Arthur Viscount Lisle Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle

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About Arthur Viscount Lisle Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle

From (English):

Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle, KG (died 3 March 1542) was an illegitimate son of King Edward IV of England, and an important figure at the court of Henry VIII. The survival of a large collection of his letters makes his life one of the best-documented of his time.


Family life

Lisle married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth (1482x4–1525/6), daughter of Edward Grey, first Viscount Lisle, and later Baroness Lisle in her own right, and widow of Edmund Dudley. The marriage, which took place about 13 November 1511, was clearly arranged by the king and was marked by the grant to Arthur Plantagenet of forfeited Dudley lands in Lancashire, Sussex, and Dorset. They had three daughters: Frances, born c.1512–20; Elizabeth, born c.1520–22; and Bridget, whose birth in 1525 or 1526 probably caused the death of her mother. In 1519 Elizabeth Grey became the sole heir of the barony of Lisle, following the death of her niece Elizabeth, the fifth holder of the title, and on 12 May she and Arthur were granted the Lisle lands in Berkshire, Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire. It was in his wife's right that on 25 April 1523 Arthur Plantagenet was created Viscount Lisle.


Citations / Sources:

  1. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 141. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Family.
  2. [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 248. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  3. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume VIII, page 63.
  4. [S1916] Tim Boyle, "re: Boyle Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 16 September 2006. Hereinafter cited as "re: Boyle Family."

First Viscount Lisle

Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle, KG (died 3 March 1542) was an illegitimate son of King Edward IV, half-brother of Queen Elizabeth of York, and thus an uncle of King Henry VIII, at whose court he was a prominent figure and by whom he was appointed Lord Deputy of Calais (1533–40).[8] The survival of a large collection of his correspondence in the Lisle Letters makes his life one of the best-documented of his era.

Biography - Arthur Plantagenet was born in Calais, then an English possession in France, between 1461 and 1475, and died at the Tower of London, where he is buried. The identity of his mother is uncertain; the most likely candidate appears to be the "wanton wench" Elizabeth Wayte, although the historical record is spotty on this issue, and it is not entirely clear that Wayte is distinct from another of Edward's mistresses, Dame Elizabeth Lucy. Another possible candidate is Elizabeth Shore.[9] His godfather was William FitzAlan, 16th Earl of Arundel.

Arthur spent his childhood at the court of his father Edward IV. How he passed his youth after his father's death in 1483 is not known. In 1501 he joined the household of his half-sister, the queen consort Elizabeth of York, and moved to the household of Henry VII after her death in 1503. After the accession of his nephew Henry VIII (1509), he was formally designated an Esquire of the King's Bodyguard and was a close companion of Henry's (despite the age difference).

In 1514 Arthur was appointed High Sheriff of Hampshire and made captain of the Vice-Admiral's ship Trinity Sovereign, rising to become Vice-Admiral of England. In 1519 he and his wife, Elizabeth Grey Baroness Lisle, took possession of the lands that had belonged to her father (her brother and niece having both died). In 1520, he attended his nephew, King Henry VIII, at the Field of Cloth of Gold.

On 25 April 1523, Arthur was created Viscount Lisle. He was also to be selected Privy Councilor, Governor of Calais, and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and named as deputy of Calais, after the death of John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners on 16 March 1533.

Constable of Calais - The Lisle Letters suggest that as Constable he was honest and conscientious but not especially competent. Among the letters is one from Thomas Cromwell rebuking him for referring trivial matters back to the King and Council, criticising him for his inability to refuse a favour to anyone who asks for one, and hinting that Lady Lisle's dominance of him has made him something of a laughing stock. Yet the Crown did not hesitate to employ him on routine errands: in 1537 Queen Jane Seymour during her pregnancy developed a passion for quail, and since quail were abundant in the marshes around Calais, Lisle devoted much time to supplying them to the Queen.

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Arthur Viscount Lisle Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle's Timeline

Calais, Dordogne, Aquitaine, France
Age 22
November 12, 1511
Age 48
Age 50
Age 53
Age 56
London, Middlesex, England
March 3, 1542
Age 79
Tower of London, London, England