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3 Apr 2015

Richard the Third mania

I enjoy re-reading the Plantagenet story, and trying to remember the many husbands of the key women, the various Eleanors, Elizabeths and Mauds. And certainly seeing if more has emerged of Richard the Third's female line.

Empress Anne of Hungary, wife of Ferdinand, performed the neat trick of buying up the best genetic real estate. She has got the maternal-line rights to a large chunk of Europe's royalty. Her line includes such gems as Queen Victoria, all the good-time Louis kings, Philip of Spain and Philip of Edinburgh.

Small wonder there were precious little maternal line goodies left for Cecily of York and her sisters, whose fortunes wavered so dramatically during the wars of the Roses. They spent the Tudor period holed up in damp crumbling piles, far from Westminster palaces.  It sounded very hard work to unearth this clan.

I got extremely jealous of those with a personal connection to the Roses folk, and decided I would try to find my own. First step, to browse the book of Americans with Royal descent, to see which English towns harboured them during the crucial 1600s period.

Then I remembered I had a slightly Royal connection in my Cornish line, waiting for my attention. Mary Harry born 1640 was the granddaughter of Alexander Angove of Phillack whose ancestor quite possibly had been Michael Angove the blacksmith hung at Tyburn in 1497. He had led a march to London protesting against the Welsh King's taxes.

But it was Mary's grandmother who the spotlight turned on. Apparently owning a tenement in a deer park, at Park house - a Grade II listed building, still standing in distant Egloshayle. It seemed romantically possible that she was the daughter of Reginald Haweis, landowner at Treworgie. And whose father is listed as Stephen Hawes of the Bushes, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk. And who has been conflated with another Stephen Hawes - somewhat older and from Aldeburgh, Suffolk, a poet and later gentleman of the bedchamber, a courtier (for that old rogue, Henry the Seventh).

And, who was of course, inevitably, rumoured to be.... an illegitimate son of Richard the Third. Which is where we started.

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