Happy Canada Day!

This Canada Day is extra-happy for me, because it marks the beginning of my new series of smallbooks. Check this out!

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I’m so excited about these little books. Each one is smaller than a cellphone. I draw and colour the artwork using watercolours and/or alcohol-based markers, scan it and add text on the computer, print off the pages and assemble the books by hand at my kitchen table.

With inspiration and encouragement from gallery owner David Dossett, these smallbooks are now available at Martello Alley, in Kingston, Ontario.  Drop by and check them out. Yep, the gallery is even open on Canada Day!

On my Everdello blog, I wrote about Martello Alley, my stint there as guest artist in June 2019, and my new Everdello Colouring Book.  Now I’m busy and happy with this new project.  There are two “smallbooks” in the series so far, with more to come–so please stay tuned. And Happy Canada Day!

Jacquetta and Richard: A Story Begins

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This is a story about sixteen generations of ancestors, from the fancy royal ones and the not-so-law-abiding ones all the way down to my own Dad. Sincere thanks to Mick Henry, of the Sussex Family History Group, who first drew my attention to the royal connection on my Stanbridge line. I might never have figured it out on my own!

My 16th great-grandmother Jacquetta de Luxembourg was from a European royal family. After her first husband died, she married Richard Woodville. They got married in secret around 1437 and eventually had fourteen children.

Philippa Gregory wrote a novel based on Jacquetta’s life. It’s called The Lady of the Rivers, because Richard’s title was Earl Rivers.

Jacquetta and Richard’s eldest daughter married the king of England: King Edward IV. This made the whole family very rich and powerful, but it also put them right in the middle of a struggle for the crown.

During a battle in 1469, Richard and one of his sons were captured and beheaded.

Jacquetta lived for many years afterward. People said she was descended from a water goddess (like a mermaid). They said she used magic and cast spells. King Richard III even tried her for witchcraft, but Jacquetta was eventually found not-guilty.

One of her great-grandsons was the famous King Henry VIII.

We’re descended from Jacquetta & Richard’s son Anthony Woodville (1442-1483)

Next  Anthony: A Great Knight


 

Thanks for following along! Please stay tuned for a new Storydello sequence–coming soon. In the meantime, you might like to learn more about Jacquetta and her parents, here.

 

Anthony: A Great Knight

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Anthony was a knight who fought in many famous battles and tournaments.  He was also a scholar and a poet, and he published one of the first books in English. You can learn more about him in this Wikipedia article.

When he was about 19, his sister announced that she had secretly married the king of England (King Edward IV).

Soon afterward, Anthony was also married. He and his wife didn’t have any children, but he had a daughter with his girlfriend, Gwenillian. We’re descended from this daughter:  Margaret Woodville.

For ten years, Anthony was in charge of the household of his little nephew, the Prince of Wales. Then the King died suddenly. Overnight, the 12-year old Prince became “King Edward V.”

Anthony was asked to take the boy to London to be crowned. But they never made it. The dead king’s brother wanted the throne for himself, so Anthony was intercepted on the road back to London. He was given a fake trial, found guilty, and beheaded.

The 12-year-old was thrown into prison with his half-brother, and the two “Princes in the Tower” were never seen again. Instead, the dead king’s brother was crowned: King Richard III.

Anthony’s parents were Richard Woodville and Jacquetta De Luxembourg.

Next  Margaret: A Knight’s Daughter

Sources [pdf]

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Anthony (kneeling, second from left) and William Caxton (dressed in black) present their book to King Edward IV. (Lambeth Palace Library, MS 265, London, England.)

 

Margaret: A Knight’s Daughter

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Margaret’s father was Anthony, a great and famous knight, and her mother was a Welsh noblewoman named Gwenillian Stradling. Her parents were not married, but everyone knew Margaret was Anthony’s daughter because:

  • when she got married, her father gave her money for her dowry,
  • she named one of her sons “Anthony,” and
  • when she died, her husband built a chapel over her tomb, with his-and-her family crests intertwined: Woodville and Poyntz. (One of the symbols was carved upside-down to show that Margaret had been born out-of-wedlock.)

