Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameMargaret 8th Countess of Salisbury , 6958
FatherGeorge PLANTAGANET Duke of Clarence , 6961 (1449-1478)
MotherLady Isabel NEVILLE , 6959 (1451-1476)
FatherSir Geoffrey POLE , 6971
MotherEdith St JOHN , 6972
ChildrenUrsula , 6931 (-1570)
 Reginald , 6962 (1500-1558)
 Geoffrey , 6963
 Arthur , 6964
 Henry , 6965 (1492-1539)
Notes for Margaret 8th Countess of Salisbury
Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (14 August 1473 - 27 May 1541) was an English peeress, one of two women in sixteenth-century England to be a peeress in her own right with no titled husband,[2] the daughter of George of Clarence, the brother of King Edward IV and King Richard III. She was among the few surviving members of the Plantagenet dynasty after the Wars of the Roses; she was executed in 1541 at the command of King Henry VIII, who was her cousin Elizabeth's son. Pope Leo XIII beatified her as a martyr for the Roman Catholic Church on 29 December 1886.


Lady Margaret was born at Farleigh Hungerford Castle in Somerset, the eldest daughter of the 1st Duke of Clarence and the former Isabella Neville, elder daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and of Salisbury ("Warwick the Kingmaker") and Anne Beauchamp, his wife, who inherited the Earldom of Warwick. Her grandfather was killed fighting against her uncle, Edward IV of England at the Battle of Barnet; her father had then been created Earl of Salisbury and of Warwick; he was already Duke of Clarence. Edward IV had declared that her brother Edward should be known as Earl of Warwick as a courtesy title, but no peerage was ever created for him.

When she was three, her mother and her youngest brother died; her father killed two of his servants who he thought had poisoned them. He plotted against Edward IV, his brother, and was attainted and executed for treason, and his lands and titles forfeited. When she was ten, Edward IV died; her uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, declared that Edward's marriage was invalid, his children illegitimate, and that Margaret and her brother Edward were debarred from the throne by their father's attainder. He assumed the throne himself as Richard III of England.
Richard III ordered the children held at Sheriff Hutton Castle in Yorkshire, since they were rivals for the throne. When he was defeated by Henry VII of England, at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the new king married her cousin Elizabeth, Edward IV's daughter. He kept her brother Edward in the Tower of London. Edward was briefly displayed in public at St Paul's Cathedral in 1487 in response to the presentation of the impostor Lambert Simnel as the 'Earl of Warwick' to the Irish lords. Shortly thereafter, probably in November 1487, Henry VII gave Margaret in marriage to his cousin, Sir Richard Pole, whose mother was half-sister of the King's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort; this would make it more difficult for plotters to use her as figurehead. When Perkin Warbeck impersonated her cousin Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York in 1499, her brother Edward was attainted and executed for involvement in the plot.
Sir Richard Pole held a variety of offices in Henry VII's government, the highest being Chamberlain for Arthur, Prince of Wales, Henry's elder son. When Arthur married Catherine of Aragon, Margaret Pole became one of her ladies-in-waiting, but her entourage was dissolved when Arthur died in 1502, in his teens.
When her husband died in 1504, Margaret Pole was a widow with five children, a limited amount of land inherited from her husband, no salary and no prospects; Henry VII paid for Sir Richard's funeral. To ease the situation, Lady Pole devoted her third son Reginald Pole to the Church, where he was to have an eventful career: papal Legate, Archbishop of Canterbury, accused by the Pope of heresy; he was to bitterly resent this abandonment in later life.

Countess of Salisbury

When Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509, he married Catherine of Aragon himself; Lady Pole was again appointed one of her ladies-in-waiting. In 1512, Parliament restored to her her brother's lands, which were the Warwick and Salisbury lands of her grandfather; Henry VII had controlled them, first during her brother's minority and then during his imprisonment, and had confiscated them after his trial; the same Act also restored to her the Earldom of Salisbury.[6]
She managed her lands well; by 1538, she was the fifth richest peer in England. She was a patron of the new learning, like many Renaissance nobles; Gentian Hervet translated Erasmus' de immensa misericordia Dei (The Great Mercy of God) into English for her.

