Eleanor Talbot, Lady (c.1445 - 1468) MP

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Birthplace: Shrewsbury, England
Death: Died in Abbey, Renfrewshire, , Scotland
Managed by: Douglas John Nimmo
Last Updated:

About Eleanor Talbot, Lady

Lady Eleanor Talbot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lady Eleanor Talbot (died 30 June 1468) was a daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. Her alleged pre-contract of marriage with King Edward IV of England was of great significance to the final fate of the Plantagenet dynasty and outcome of the War of the Roses.

In about 1450, Eleanor married Sir Thomas Butler, son of Ralph Butler, Lord Sudeley. When Thomas died some time before March 1461, Eleanor's father-in-law took back one of the two manors he had settled on her and her husband when they married. Lord Sudeley did not have a licence for the transfer of title. King Edward IV, who became king at around this time, seized both properties.

Edward already had a reputation for womanizing. When Lady Eleanor went to ask him for the return of her property, it was said that Edward tried to persuade her to sleep with him, and when she refused, that he promised to marry her—however there is no evidence of this. In 1464 Edward secretly married Lady Elizabeth Woodville; it was later suggested that one reason this marriage was not announced was the danger that Eleanor would come forward with her claim of an earlier marriage to the king—there is no evidence of this,either. (Indeed, Edward's marriage to Woodville was kept secret possibly because he feared criticism from his advisers, such as Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick).

At this time George, Duke of Clarence was on the verge of open rebellion against his elder brother; thus, Edward had him thrown into the Tower of London. Clarence was tried before Parliament (with Edward himself as his accuser) in January 1478, convicted of treason, and sentenced to be executed.

After Edward's death, a certain priest came forward and testified to having carried out the ceremony between Edward and Lady Eleanor. He offered this evidence to Richard, Duke of Gloucester —the future Richard III— which enabled Richard to persuade Parliament to pass an act whereby the boy king-apparent, Edward V, was deposed of the throne — in favor of Richard, furthermore. According to the French political analyst, Philippe de Commines —the only person who identifies him— this priest was Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells. Stillington had risen high in Edward IV's favour, but it seems he had been briefly imprisoned in the Tower at the same time as Clarence.

When Henry VII of England came to the throne, he ordered all copies of the Titulus Regius —the acts deposing Edward V— be destroyed.

After Richard's death, Tudor historians named Elizabeth Lucy (also known as Elizabeth Wayte) as the woman Stillington testified he had married to Edward. Elizabeth Lucy was probably the mother of Edward IV's bastard son, Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle. This threw further doubt on the case.

Lady Eleanor Butler died in a convent in June 1468 and was buried in the Church of the White Carmelites, Norwich, England.

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Eleanor Talbot, Lady's Timeline

1445
1445
Shrewsbury, England
1450
1450
Age 5
1468
June 30, 1468
Age 23
Abbey, Renfrewshire, , Scotland
1468
Age 23
1468
Age 23
Church of the White Carmelites, Norwich, England