Posts Tagged ‘de la Pole’


3 JULY 1437

   Posted by: Lawrence Osborn    in Events in History

William de la Pole and Alice Chaucer, later duke and duchess of Suffolk, are licenced to found an almshouse at Ewelme for thirteen poor men and two chaplains.  The almshouse was called God’s House.  The statutes of 1448 show that by then a grammar school was added.  The almshouse as well as the school exist to this day.

Source:  ODNB on Alice Chaucer, duchess of Suffolk

Cloister of the almshouse at Ewelme (© Dorothea Preis)

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BY 20 MAY 1492

   Posted by: Lawrence Osborn    in Events in History

Death of John de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, only son of William de la Pole and Alice Chaucer.  As a child, John was married Margaret Beaufort, but the marriage contract was dissolved in February 1453 by Henry VI.  In 1458 he married instead Elizabeth, the daughter of Richard, duke of York, and Cecily Neville, a sister of Edward IV and Richard III.  They had 11 children.  They were buried together at Wingfield, Suffolk.




   Posted by: Lawrence Osborn    in Events in History

Death of Alice Chaucer, duchess of Suffolk. She is buried in St Mary’s Church Ewelme.  Her tomb (pictured left) shows her wearing the Garter insignia on her left forearm.  The tomb is remarkable:   Alice’s effigy rests on an alabaster tomb chest, with a cadaver effigy below.

Alice had been married as a child to Sir John Phelip, who died when she was only 11 years old.  After 1421 she married Thomas Montagu, earl of Salisbury.  After his death in 1438, she married in November 1430 William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk.

Source: ODNB on Alice Chaucer, duchess of Suffolk

Photograph of the tomb of Alice Chaucer by the present author.

Dorothea Preis

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Next General Meeting 10 Feb. 2018

   Posted by: Leslie McCawley    in Meetings

We would like to invite you to our first meeting of the new year, on 10 Feb. 2018 at 2pm at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts.

Our speaker will be our own Dorothea, who has spoken to us often on many different Ricardian topics. Her chosen topic will be “William & Alice de la Pole’s God’s House at Ewelme”.

The cloister of God’s House at Ewelme

As many of us know, Dorothea came originally from Germany. After living for 5 years in the UK, she came to Australia in 1998. Dorothea joined the Richard III Society in 2004 and has since served in a variety of positions on the committee of the NSW Branch, at present as Membership Secretary. In addition, she is a member of the Bulletin Committee of the Society as a whole.

Dorothea has always been fascinated by things relating to Richard’s time in our world today, be it places or items or even ideas. Another area of interest is the lives of medieval people. Therefore, God’s House was an obvious choice: it is a place you can visit today, it hasn’t changed much since the 15th century and it involves the de la Pole family, who were anything but boring.

Dorothea decided to be a bit like the story of ‘Muhammad and the mountain’, if we can’t pop over to Oxfordshire to the real God’s House, God’s House will have to come here. We look forward to hearing her presentation!

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Literary Trivia

   Posted by: Julia Redlich    in Medieval Miscellany, Quotes

Elizabeth George, Believing the Lie, Hodder & Stoughton, 2012, pbk ISBN 978 1 444 7 05980

H. Rider Haggard, Montezuma’s Daughter, first published 1896, various later editions as well as ebook formats are available.

Checking the new Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley novel for pro-Richard III comments, I was rather disappointed. These comments have not appeared recently, probably since Inspector Lynley’s wife Helen was murdered and hasn’t been there to tease him about his obsession or to wonder why he likes going to a place near Leicester in August. However I did find this which shows a Shakespearean look:

Valerie is looking at her husband, Bernard. “She glanced at him then. Such a little man, actually, he was shorter than she by nearly five inches. Small, a little delicate, mischievous looking, cocky, grinning … My God, she thought, all he needed was a hunchback, a doublet, and tights. She’d been as easily seduced as the Lady Anne.”

There may be more in this very enjoyable book. I couldn’t put it down for all the twist.

The other day, I was channel surfing and came to Lifestyle channel, Country House Rescue. One episode featured a place in Norfolk that I knew. Checking it on a map of Norfolk I saw it was near Bungay, and thought “that’s where Thomas Wingfield lived”. Funny how names from books first read in childhood are never forgotten! When I was 10 one of the teachers at my school was talking about Cortez and Mexico etc, and told us that if we wanted to know a little more we would enjoy Rider Haggard’s book Montezuma’s Daughter, something my father obligingly bought for me. It must have been one of the first “grown-up” books I read, but Thomas Wingfield became a permanent hero! Checking my copy again I loved this paragraph, where Thomas says:

Long ago the heiress of the Wingfields married a De La Pole, a family famous in our history, the last of whom, Edmund, Earl of Suffolk, lost his head for treason when I was young and the castle passed to the De La Poles with her.

Not really Ricardian, but not surprising because Haggard lived in Norfolk/Suffolk and would have been aware of the history of the county. But I was happy to know that my hero Thomas was related to Richard’s sister Elizabeth.

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Alice Chaucer on the ODNB

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in News

Julia and I were talking yesterday about Alice Chaucer, granddaughter of Geoffrey Chaucer and wife of John de la Pole, duke of Suffolk.  Complementing our discussion is today’s free biography of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  You can find Rowena Archer’s biography of this fascinating woman at, but only during this week.  While you are there make sure that you sign up for the free ‘Lives of the Week’, many of which are relevant to our period of interest.

Illustration: Alice Chaucer’s effigy in Ewelme church (photograph by Dorothea Preis)