Her first son, Henry Pole, was created Baron Montagu, another of the Neville titles; he spoke for the family in the House of Lords. Her second son, Sir Arthur Pole, had a generally successful career as a courtier, becoming one of the six Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber; he had a setback when his patron Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was convicted of treason in 1521, but was soon restored to favor. He died young about 1526, having married the heiress of Sir Roger Lewknor; the Countess and Lord Montagu pressed his widow to a vow of perpetual chastity to preserve her inheritance for her Pole children. Her daughter Ursula had married the Duke of Buckingham's son, Edward Stafford; but after the Duke's fall, the couple was given only some fragments of his estates. The Countess raised her Stafford granddaughters.

Her third son, Reginald Pole, studied abroad in Padua; he was dean in Exeter and in Dorset, and canon in York, as well as several other livings, although he had not been ordained a priest; he represented Henry VIII in Paris in 1529, persuading the theologians of the Sorbonne to support Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon.[7] Her youngest son Geoffrey Pole also married well: to Catherine, daughter of Sir Edmund Pakenham, and inherited the estate of Lordington. He sat in the House of Commons from a family seat, and was in Thomas Cromwell's service at Anne Boleyn's coronation in 1533.

The Countess of Salisbury's own favor at Court varied. She had a dispute over land with Henry VIII in 1518; he awarded the contested lands to the Duchy of Somerset, which had been held by his Beaufort grandfather — and was now in the possession of the Crown – i.e., Henry. In 1520, Salisbury was appointed Governess to Henry's daughter, the Lady Mary; the next year, when her sons were mixed up with Buckingham, she was removed, but she was restored by 1525. When Mary was declared a bastard in 1533, the Countess refused to give Mary's gold plate and jewels back to Henry; when Mary's household was broken up at the end of the year, Salisbury asked to serve Mary at her own cost, but was not permitted; when the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys suggested, two years later, that Mary be handed over to the Countess, Henry refused, calling her "a fool, of no experience." When Anne Boleyn was arrested, and eventually executed, in 1536, Salisbury was permitted to return to Court — briefly.[8]


In May 1536, Reginald Pole finally and definitively broke with the King. In 1531, he had warned of the dangers of the Boleyn marriage; he had returned to Padua in 1532, and received a last English benefice in December. Chapuys had suggested to the Emperor Charles V that Pole marry the Lady Mary and combine their dynastic claims; Chapuys also communicated with Reginald through his brother Geoffrey. Now Pole replied to books Henry sent him with his own pamphlet, pro ecclesiasticae unitatis defensione, or de unitate which denied Henry's position on the marriage of a brother's wife, and denied the Royal Supremacy; Pole also urged the Princes of Europe to depose Henry immediately. Henry wrote to the Countess, who in turn wrote to her son a letter reproving him for his "folly."[9]
In 1537, Pole (still not ordained) was created a Cardinal; Pope Paul III put him in charge of organizing assistance for the Pilgrimage of Grace (and related movements), an effort to organize a march on London to install a Roman Catholic government instead of Henry's; neither Francis I of France nor the Emperor supported this effort, and the English government tried to have him assassinated. In 1539, Pole was sent to the Emperor to organize an embargo against England — the sort of countermeasure he had himself warned Henry was possible.

Sir Geoffrey Pole was arrested in August 1538; he had been corresponding with Reginald, and the investigation of Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter (Henry VIII's first cousin and the Countess' second cousin) had turned up his name; he had appealed to Thomas Cromwell, who had him arrested and interrogated. Under interrogation, Sir Geoffrey said that his eldest brother, Lord Montagu, and the Marquess had been parties to his correspondence with Reginald. Montagu, Exeter, and Lady Salisbury were arrested in November 1538.

In January 1539, Sir Geoffrey was pardoned, and Montagu (and Exeter) were executed for treason after trial. In May 1539, Montagu, Lady Salisbury, Exeter and others were attainted, as her father had been; this conviction meant they lost their titles and their lands — mostly in the South of England, conveniently located to assist any invasion; they were sentenced to death, and could be executed at the King's will. As part of the evidence for the Bill of Attainder, Cromwell produced a tunic bearing the Five Wounds of Christ, symbolizing her support for Roman Catholicism and the rule of Reginald and Mary; the supposed discovery, six months after her house and effects were searched at her arrest, is likely to be a fabrication.

Margaret Pole, as she now was, was held in the Tower of London for two and a half years; she, her grandson (Montagu's son), and Exeter's son were held together and supported by the King; she was attended by servants, and received an extensive grant of clothing in March 1541. In 1540, Cromwell himself fell from favor and was executed and attainted.