Around 1480, Margaret married Robert Poyntz. They lived in a manor house called Acton Court (in Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, England) which you can see in the picture. It still exists, and there’s a beautiful webpage about it: The History of Acton Court.

After Margaret’s father was killed in 1483, his enemy King Richard III, took the throne. Richard’s reign didn’t last very long, and a new king (Henry VII) was soon crowned. Henry VII married Margaret’s cousin, Elizabeth of York.

Being so close to the royal family, Margaret and her husband had plenty of money and prestige. They had eight children, and we’re descended from their youngest son, John.

Margaret’s father was Anthony Woodville (1442-1483).

Next   John: In the Court of Henry VIII

Sources [pdf]

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Shield showing arms of Poynts impaling Woodville on the ceiling of Gaunt’s Chapel in Bristol, from Wikimedia Commons.

 

John: In the Court of Henry VIII

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John was the youngest son of Robert Poyntz and Margaret Woodville. He had four elder sisters and three elder brothers.

When John grew up, he served at the court of King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon. Later he served as a Member of Parliament. There’s a Wikipedia article about him.

John was friends with the writer Thomas Wyatt, who wrote a satirical poem about him, and a famous artist named Hans Holbein drew a portrait of him. Here it is:

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Portrait of John Poyntz by Hans Holbein the Younger

John’s eldest son Henry had some sort of disability, so when John made his will he made sure there would be extra money to care for him.

After John’s first wife died, he married a woman named Margaret Saunders, with whom he had three sons and three daughters.

John died in 1544 when his children were still young. We’re descended from the youngest child, William, who was just a baby when his father passed away.

John’s mother was Margaret Woodville (c1444-1519).

Next  William: Ancestor of Lady Di

Sources [pdf]

William: Ancestor of Lady Di

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His father died in 1544 when William was just a little boy, but when William grew up, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a Member of Parliament.

When William was about 25 years old, he married Elizabeth Newdigate. They lived in a house called Woodhatch, in Reigate, Surrey, England.

Next door lived one of William’s sisters (Alice) who was married to one of Elizabeth’s cousins (John Skynner). The two couples were close friends as well as relations.

Alice and John didn’t have children of their own, but they were godparents to some of William & Elizabeth’s children, and left their house and property to them when they died.

William and Elizabeth had seven daughters and one son. Lady Diana Spencer and her sons (Prince William and Prince Harry) are descended from the son, John. We’re descended from the third daughter, Ann.

William’s father was John Poyntz (c1485-1544).

Next  Ann: Scolds her Son

Sources [pdf]

Ann: Scolds her Son

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My ancestor Ann Poyntz married Francis More in 1588, and they lived in Wivelsfield, Sussex, England. Their house was called More House, and it’s still standing.

Photo of More House from Tricia King 2014-11-19c

Photo of More House kindly provided by Tricia King

Ann and Francis had six sons and two daughters. We’re descended from their eldest son Thomas, who was selfish and proud.

When Ann’s husband made his will in 1617, he put Thomas in charge of all the money, with instructions to share it with his brothers and sisters. Thomas didn’t obey. He kept it all for himself.

Thirty years later, when Ann was dying, she begged Thomas to pay the amount owing “without spite or controversy.” She especially wanted her son Walter to receive some money, since he’d been taking care of her for eight years “because of her great age and other infirmities.”

In the end, Ann didn’t really trust Thomas to carry out her wishes, so she “set aside rank and tradition” and put Walter in charge of her will instead.

To Thomas she left just a small amount of money, and to Thomas’s wife she left her best petticoat!

Ann’s father was William Poyntz (c1544-1601).

Next  Thomas: Smoking in Church

Sources [pdf]