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Eleanor Butler (Talbot)

Also Known As: "Lady Eleanor Talbot"
Birthdate: (23)
Birthplace: Shrewsbury, England
Death: June 30, 1468 (19-27)
Abbey, Renfrewshire, , Scotland
Place of Burial: Church of the White Carmelites, Norwich, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and Margaret Talbot (de Beauchamp), Countess Talbot
Wife of Sir Thomas Butler
Partner of Edward IV of England
Mother of Edward de Wigmore
Sister of Sir Humphrey Talbot, Marshal of Calais; Lewis Talbot; John Talbot, Jr., 1st Viscount Lisle; Margaret Talbot; Elizabeth Talbot, Duchess of Norfolk and 2 others
Half sister of Parkin Talbot; Ann Bottreaux; Katherine Talbot; Thomas Talbot and John Talbot, 2nd Earl Shrewsbury

Managed by: Douglas John Nimmo
Last Updated:

About Eleanor Butler

Lady Eleanor Talbot

From Wikipedia

Lady Eleanor Talbot (c. 1436 - 30 June 1468), also known by her married name Eleanor Butler, was a daughter of John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. After the death of king Edward IV of England it was claimed by his brother Richard, the future Richard III, that she had had a legal precontract of marriage to Edward, which invalidated the king's later marriage to Elizabeth Woodville. According to Richard, this meant that he, rather than Edward's sons, was the true heir to the throne. Richard took the crown and imprisoned Edward's sons, who subsequently disappeared.

After the overthrow and death of Richard at the hands of Henry Tudor, the precontract alleged by Richard was presented as a fiction to justify Richard's usurpation of power and to cover his murder of the princes. Most subsequent historians have agreed with this view.[1] Supporters of Richard, however, have argued that the precontract was real and that it legitimated his ascent to the throne.[2]. ...


Listing her as a mistress of Edward lV of England can not be ruled as fact and has no notice by the Official British Crown website or anywhere else as fact. There is no record to prove it.


  • F, #90644, b. circa 1428, d. 30 June 1468
  • Father Sir John Talbot, 4th Earl Shrewsbury, Wexford, Waterford, 7th Lord Talbot, Count of Clermont1,7,2,8,4,5,9 b. c 1392, d. 17 Jul 1453
  • Mother Margaret Beauchamp2,8,4,5,9 b. 1404, d. 14 Jun 1467

Eleanor Talbot was born circa 1428 at of Ley in Westbury upon Severn, Lydney Shrewsbury, Moreton Valence, & Painswick, Gloucestershire, England.1 A settlement for the marriage Eleanor Talbot and Sir Thomas Boteler, Master of Sudeley was made on 10 May 1453; They had no issue.1,2,3,4,5,6 Eleanor Talbot died on 30 June 1468.1,4,5

Family Sir Thomas Boteler, Master of Sudeley b. c 1422, d. b 15 Jan 1460

  • Citations
  • 1.[S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. XII/1, p. 421.
  • 2.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 140.
  • 3.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 172.
  • 4.[S6] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 231.
  • 5.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 88-89.
  • 6.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 124.
  • 7.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 704.
  • 8.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV, p. 169-170.
  • 9.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. V, p. 121-122.
  • From:



  • Eleanor Talbot1
  • F, #107608, d. 1468
  • Last Edited=1 May 2002
  • Eleanor Talbot died in 1468.1
  • She was also known as Eleanor Butler.1
  • Child of Eleanor Talbot and Edward IV Plantagenet, King of England
    • 1.Edward de Wigmore1 b. c 1467, d. 1468
  • Citations
  • 1.[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 141. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.
  • From:


  • Eleanor Talbot1
  • F, #588456
  • Last Edited=29 Mar 2013
  • Eleanor Talbot is the daughter of Richard Talbot, 4th Lord Talbot. She married Thomas Botiler, son of Ralph le Botiler, 7th Lord Sudeley and Elizabeth (?).1
  • Sister of 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford (qv).1 Her married name became Botiler.
  • Citations
  • 1.[S37] BP2003 volume 3, page 3810. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • From:


