About Robert de Welles
My father and I have been discussing the interesting situation of Robert Welles (1484-1558) and the matter of how he ties into the Plantagenet line as well as the Welles line.
In the course of studying various available documents we noticed that Cecily of York was previously married to Ralph Scrope, younger brother to Thomas 6th Lord Scrope of Masham and Upsall, who served in the King’s household. The marriage of Cecily and Scrope took place in 1484 and ended in 1485 when it was annulled upon the ascent of Henry Tudor to the crown. Cecily may have conceived a child during that time, or perhaps before.
We found this information in a paper titled, ‘Not So Fortunate As Fair’: The Life of Princess Cecily Plantagenet, which maybe accessed by following this link:
The unnamed author of this paper cites the source of this information as:
Horrox, Rosemary. Richard III. A Study in Service. (Cambridge, 1992) p.295.
On November 7th, 1485, the earlier act of Titulus Regis, which de- legitimised the king's descendants was repealed, and the children of Edward IV were re- legitimized. On December 16th a general pardon was granted to Cecily’s husband,” Ralph Scrope, late of Upsall, co.York, Esq....late of the household of Richard III…..But this did not enable Scrope to stay married to Cecily. At the end of the year, the case for the annulment of “the noble lady Cecily Plantagenet against Radulphus Scrope of Upsall” came before the Consistory Court at York and the marriage duly annulled. Because the marriage to a relatively obscure man was an embarrassment, and it was annulled, and not mentioned if possible.
The birth of Robert Welles is commonly listed as 1484 or 1485. Robert Welles as has been noted in other posts here and by probably other frustrated researchers does not appear in accounts of Cecily of York and John de Welles' offspring. Nor is he acknowledged in John's will.
We would like to propose that it is possible that Robert Welles is in fact the product of Cecily of York's first (annulled) marriage to Ralph Scrope of Masham and Upsall. Perhaps, he was taken into John Welles home as an adopted son, or raised elsewhere, receiving his name but not the benefits given to a blood heir.
Would anybody like to weigh in on this theory or help find documentation that might prove or disprove it?
Marriage of Cecily to Ralph Scrope:
Polydore Vergil stated in his history of the reign of King Richard III that just prior to overthrowing King Richard III, while still in France, Henry Tudor [future Henry VII] received rumor that King Richard III had married his [i.e., Richard's] niece, Cecily Plantagenet, daughter of King Edward IV, to an "obscure man." An exact quote from Vergil reads as follows:
"Henry [Tudor] he departyd to Roan [Rouen]. While he taryed here, and riggyd his navy at the mouth of Seyne, a rumor came unto his eare that king Richard, his wife being dead, was amyndyd to mary Elizabeth, his brother Edwardes dowghter, and that he had maryed Cecyly, Edwards other daughter, unto an obscure man of no reputation." [Reference: Henry Ellis, Three Books of Polydore Vergil's English History (Camden Soc. 29) (1844): 215].
Alison Weir makes reference to this passage in Vergil in her book, The Princes in the Tower (1992), pg. 206, where she states:
" Vergil states that when Henry Tudor, in France, learned what was afoot, [he] was even more downcast when he heard that Richard proposed to marry Elizabeth's sister Cecily to an unknown knight so that Henry should be baulked of yet another Yorkist princess." END OF QUOTE.
Since Vergil first reported the "rumor" of Cecily Plantagenet's marriage to an "obscure man," historians and genealogists have largely ignored Cecily Plantagenet's possible first marriage. Recent scholarly research indicates, however, that King Richard III did in fact marry Cecily Plantagenet to someone as alleged by Vergil in his history. The correction volume to the Complete Peerage series, volume 14 (1998), pg. 626 (sub Welles) states that Cecily Plantagenet married
" .... sometime after June 1482, probably after the accession of Richard III" to "Ralph Scrope of Upsall, brother of Thomas Lord Scrope of Upsall. This marriage was dissolved in 1486." END OF QUOTE.
