Richard III’s ‘Beloved Cousyn’

   Posted by: Kevin Herbert   in

John Ashdown Hill, Richard III’s ‘Beloved Cousyn’ – John Howard and the House of York . The History Press, 2009. ISBN 978 0 7524 5131 2

This is a very interesting and informative account of the John Howard, who by 1485 had become Earl Marshal of England and Duke of Norfolk:  the man, as a member of a family, as a friend of highly placed personages  and as a person of his time.  It explores his place in the day to day functions of his ducal relatives, the Mowbray Dukes of Norfolk.

It doesn’t white-wash John Howard but presents him warts and all.  He is seen as a man of his time – loyal to those he loves and respects, popular, ambitious, fairly ruthless, occasionally brutal, but with a certain wit, empathy, intelligence, strongly held opinions and views, faithful and steadfast even to death for family and friends.

Every scenario presented is done to great effect, nowhere does it descend into the realms of the fanciful. Every opinion, claim and deduction is clearly supported by strong compelling contemporary evidence and argument.  I was unaware of several of John Howard’s close relationships – i.e. with John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, for instance and was certainly unaware of the close connection between William, Lord Berkeley and Eleanor Butler, though I knew of the constant litigation begun by Margaret Beauchamp (mother of the Margaret Beaufort) against William’s mother, Isobel Lady Berkeley,  and her in-law’s and connections,  including the three Beauchamp daughters (one of whom was Margaret , Lady Talbot , mother of Eleanor nee Talbot  Butler) of Richard Beauchamp’s first marriage .

I found it a truly well researched book and an easy read, though I suggest, it’s better to take it chapter by chapter, the better to consider and weigh up its arguments and claims.

If you are interested in finding out more about the author, visit John’s own website.