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Blessed Margaret Pole
8th Countess of Salisbury
Born 14 August 1473, Farleigh Castle, Somerset, England
Died 27 May 1541, Tower of London, City of London, England
Venerated by Roman Catholic Church
Beatified 29 December 1886 by Pope Leo XIII
Feast 28 May
To the end, she contradicted the accusion of treason. The following poem was found carved on the wall of her cell:
For traitors on the block should die;
I am no traitor, no, not I!
My faithfulness stands fast and so,
Towards the block I shall not go!
Nor make one step, as you shall see;
Christ in Thy Mercy, save Thou me![11][12]
On the morning of 27 May 1541 (her martyrdom is commemorated on the 28th; the 27th is the day of Saint Augustine of Canterbury), Lady Salisbury was told she was to die within the hour. She answered that no crime had been imputed to her; nevertheless she was taken from her cell to the place within the precincts of the Tower of London, where a low wooden block had been prepared. As she was of noble birth, she was not executed before the populace, though there were about 150 witnesses.[13] The frail and ill Lady was dragged to the block and, as she refused to lay her head on it, was forced down. As she struggled, the inexperienced executioner's first blow made a gash in her shoulder rather than her neck. Ten additional blows were required to complete the execution.[14] A less reputable account states that she leapt from the block after the first clumsy blow and ran, pursued by the executioner, being struck eleven times before she died. She was buried at the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London.[15]

Both her father and her mother's father were Earls of Salisbury. Did they hold the same Earldom? If not, which of the Earldoms was restored to her? The Act of Parliament does not say, and respectable authorities differ; the chief effect of these verbal issues is whether she is eighth or second holder of the Earldom (in shorthand, "8th Countess" or "2nd Countess"; other numbers are also defensible).
Her grandfather died, leaving no sons and two daughters; his lands were divided between them, and when the younger daughter, Anne Neville, Richard III's queen, died without surviving children, Edward, as her nephew, inherited the lot. In the thirteenth century, the elder daughter's husband, George of Clarence, would have inherited the chief estate of the family and the earldoms. By modern law, it would have required a new creation for George to be an Earl, although the law of abeyance, first devised under the Stuarts, would permit the King to declare one of the daughters a Countess in her own right; this did not happen. In the fifteenth century, an only daughter would have inherited — this is how the title came to the Nevilles in the first place — but when a peer left several daughters, the title immediately reverted to the Crown, which might very well regrant it to a member of the family.
J. H. Round, as followed by the Complete Peerage, holds, therefore, that her brother was representative of his father, and not of her grandfather, and that what was restored to his estate was his father's Earldom of Salisbury; so she is second Countess.[16]

Her son, Reginald Pole, said that he would "...never fear to call himself the son of a martyr". She was later regarded by Catholics as such and was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII.[17]

When not at Court, the Countess lived chiefly at Warblington Castle in Hampshire and Bisham Manor in Berkshire.[18] She and her husband were parents to five children:
Henry Pole, 11th Baron Montacute (c. 1492 - 9 January 1539), notable as one of the peers in the trial of Anne Boleyn; married Jane Neville, daughter of the 4th and 2nd Baron Bergavenny and the former Margaret Fenne. Beheaded by Henry VIII. Ironically a great-grandson of Henry Pole was Sir John Bourchier, a regicide of King Charles I of England - a great-great-grandnephew of Henry VIII.

Reginald Pole (c. 1500 - 17 November 1558), cardinal, papal legate in various regions, including England, and the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sir Geoffrey Pole (c. 1501 - 1558), Lord of the Manor of Lordington in Sussex, suspected of treason by King Henry VIII and accused of conspiring with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor; lived in exile in Europe; married Constance Pakenham, granddaughter and heiress of Sir John Pakenham. John Pakenham was ancestor to Sir Edward Pakenham, brother-in-law to Duke of Wellington.

Sir Arthur Pole (c. 1502 - 1535), Lord of the Manor of Broadhurst in Sussex; married Jane Lewknor, daughter of Sir Roger Lewknor and the former Eleanor Tuchet, herself daughter of the 6th Baron Audley and the former Anne Echingham.

Lady Ursula Pole (c. 1504 - 12 August 1570), married Henry Stafford, 1st Baron Stafford.

[edit]Fictional portrayals

The character of Lady Salisbury, played by Kate O'Toole in the Showtime series The Tudors is loosely inspired by her.
She also appears in William Shakespeare's Richard III, as the young daughter of the murdered Clarence.
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