The source cited by C.P. 14 for this information is Rosemary Horrox, Richard III, A Study in Service, 1989, pg. 295.
This past week I had a chance to examine Rosemary Horrox's work and she mentions Cecily Plantagenet's marriage to Ralph Scrope in passing in her book on the page cited by C.P. 14. In a footnote, however, Horrox in turn cites as her source for this marriage two other works: R.H. Helmholz, Marriage Litigation in Medieval England (1974): 160, note 89; and S.B. Chrimes, Henry VII (1972): 3536.
I've since examined both the work by Helmholz and the work by Chrimes which are cited by Horrox. Chrimes states that all of King Edward IV's daughters were unmarried in 1485, and, in a footnote, he lists all of these daughters by name and gives particulars of their lives and marriages. He includes Cecily in this list but he does not mention any marriage to Ralph Scrope.
As for Helmholz, on pages 160-161, he includes a long discussion regarding the lack of surviving divorce reccords in medieval England for gentry and nobility, which discussion reads as follows:
"The absence of litigants of the upper classes is also worthy of note. It is fairly certain that the cases where the record gives no occupation for the parties did not involve people of higher standing. We can infer this because when they did appear, their status was specifically identified. Their title was given, they were specifically styled dominus, or the fact of their lordship of a manor was recorded. Several examples appears in the Cause papers at York [see Footnote 89]. In fact, the York records and the thirteenth-century Canterbury sede vacante material produce almost all the litigants of the upper classes that we have. In other dioceses, few or no persons of any rank appear [see Footnote 90]. This may seem strange. We usually think it was the upper classes which made most liberal use of marriage law, especially in suits for divorce. The most likely explanation for their absence from our records is that the gentry and nobility usually brought their disputes directly to the bishop, to be heard by him in person or in his court of audience Also there is reference to marriage cases involving upper class families in most Episcopal registers. This again suggests that these people went directly to the bishop. Perhaps greater privacy was thus available." END OF QUOTE.
Below the discussion above are two footnotes numbered 89 and 90 which read as follows:
Footnote 89: "York Consistory Act Book, vol. 4, f. 88r (1486) is a suit between preclara ac nobilis domina domina Cecilia Plantagenet contra Radulphum Scrope de Upsall." Other examples of upper class litigants: York C.P. E 12/1 (1323); C.P. E 46 (1340); C.P. E 179 (1390); C.P. E 259 (1368-9); Canterbury Ecc. Suit, no. 203 (1294); no. 219 (1301); no. 297 (1293).
Footnote 90: "An exception is Lichfield B/C/1/1, f. 270r (1469), where a litigant was styled armiger."
While Mr. Helmholz makes no effort to identify Lady Cecily Plantagenet, it is obvious that she was in fact King Edward IV's daughter and that she was married by King Richard III as alleged in Vergil's history to someone below her station.
C.P. 14 dates Cecily Plantagenet's marriage to Ralph Scrope as having taken place "sometime after June 1482." The June 1482 date appears to be derived from the first of three documents found in Foedera, by Thomas Rymer, as follows:
l. Agreement dated 11 June 1482 between King Edward IV and Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, contains provision that if Alexander can make himself "clere from all other Women," that within the following year King Edward shall "gyf my Lady Cecille his Douchter on the said Alexander" [Reference: T. Rymer, Fdera 12 (1727): 156157].
2. Document dated 4 Aug. 1482 regarding proposed marriage of the "Ritht Noble Princes Cecile" and James, first born son of King James III of Scotland [Reference: T. Rymer, Fdera 12 (1727): 161-162].
3. Document dated 12 Oct. 1482, whereby King Edward IV utterly rejects the proposed marriage between his daughter, "Cicile," and James, son of James, King of Scotland [Reference: T. Rymer, Fdera 12 (1727): 165-166].
