal grandparents were Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford, and Anne of Gloucester.

House of Lancaster noble family

The House of Lancaster was the name of two cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet. The first house was created when Henry III of England created the Earldom of Lancaster—from which the house was named—for his second son Edmund Crouchback in 1267. Edmund had already been created Earl of Leicester in 1265 and was granted the lands and privileges of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, after de Montfort's death and attainder at the end of the Second Barons' War. When Edmund's son Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, inherited his father-in-law's estates and title of Earl of Lincoln he became at a stroke the most powerful nobleman in England, with lands throughout the kingdom and the ability to raise vast private armies to wield power at national and local levels. This brought him—and Henry, his younger brother—into conflict with their cousin Edward II of England, leading to Thomas's execution. Henry inherited Thomas's titles and he and his son, who was also called Henry, gave loyal service to Edward's son—Edward III of England.

Anne of York died giving birth in 1476 to her and Thomas's only child, another girl named Anne. Following his wife’s death, St. Leger remained on good terms with his brother-in-law, Edward IV, and served as the King's Controller of the Mint. In 1481, he was granted a licence to found a perpetual chantry of two chaplains at the Chapel of St. George in memory of his wife. He never remarried. In 1483, by Act of Parliament, Anne St. Leger was declared heiress to the entire Exeter estate, except for a portion which was given to the queen's son Richard Grey. This act, by which the lands of the Exeter dukedom fell into the hands of the last duke's stepdaughter and his daughter's brother-in-law, along with a number of similar acts, is thought to be a cause of difficulty in maintaining noble support for the reign of Edward IV. [3]

An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. It is also comparable to an Act of Congress in the United States.

Sir Richard Grey was an English knight and the half-brother of King Edward V of England.

Rebellion and death

Thomas's brother-in-law, Edward IV, whom he had served faithfully, died suddenly on 9 April 1483, leaving behind a twelve-year-old son, Edward V, who was by marriage Thomas's nephew. However, Richard III ascended the throne in July 1483. Thomas St. Leger attended the new king’s coronation and was given cloth of silver and velvet for the occasion, but he was soon deprived of his positions of Master of Harthounds and Controller of the Mint. His daughter Anne was ordered to be handed over to Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. It has been suggested that Buckingham had the heiress in mind as a bride for his own eldest son Edward. This never came to pass, for both St. Leger and Buckingham ended up in rebellion against the new king. St Leger had been unshakably faithful to Edward IV and, like many of the other rebels of the rebellion of 1483, was undoubtedly distressed at Edward V having disappeared from sight after having been deprived of his crown.

Richard III of England 15th-century King of England

Richard III was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the protagonist of Richard III, one of William Shakespeare's history plays.

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham English noble, born in Wales

Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, KG was an English nobleman known as the namesake of Buckingham's rebellion, a failed but significant collection of uprisings in England and parts of Wales against Richard III of England in October 1483. He is also one of the primary suspects in the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower.

When the rebellion floundered, St. Leger continued the fight in Exeter, but was captured. He was executed on 13 November 1483, at Exeter Castle, despite the offer of large sums of money on his behalf. He had been executed with Sir John Rame. St. Leger, described by the Crowland Chronicler as a “most noble knight,” received a private burial. They are not buried in Rutland Chapel as most believe.[ citation needed ]

His daughter Anne St Leger (14 January 1476 – 21 April 1526) eventually married George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros. Their son was Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, and their daughter, Lady Eleanor Manners (1505 – 16 September 1548) married John Bourchier, 2nd Earl of Bath, and had descendants. Lady Anne St. Leger and her husband George are both buried in the private Rutland Chapel in Windsor Castle.

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References

  1. Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.365, St Ledger, Earl of Doneraile
  2. MacFarlene, Charles, The Cabinet history ofEnglish civil, military and ecclesiastical
  3. Ross, Charles (1997). Edward IV. Yale English monarchs (illustrated ed.). Yale University Press . pp. 336–337