  • Eleanor TALBOT (B. Sudeley)
  • Died: 30 Jun 1468
  • Notes: Most historians are today skeptical of the Eleanor Butler story, chiefly because it was Richard III's SECOND attempt to establish the illegitimacy of Edward IV or his descendants. The first attempt, incredibly enough, was a claim that Edward himself had been illegitimate. This story probably rested ultimately upon the fact that Edward had been born outside England, in Rouen. There could, then, have been some doubts as to the circumstances of his conception and birth, as there had been with Richard II who had been born in Bordeaux, and who had against whom there had also been charges that his real father had not been the Black Prince but a "certain lady-faced priest" who was a member of Richard's mother's household. In Richard's case, his lack of close resemblance to the magnificent and warlike Black Prince made it easier for people to give some credit to these rumors. What defeated this first claim by Richard was, of course, that in order to establish Edward's illegitimate, Richard perforce had to claim or imply that his own mother, Cecily duchess of York, had committed adultery--and she was still alive in 1483. By some cosmic coincidence, moreover, Richard dined with Cecily in her London residence at Baynard's Castle on the evening of the day Richard's partisans had first advanced the claim of Edward's illegitimacy. Many historians have expressed the wish they had been a fly on the wall in the dining room that night. Whatever happened, the story was withdrawn the next day and the Eleanor Butler claim was then substituted for it. It is odd that given the clandestine circumstances of Edward IV's real marriage, to Elizabeth Woodville, Richard never tried to establish that it was unlawful, except to claim that it was doubtful because Edward had not consulted his barons about it, as a King should do. The only attempt to undermine the Woodville marriage was made through the claim that Edward had previously agreed to marry Lady Eleanor Butler, a daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Nor has the text of such a marriage contract ever been discovered. When, in 1483, people began to ask if she couldn't be questioned about the matter, Richard's partisans explained that she had taken the veil after Edward abandoned her, and had subsequently died--very convenient, one must say. It's significant that no members of the Butler family were ever interrogated on the matter, nor did the Church ever issue any declaration that the Woodville marriage was invalid.
  • Cokayne says Eleanor was a sister of Sir John Talbot, but the pro-Richard III camp has her as a daughter of an Earl of Shrewsbury. Exactly which Earl is not made clear, unfortunately.
  • In 1449 or 1450, Eleanor married Sir Thomas Butler (son of Ralph Butler, Lord Sudeley), who died some time before Mar 1461. In the political turmoil surrounding the change of monarchs then, the widowed Eleanor's father-in-law took back one of the two manors he had settled on her and her husband when they married, but he did not complete the required paperwork by obtaining a licence for the transfer of title, and the new King, Edward IV, seized both the properties.
  • The exact course of events is uncertain, but it seems that Eleanor went directly to King Edward to ask him to return her property. Edward (who, though barely out of his teens, already had a reputation for womanizing) was more interested in her than in her property. It is said that Edward made a legally binding contract to marry her. According to the French political analyst, Phillippe De Commines, the priest who later came forward and testified to having performed the ceremony was Robert Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells. Edward married Elizabeth Woodville in 1464, and it was later suggested that one reason the marriage was not announced publicly was the danger that Eleanor would come forward with the news of her earlier marriage to the King. Stillington rose to be Chancellor of England, along with other lucrative posts.
  • Lady Eleanor Butler died in a convent, and was buried in the Church of the White Carmelites, Norwich, England. Some years later, the priest in question (Commynes is the only source who identifies him as Stillington) is said to have told King Edward's unstable and untrustworthy brother, George, Duke of Clarence, about the pre-contract. Clarence was already on the verge of rebellion against his elder brother; Edward now threw both his brother and Stillington into the Tower of London. Clarence was tried before Parliament (with Edward himself as his accuser) in Jan 1478, convicted of treason, and sentenced to be executed.
  • There has been speculation that the reason Clarence was killed privately in the Tower (whether he was really drowned in a "butt of Malmsey" wine or not) may have been that Edward wanted to ensure that he did not have an opportunity to disclose in public the secret that would make his brother's children illegitimate and himself the next in line for the throne. Stillington's imprisonment was to be a warning. Only after Edward's death did he come forward publicly with that evidence, this time offering it to the future Richard III of England, to prevent Edward IV's son from being crowned as Edward V. Richard then took the throne.
  • No records survive of the meeting of the Parliamentary lords on 9 Jun 1483, where Stillington is said to have presented the evidence of the pre-contract, including documents and other witnesses. The Duke of Buckingham is supposed to have told Morton afterwards that he had believed that evidence when he saw it but had later changed his mind. When Henry VII came to the throne, he ordered all documents relating to the case to be destroyed, as well as the act of parliament by which Richard was enabled to claim the throne; so efficiently were his orders carried out that only one copy of Titulus Regius has ever been found.
  • After Richard's death, Tudor "historians" - including Sir Thomas More in his History of Richard III - named Elizabeth Lucy as the woman Stillington testified he had married to Edward. Elizabeth Lucy (who may also have been called Elizabeth Wayte) was probably the mother of Edward IV's bastard son Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle. An autopsy has revealed that a corpse most likely to be Eleanor Butler had borne no children. Thus his two daughters must have been from a different mother.
  • Father: John TALBOT (2° E. Shrewsbury)
  • Mother: Elizabeth BUTLER (C. Shrewsbury)
  • Married: Thomas BUTLER (B. Sudeley)
  • Associated with: EDWARD IV PLANTAGENET (King of England)
  • Children:
    • 1. Dau. PLANTAGENET
    • 2. Dau. PLANTAGENET
  • From: TALBOT (B. Sudeley)

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Eleanor Butler's Timeline

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