We see that Cecily Plantagenet was definitely unmarried as late as 12 October 1482, when her father, King Edward IV, "utterly" rejected a proposal of marriage for her and the son of the King of Scotland. As noted above, Chrimes' states that all of King Edward IV's daughters (including Cecily) were unmarried in 1485. As such, the marriage of Cecily Plantagenet and Ralph Scrope must have occurred after 12 October 1482 and probably sometime in 1485, just before Henry Tudor invaded England and defeated and killed King Richard III as the Battle of Bosworth 22 August 1485.
As for the identity of Ralph Scrope of Upsall, he is doubtless the same individual as Ralph Scrope of Masham (or Upsall), 3rd son of Thomas Scrope, 5th Lord Scrope of Masham (died 1475), by his wife, Elizabeth de Greystoke. On his brother, Henry's death without issue in 1512, he succeeded as 9th Lord Scrope of Masham (or Upsall) [Reference: C.P. 11 (1949): 571-572 (sub Scrope)]. While hardly from an obscure family, being the younger landless son of a deceased baron, Ralph Scrope was surely much below Cecily Plantagenet's station. Curiously, C.P. 14 makes no mention of Ralph Scrope's brief marriage to Cecily Plantagenet under its listing of corrections and additions for the Scrope family.
I find that Ralph Scrope and Cecily Plantagenet were blood related as follows:
John of Gaunt, Duke of Aquitaine and Lancaster / Robert Ferrers = (1) Joan Beaufort (2) = Ralph Neville __________/ _____/ / / Elizabeth Ferrers Cecily Neville
John Greystoke =Richard, Duke of York
/ / Ralph Greystoke King Edward IV of England
Elizabeth Fitz Hugh =Elizabeth Wydeville
/ / Elizabeth Greystoke /
Thomas Scrope /
/ / Ralph Scrope married Cecily Plantagenet
The above chart shows that Ralph Scrope and Cecily Plantagenet were related in the 4th and 3rd degrees of kindred, being both descended from Joan (or Jane) Beaufort, the legitimated daughter of John of Gaunt. If so, a dispensation would have been required for this marriage. I haven't yet checked for such a dispensation, and, if one knows of its existence, I would appreciate knowing about it.
In summary, it appears that Cecily Plantagenet married sometime in 1485 to Ralph Scrope of Upsall. The marriage was evidently brief and childless. It was dissolved sometime in 1486. Mr. Helmholz deserves much credit for the discovery of the divorce record pertaining to this marriage.
Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Why did someone re-attach Cecily again as a parent? She is not. She had no son. We removed Cecily before, and someone else re-attached this line probably in error or to link to a royal line. However, not to worry, Robert de Welles is a cousin of some sort and attaches in some other generation to royal lineage, just not via Cecily Plantagenet. By attaches a known error it discourages learning the correct links to our past.
In the above link, you will see that two sets of parents were assigned. Neither seem correct, as modern historical accounts say neither pair had a son.
Possible Parents #1: This Robert de Welles is NOT descended from John de Welles and Cecily Plantagenet. (They had two daughters and no son.)
Possible Parents #2: This Robert de Welles, is also NOT the son of Robert Welles and Elizabeth Bourchier. (They were childless.)
Possible Parents #3: This Robert WELLES as a son of Richard DE WELLES 1428-1470 and Joan WILLOUGBY 1430-1462. (Verification?)
Possible Parents #4: Somehow related to: Robert DE WELLES was the father of Thomas DE WELLES 1512-1558 who married Elizabeth BRYAN 1516-1563.
Possible Parents #5: It is possible that this Robert de Welles is a close relative of Governor Welles of Connecticut, and somehow related to him.
Two generations of the Welles-Bouchier family was beheaded, which drove descendants to America. The Bourchier lineage eventually leads to many interesting lines including to the Plantagenet dynasty, via another route leading to Anne of Gloucester, granddaughter of King Edward III.
NOTE'S FROM RESEARCHERS
Robert De WELLES parentage is from Bouchier, not Cecily Plantagenet. I
In my research, many family trees posted on the internet make a connection to EDWARD IV and Elizabeth WOODVILLE through their daughter Cicely PLANTAGENET and her first husband John De WELLES, connecting Robert DE WELLES (or just WELLES) 1446-1470 as their son.
However, a search on the internet of the known children of Cicely PLANTAGENET and John DE WELLES shows only two daughters, Elizabeth and Ann. No son, Robert. So Cecily cannot be his mother.
This led me to try and confirm my original find. Robert DE WELLES was the father of Thomas DE WELLES 1512-1558 who married Elizabeth BRYAN 1516-1563.
Another researcher carried the line through in another direction, as the most recent information, having been posted November 29, 2005. He posts Robert WELLES as a son of Richard DE WELLES 1428-1470 and Joan WILLOUGBY 1430-1462.
Robert WELLES 1 was born about 1484 of Whichford, Warwickshire, England.
- He had the following children.
Thomas WELLES was born in 1512. He died on 30 Aug 1558.
- taxed at Wichfort, Co Warwick in 1523
- Source of possible confusion about correct Robert Welles ancestry-
Genealogical issue with "Robert Welles"-
- John Welles and Cecily of York had 2 daughters only, NO son.
Here's one source of our difficulties: the Gustav Anjou fraudulent genealogies. Some time ago, I ran into the info totally by accident, just by googling the terms "Doty family" and "genealogy".
He lived 1863-1942, and people would hire him to research their families. Many professional genealogists are aware of him and avoid his reports or anything unsourced which might be contaminated by his materials, but most of us amateurs are a little naive about accepting stuff from online... (and offline, for that matter). Not that the internet has been bad for genealogists, just that it perpetuates the bad with the good.
If you want to see a list of the materials that Anjou published, go to http://personal.linkline.com/xymox/fraud/fraud.htm and click on the "Fraudulent Lineages" link. It is a site by the Sons & Daughters of America's First Families (not sure of their antecedents but the site is useful and seems to be clean and safe).
The site contains 1. a set of hallmarks by which you can identify Anjou's handiwork if it isn't identified by author name, and 2. a list of fraudulent genealogies known to be published by Anjou. Unfortunately the list is quite long (Anjou claimed to have published 192 by 1927, and he lived another 15 years) and the Weld/Wells/Welles/Willis/Wilds family is one of them. Most of the families are early New England families, so anyone with roots back that far in the U.S. is likely to run into some of his smoke and mirrors.
- I found this recently in the Wikipedia entry for Cecily of York:
Cecily, had three children, Robert, Elizabeth, and Anne Welles, Elizabeth and Anne both died young, and unmarried. Viscount Welles died on February 9, 1499. Cecily's grief was considerable, and all the correct heraldic and religious honours were paid to her husband.
Any idea where this information comes from? I know Wikipedia is not a great resource, but they had to get their information from somewhere
- John Welles and Cecily of York
beesrock (View posts) Posted: 21 May 2008 5:37PM
Classification: Query Surnames: I also read on Wikipedia that John and Cecily had a son named Robert. This is the only place I have seen this written except for the many on-line family trees that claim the same.
I started looking for a Robert de Welles and this is what I found: Richard de Welles, son of Lionel de Welles and his first wife Joan, and half brother to John, 1st Viscount Welles, had one son and his name was ROBERT. He was the 8th Lord Welles and Willoughby. He was beheaded, by order of the king on the 19th of March 1469 or 1470. He died without heirs.
Now back to 1st Viscount John Welles, it is written in many books the following:
"Both of John's daughters (whom he had with Cecily Plantagenet) died before him. He had no male heirs. The male line of this family expired at his death, (Feb. 9 1499) taking with him the titles to the Barony of Lord Welles and the right to their Coat of Arms"
All I can go by is what I have read, really not knowing how much is fact or fiction. But at this point, I tend to believe that Wikipedia has made an error and that there was no son born to John and Cecily. If any Plantagenet researcher reads this post, and can help clear this matter for us, we would love to hear from you!!!
The matter of Cicely Plantagenet has been cleared up. The mother of this Robert de Welles was Elizabeth Bourchier. When you go back, you will find Plantagenet lines. It was said that the family informed the genealogist that there was a Plantagenet ancestry and the genealogist gave Cicely incorrectly as the mother and the wrong Robert de Welles. No big deal. It is now corrected to the right Robert de Welles and correct mother, who is a Bourchier. You will also see why this Robert de Welles line moved to America, his father and grandfather were beheaded and thus lost power in England during the War of the Roses. This line is a noble line leading to Plantagenets, jut not by Cicely.
However, John de Welles and Elizabeth Bourchier are NOT the parents as it appears they had no children.
It is likely that this Robert de Welles is a close relative of Governor Welles of Connecticut.
- 'Robert Welles (Wellys)
- 'M, b. circa 1484, d. after 1523
- ' Robert Welles (Wellys) married Elizabeth. Robert Welles (Wellys) was born circa 1484 at of Whichford, Warwick, England. He died after 1523.
- 'Family Elizabeth
- Walter Welles b. c 1510, d. bt 1 Dec 1577 - 9 Dec 1577
- Thomas Welles+ b. c 1512, d. 30 Aug 1558
- William Welles b. c 1514
- From: http://our-royal-titled-noble-and-commoner-ancestors.com/p26.htm#i763
/// I got this note from someone on Ancestry.com saying that John and Cecily can NOT be the parents:
"Unfortunately your Tree is incorrect. The above people had no son named Robert. If they had had a son , he would have been the next Baron Welles on his father
s death, but the Barony became extinct on the death of John de Welles.
This is taken from Cracrofts Peerage--
"John [Welles], 10th Baron Welles later 1st Viscount Welles, KG
betw. 25 Nov 1487 and 1 Jan 1487/8 the Princess Cecily (b. 20 Mar 1468/9; mar. (2) betw. 13 May 1502 and Jan 1503/4 Thomas Kyme, of Friskney, co. Lincoln; d. 24 Aug 1507; bur. in Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight), 3rd dau. of King Edward IV by his wife Lady Elizabeth Wydville, 1st dau. of Richard [Wydville], 1st Earl Rivers
1. Elizabeth Welles (dvp. an infant)
2. Anne Welles (dvp. an infant; bur. in the Church of the Austin Friars, London)
s.p.s. 9 Feb 1498/9 (bur. in Westminster Abbey)
between Nov 1485 and 8 Feb 1485/6 Viscount Welles
as John Welles, of Maxey, co. Northampton, late of Bletsoe, co. Bedford, he had a general pardon 1478; took part in the failed rebellion of the Duke of Buckingham 1483 and afterwards fled to Brittany; attainted by Act of Parliament 1483/4; returning to England with his nephew, the Earl of Richmond, he was knighted by him at Milford Haven 1485 and recognized as Lord Welles, becoming so de facto when his own attainder and those of his brother and nephew were reversed by Act of Parliament 1485; Constable of Bolingbroke Castle and Steward of the Duchy of Lancaster lands in Lincolnshire 1485; Constable and Steward of Rockingham Castle, Master of the Game in Rockingham Forest, Steward of Richmond Fee, co. Lincoln, and of the the Lordship and Manor of Holderness 1485; Knight of the Garter 1486; granted the lands forfeited by Lord Lovel and others 1488; granted the castles of Caerleon and Usk for life 1490; took part in the Boulogne expedition 1492; a Joint Commissioner to treat with the Duke of Burgundy 1495/6
On the death of Viscount Welles the Viscountcy of Welles became extinct and the Barony of Welles fell into abeyance between his four sisters of the half-blood or their issue.
Fran" -- seems like some good points!
Robert de Welles's Timeline
Whichford, Warwickshire, England
June 21, 1512
Stourton, Whichford, Warwickshire, England
Stoulton, Worcester, England>
August 30, 1558
Stourton, Whichford, Warwickshire, England